Postgame: Strong Outing

While the Chicago Blackhawks ran things at times in the first period on Friday night, the Calgary Flames were able to limit the damage fairly effectively and finished the opening frame even at a goal a piece.  That allowed them to use a strong final 40 minutes, which helped them to a solid 3-1 win over the suddenly struggling Chicago Blackhawks.  It snapped a three game home losing streak for the Flames and got them back within three points of a playoff spot.

What Happened

A pretty dominant first period for Chicago didn’t yield them the results they maybe deserved, thanks in large part to some blocked shots and good goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.  Despite being outchanced 10-2 in the first period, it was the Flames opening the scoring thanks to Olli Jokinen, as his 13th of the season snapped a 15 game personal goal scoring drought at 12:24.  Late in the period, Chicago would tie it, scoring their only goal thanks to Brent Seabrook’s fourth at 19:31.

The second period saw a complete reversal, with scoring chances favoring the Flames 11-2.  They’d take the lead at 18:56 on the powerplay, with Jay Bouwmeester finishing off a rebound in front for his fourth of the season and a 2-1 lead.  The man advantage was very good tonight, but, more on that later.

With the Hawks down a goal late, they did a decent job of chasing in the third period but still found themselves in penalty trouble, so weren’t able to keep that edge going.  At 12:39, Alex Tanguay found Jarome Iginla on a clear breakaway, and the captain would make no mistake in undressing Ray Emery for his 19th, getting us to our final score.

One Good Reason…

…the Flames won?  The powerplay.  Momentum is an overused word in hockey, but I really do believe a strong powerplay can feed into what a team does 5-on-5.  On this night, Calgary generated 12 of their 22 scoring chances on the man advantage, and while they scored just the one goal (which was also the winner), they set themselves up for some good play beyond that.  The powerplay has scored six times in their last eight games, so while even strength scoring has been a struggle, they’re getting it done a man up.

Red Warrior

Alex Tanguay.  He set Iginla up on his third period goal and was in on Jokinen’s first of the night, but it comes less because of points and more because of just how dangerous he was.  While he finished underwater at even strength, as most guys did, Tanguay was the most dangerous player on Calgary’s powerplay.  When the powerplay was the reason the Flames won, we’ll give the nod to #40.

Sum It Up

We talked about taking advantage of opportunities in FGD, and I felt the Flames did that tonight.  They limited damage in the first period, stayed with their game, and started to take advantage of things from the second period on.  The Hawks were clearly tired and not really into playing after falling down, and Calgary didn’t allow them to get back in this thing.  When they did, Kiprusoff was there as he has been all year long.  Now it’s into the House of Horrors, also known as the Honda Center in Anaheim on Monday night.

  • RexLibris

    This was definitely a must-win for the Flames. I don’t remember if it was this tight for Calgary this early last season. This is looking to be quite the nail-biter to the end.

  • Franko J

    Solid effort tonight from the Flames.
    Glad to see no injuries occurred in the game.
    Barring injury Iginla appears to be heading towards another 30 goal season. Congradulation to Kipper on surpassing Vernon on most games played by a Flames goalie.

    On the trade talk, plenty of bloggers here complain about Jbo contract. Plenty of rumours surround Jeff Carter. Well I don’t know if Pat has a contract with the Fan 960 for 10 years, however, if the Flames trade for Carter at the least Pat will be fielding calls on about him on overtime for next 10 years. IMO I think Roy from Buffalo would be a better fit for the Flames.

    • Once again, Stajan + Babchuk for Derek Roy. Contract $ amount is about even, Sabres get a PP “specialist” for their D-core and a centre who thrived in the East before, and the Flames get a fairly top notch centreman.

      Roy may not be Jeff Carter, but it’s low risk due to only being 1 year versus 10 years. Carter is a cry baby if all he wants is a place to party with his bros. Even worse, Olli might fall off the wagon and be showing up to practice hammered, if he even showed.

      As for tonight’s game, it was good to see the Flames play well for at least 40 minutes. It’s no easy task against the Blackhawks either. If the Flames played this well on a consistent basis, they might actually be a team that could take some of the heavyweights.

      Iginla’s goal was a beaut, didn’t think he had those moves in him at all. Like Ray Emery, I thought he was going to shoot, but he juked the hell out of Emery and was rewarded for his cherry picking.

      • RexLibris

        If the Sabres are going to trade Roy, there are a lot of teams that would outbid an offer of Stajan and Babchuk for him.

        I understand the preference fans here would have for Roy over Carter, but if Darcy Regier looks to trade him my guess is that he would use the Penner trade as a template and that the return he’d want would be a little more than two discarded roster players with NTCs.

        That being said, if Feaster could move those two for Roy, he’d deserve a Wiser’s slow clap from all Flames fans.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Once the injured forwards start coming back, a pretty good forward group looks possible.

    Tanguay, Cammy, Glencross, TK
    Jokinen, Backlund, Jones, Moss
    Iggy, Stempniak, Comeau, Jackman

    Stajan, Buoma and Kolanos as reserve.
    I wonder how long away this roster can be iced?

    Barring trades and further injuries, I see potential here, especially given the style they want to play (in your face,north-south, hard skating cycle). If guys can play with a little desperation (live or die effort) I see something relatively formidable. I think the desperate situation will bring out the best.

    The thing is, with the injuries (and trades) it’s been hard for them to get in that groove because of all the new faces. However you see the potential they just need some health and consistent lineup.

    It will be interesting to see what more, if anything, Feaster does leading up to deadline based on the true nature/extent of injuries.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Nice to see the boys win tonight. They played hard to win. Was one of the tough games I thought we could win. Now if we can only exorcise those demons in Anaheim & get this road trip off on the right foot.

    Jeff, your forward group has too many 3rd-4th line forwards. We need one more elite top 6 & we need a stud dman(one thats meaner than an ally cat) on the blueline. Getting those 2 pieces will be tough to do. That dman may be draftable this year which is why that 1st rounder is off limits & only traded with another pick(s) player to get an even better first rounder.

    Anyone notice Gio is playing without the reckless abandon he usually plays with? I think he is sheltering that injury yet. Gotta give it to him for pushing through it knowing how important these games are & how thin we are on our qualified top 4 dmen.

  • RKD

    Glad the Flames survived relatively unscathed out of the first period or it would have been ugly.

    Kolanos doesn’t look out of place at all, he nearly scored in the third period on a wrap around and then a rebound shot.

    The big mac meal interview with Jokinen was classic. If Gretzky says eat a burger, he should do it more often!

    Ugh, road trip. Honda Center against the a hot ducks team. Double ugh.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    @Pat, One good reason they won: Playing a Hawks team who’s down and played 3 in 4 nights. Guys the Flames arent getting Carter. JayBo is here to stay unfortunately.

    I do have to say, happy Flames won, they had to win, not just to stay in the hunt but because if they couldnt beat a tired Hawks team, that would be hard to get over.

    I’m just sick and tired at this team, winning 2 losing 2, winning 3, then losing 4, etc, etc. Thats why The Feast thinks this team can win it all. I think he should be fired for strictly that. Here’s a guy who says we need to be “intellectually honest” then believes the team can win it all? If the top is saying “WIN NOW” i’d have stand up and say something to them. Let them know, that is our goal but realistically we have to prepare for that not happening. I think he could have said it a little more diplomatically, such as “our goal is to make the playoffs and push beyond that”. Not “Our goal is win now.”

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Just one last thing. Weve heard talk about creating an atmosphere of winning on this team and not losing, just look at the players on the team now, not many winners.
    Blair Jones – only 11 playoff games since 2006, 7 were with Lightning last year with no points
    Jokinen – a total of 20, yes 20 playoff games since his junior days (1996) only 6 in the NHL all in one year.
    Glencross – 6 NHL playoff games, his first year with Flames. He did make a run in 2006 in the AHL but wasnt really effective with a ton of PIM.
    Stempniak – If Phx wasnt good the last 2 years (out in 1st each year) he’d only have 3 since 2000.
    JayBo – well just that one year as a lender in the AHL in 2004, thats it, none in the NHL none in the W.
    Bulter, just those 7 games last year in Barfalo.
    Broadie – never in the pros only one run in the OHL
    Smith – only 6 games in Jr and AHL all in one year
    Comeau – came from a Loser organization, Islanders, 2 games since 2006, first year in pros, did make it each year in the W.
    Kostopolos – Not much, was involved in the Habs run a couple years ago
    Jackman – again from the loser Isles. 2007 did see some in the AHL
    Stajan – 8 games since 2003 (from the Loser Leafs) 3 were in the NHL.
    Moss’s only real playoff experience is a couple times here.
    Babchuck – just that run a few years ago in Carolina
    The rest either havent played much or i believe have experience or are proven winners. Too many guys on this team come from a long history of losing.

    • RexLibris

      A thank you card and Lanny MacDonald’s mustache comb.

      Honestly, I think it has been stated that Howson wants to recoup something as close as possible to what he gave up in the original deal. That was Jakub Voracek (a top-line winger and former 7th overall pick) a first round pick, eighth overall that became Sean Couturier, and a third round pick (this year). The closest thing the Flames have to offer would probably be Backlund, Baertschi, a 1st and maybe another pick in the 4th or 5th round. That’s just my guess, but I don’t see Howson starting the conversation at anything less.

  • Is Voracek all that good? He’s young, but it doesn’t seem like he’s all that special. 30 points in 51 games this year, 46 points in 80 games last year (14-32-46 with -3 rating), and 50 points in 09-10.

    Perhaps the Blue Jackets just feel they got super fleeced and are trying to pull the same BS on someone else. If a player’s market value is diminished by certain factors, as Carter’s value certainly has, they shouldn’t be expecting a return similar to what they paid. Just won’t happen.

    Then again, Rutherford over in Carolina wanted a first rounder, a good prospect/current roster player, and a second rounder for Tim Gleason and possibly Ruutu. Okaaayyyy, someone’s been hitting the bong too much…

  • Franko J

    @ FireOnIce

    I have to agree with Rexlibris, Buffalo would probably want more than what Calgary can offer.

    As for the Iginla goal – I think that has been only the second time this season where a Flames player has made the hilight package on the night from all three: The Score, TSN and Sportsnet with a goal or save.