Postgame: Loving February

The Calgary Flames have scored 14 goals on Valentine’s Day over the last two seasons, including five in a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.  On top of their success on Cupid’s day, Calgary is also 6-0-2 since the calendar turned to the second month, moving them just a point back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.  They are catching some bounces, riding a red hot goaltender, and most importantly, getting points.

What Happened

I wrote my entire postgame and then our stupid platform lost all my work, so this is what you get:

First Period

1. Calgary. Alex Tanguay 7 (Olli Jokinen, T.J. Brodie) 4:43
2. Calgary. Olli Jokinen 18 (Alex Tanguay, Jarome Iginla) 8:13
3. Toronto. Tyler Bozak 13 (Joffrey Lupul, Phil Kessel) 16:42

Second Period

4. Calgary. Paul Byron 3 (Penalty Shot) 9:15

Third Period

5. Calgary. Blake Comeau 4 (Mike Cammalleri, Mark Giordano) 15:09
6. Calgary. Jarome Iginla 22 (Alex Tanguay) 17:44

One Good Reason…

…why the Flames won?  They were a bit better than the Leafs in two specific reasons.  First, they did a much better job of turning zone time into real scoring chances.  Second, they got much better goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.

Red Warrior

Alex Tanguay.  Even though the top line ended up getting outchanced, they were very dangerous offensively, and to me this is Tanguay’s best hockey since he rejoined the Flames 19 months ago.  He was dangerous every time he was on the ice on Tuesday and it needs to continue.

Sum It Up

It was all roses on the out of town scoreboard with Dallas and Minnesota losing in regulation.  If Calgary can somehow find a way to ride this for the next ten games or so, they’ll start getting healthier and may find themselves protecting a playoff spot as opposed to chasing one.  The next two games are rather important, however, with crucial road games in Dallas and Los Angeles.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Cammi is a much better center then I anticipated. Also Byron should be our designated shoot out guy. The Leafs hate to play defense and as such earned my a case of beer. I’m overjoyed right now. Haha

  • jeremywilhelm

    What an odd set of circumstances if Calgary ends up making the playoffs?
    Kipper-Return to glory
    Oli Jokinen- Contract year?
    Cammalari- It’s like you never left!
    End of season headline reads: Over 300 man games lost, Calgary still finds a way to make playoffs
    Oh and fans hating on Feaster, the guy is doing a slow steady line-up transformation. Crazy year, good entertainment during a long cold winter…

  • beloch

    Cabbotsford Fleat beat the Toronto Makebeliefs!

    I had a pretty good laugh when, during Byron’s interview in the second intermission, Stajan walked by and gave him an unexpected pop on the back and then legged it for the dressingroom.

  • Good win, but we still got brutally outshot (shots attempted was in the high 50s/low 60s) and the Leafs controlled play quite a bit.

    How long can the Flames play like this? They will eventually play quality teams who won’t hit the post every third shot, so luck cannot hold out forever. Having all these players out until March pretty much screws up any chance of making a significant deal at the deadline.

    My plan? JBo for Spezza, then throw everything else at Rick Nash. Nash/Iginla/Spezza/Cammy/GlenX/Backlund can each double shift it every game, and we’ll play with Gio/Brodie/Smith. Kipper gets an extra pack of smokes per game.

    • T&A4Flames

      I wouldn’t trade JayBo for ANYONE right now. He has been our best defender this year easily. He’s carrying a much inferior Butler along as well. JayBo is overpaid that much everyone knows, there is ZERO sense in trading him unless you can replace him and it’s gonna be VERY difficult to find someone to do that.

      • T&A4Flames

        And yea, I absolutely agree with this. We can ill afford to trade JBo right now. Maybe we get a nice return in the summer but he has been very good and VERY important this year.

          • SmellOfVictory

            Pronger won’t see another game in the NHL because of his concussions. That’s ridiculous that you’d trade anyone for him, never mind our best d-man, the best d-man in the division. +/- is such an overrated stat, that does not measure defensive effectiveness at all. He constantly plays the toughest competition and starts in his own zone the most, and does a pretty damn good job at it, not to mention he also plays up to 30 minutes a night on occasion. So yeah, I’d say he’s a pretty damn good player, regardless of his salary.

          • SmellOfVictory

            So let me get this straight. He plays against the best, and he’s so good that his +/- ends up being the worst on the team.

            I think it was a game on TSN where J Blows was totally beaten on a play to get the puck in the defensive zone by an opposing player, and the colour guy said “There’s a difference between fast and powerful.”

            That’s the problem with J Blows right there in a nutshell.

  • Well, so much for my stupid prediction that February would bury the team. Instead, it seems the opposite has occured.

    On the other hand,I still think exceptional goaltending is masking a lot of things and has been responsible for most of the points this team has gotten lately.

    That said, if Kipper keeps it up then the Flames may well make it in, ruining my prediction that they would not.

    If he falters though, the team will be in trouble.

    • supra steve

      That’s why they play the games.
      On the other hand…who among us will be shocked if they make a small addition at the trade deadline, then falter, come in 9th or 10th in the conference and draft 12-14th this summer. De ja vous all over again!

      FireOnIce–Going after Spezza and Nash? Who would we have left? They won’t ask for JBo, try Gio plus more, lots more.

      • T&A4Flames

        Here I go playing with the owners $$ again:

        To CGY- Brassard, Mason (who immediatley gets
        sent to Abby)

        To CLB- Karlsson, Nemisz, 6th rounder in 2012
        (+ almost 5.5mil in cap space… infact,
        maybe we ask for a 3rd in return for the
        cap space.. yea, yea, I like that)

    • Mitch2

      Right with you Bro. I thought this month would be .500 at best & a confirmed seller after the Philly game. The Minny & Chicago meltdowns are not only eliminating one team from the chase but actually opening up our chase to two spots now. Amazing. We actually had a #1 line last night playing like a #1 line. I have no doubt Kipper we keep this up until the end of the year & I am extremely confident in Leiland playing a few games on the B2B. Next year……?? Is there a market for Babchuk? Do we still trade Sarich &/or Hannan where we sit now?

  • everton fc

    I agree – no one will ask for JBo in a manner that makes sense… and JBo has been a critical part of our hanging around a chance at the playoffs…

    So….

    Would anyone here consider moving Gio and maybe Backlund to get a guy like Spezza, Carter, Nash? Would that be enough??

    Just thinking… Not saying I support it… But Gio’s name never comes up. Has he been dominant this year??

    Again… “conceptual”… for discussion purposes only…

    I think…

  • jeremywilhelm

    Jay Bouwmeester has absolutely stepped up his game in the last few months. The guy is competing. Playing with an edge. Playing smart hockey in all three zones. He looks like a new player out there.

    • everton fc

      Like Jokinen, Bouwmeester’s re-invented himself and has found a solid role as the foundation of our defence.

      I can’t believe I actually just typed that sentence… As I have been critical of Bouwmeester, and his contract. He’ll never score 10-15 goals here, but he can logg the minutes and as you point our above, he has certainly stepped up his game to adjust for “where he is”, at this stage of his career.

      If he could only score…

      (When is his contract up?)

      • everton fc

        3 more years hombre. Cant be a salary dump, if you trade JBO, it must be for a very very good return back. Very difficult trade scenario, too much $$$ to trade, to valuable on ice to give away. Lets hope he plays like this for the next 3 years & get a real hometown discount when he’s a UFA. He owes us just like Joker.

      • everton fc

        It’s the winning streak, Pat. The fact we are only three points out of sixth…

        No one’s given an opinion on what I posted earlier in this thread:

        “Would anyone here consider moving Gio and maybe Backlund to get a guy like Spezza, Carter, Nash? Would that be enough??”

        • Matty Franchise Jr

          To get a guy like Spezza or Nash I would say you’d have to give them Brodie, Baertschi and a 1st just to get the ball rolling. Same thing for Carter most likely, however maybe because of his contract you could get him for less. That is why I don’t want the Flames to make a trade for one of those guys. I do not want to part with a young stud D man like Brodie, or with Calgary’s best prospect in a decade in Baertschi. I know others think that the Flames should make that trade, but I don’t want to part with the future.

        • “Would anyone here consider moving Gio and maybe Backlund to get a guy like Spezza, Carter, Nash? Would that be enough??”

          No thanks to either of them, especially Nash.

          However, I’m not opposed to the thought of moving Giordano at some point; just not this season.

  • everton fc

    I don’t think Kipper will falter. However – and this will sound like madness – I think Irving is ready for regular duty. (I know I may get criticized for this… but it’s only an opinion. Means nil!)

    Hopefully he won’t be forced into anything too soon. But Irving seems composed, steady… Positionally smart…

    Remember, Kipper was the #3 goalie in San Jose when Darryl poached him and threw him directly into the starting role. You never know!

  • everton fc

    It was scary to see all the Leaf fans enter the Dome at 5:30…it seemed like forever before I saw anyone wearing read. As expected they were loud, boisterous and obnoxious. Thankfully the Flames kept them quiet most of the game.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how the short road trip works out. Then 3 home games before the trade deadline…and a home game that night as well. I didn’t think it possible, but if they can stay the course and keep in the mix and wait for guys to get healthy, we might have a chance.

    Nice pic Pat…very appropriate!

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      We know JBo is overpaid at 7 mil, you can’t blame him for the money, if someone offered you that kind of money would you say, naw I’m not that good just pay me 4 mil. Why does JBo have to be a top 5 scoring d-man. He chews up ice time, is playing his best hockey right now. The way our team is structured we are not going to see a lot of points from our defence. I think its more important for the give aways to be at a minimum. If the Flames keep playing the way they have played the last month, dare we say…… Playoffs!!

      • 1) The Flames are not in a playoff spot right now. I repeat, the Flames are *NOT* in a playoff spot right now.

        At the very least, they need to beat a team that they have failed to beat the last five times they have met. And they have to win against them without giving them points.

        2) The problem with having a player like J Blows that underperforms relative to his contract is many fold:

        a) The only way the Flames can trade him is to give up the best player (and picks), and take back a poor contract (or contracts) in return. Therefore, he is basically untradeable.
        b) He takes up cap space that could be used to sign other players, including RFAs that the team feels they should keep.
        c) His contract numbers inflate the market, meaning that the Flames have to pay that much more to retain good d-men.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    I suspect that JBo is no longer over rated. He was over rated (at least by Darryl) when he was signed, but now he is rightly rated as an excellent defensive defenseman who just happens to be paid as an offensive defenseman.

    I don’t think he earns all of his nearly $7M, but without him the Flames are not nearly as good. Without him Kipper would need to be even more all-world to keep this team near the playoffs.

    As for Spazz, Carter, and Nash, I would love to have Nash on my team.

  • everton fc

    Don’t look now, but this race is widening up with Chicago and LA taking a real slide lately. I think the schedule will help out so much as well.

    Chicago has 12 games left against what one might call “Top-Tier” teams (St. Louis X4, Detroit X3, Nashville X2, Vancouver X1 and NYR X2).

    LA has 10 games against the “Top Tier” teams (St. Louis X1, Detroit X2, Nashville X3, San Jose X3, Boston X1)

    Calgary only has 5 games against top tier teams. (St. Louis X1, Vancouver X2, San Jose X2, Philadelphia X1).

    Sportsclubstats has Calgary at 46.4%, Chicago at 67.7% chance and LA at 67.5% chance to make the playoffs. Those teams are 3 points apart. I don’t know how much that takes into a account strenght of schedule or injuries, but I think that Calgary could make up those three points just on strength of opposition. Then it is up to how they each fare against the tweeners and bottom feeders. (Note, Calgary plays Edmonton, Minnesota and Anaheim each twice and Columbus once).

    We ain’t selling, so lets get some playoff hockey!

    • That’s some very optimistic thinking, but lets not forget Calgary is a non-playoff team by underlying metrics right now. They’re riding percentages and all world goaltending, very much like the Minnesota Wild did early in the season.

      LA and Chicago will go on a hot streak before the end of the season, as will likely Dallas and/or Colorado. Calgary will have another slump before the end of the year.

      Realistically, 8th is still Calgary’s best shot at the postseason, and they have to avoid the bottom falling out here, which is a real possibility.

      • A18

        It’s optimistic, but not foolishly so. Only 6 points from Chicago to Dallas, 3 playoff spots. That’s better odds than a couple of weeks ago when it looked like 5 teams fighting just for 8th.

        Is it more likely that Calgary finishes 8th than 6th? Of course. But it also means that if one of Phoenix or Colorado go on a tear, they might be able to still pass Chicago or LA, then finish 8th. That didn’t look like it had any possibility a week or two ago.

        In an effort to mix as many metaphors as possible, let me try this. Calgary may have the smallest dog in the race, but it may also be running up the least steep hill.

        If you can quantify odds on how this might work out taking into account Calgary’s mediocre play, slightly lighter schedule and the probability on Chicago’s goaltending waking up + LA learning how to put the puck in the net, you are in the wrong business and should get into sports gambling tout suite.

        • SmellOfVictory

          I think what Pat is trying to say is that the Flames are on a tear (due almost entirely to goaltending) and other teams are slumping. That will reverse.

          Ergo, you can’t judge a team by a sudden hot streak.

          Not that Kipper can’t carry this team into the playoffs on his back, but rather that everything will eventually even out.

  • RKD

    I love beating the Leafs, you would think the team would come out with some more urgency after losing 5-0 to Montreal on Mats Sundin night, nope!!

    The Flames are playing playoff hockey and playing with a ton of heart.

    For all those hating on Jay-Bo because of his contract, he’s got 22 points in 57 games and is on pace for 30 points which would be his best offensive season with the Flames. Granted it’s only 1 more point than 2 seasons ago.

    Jay-Bo plays 25-27 minutes a night, without him we would be even worse off. Teams aren’t going to take on a contract his size.

    Reasons I am against Carter, he’s not a playmaking center, he is shooting center. He has a poor attitude, his contract term is too long. For Nash, Columbus wants 3-4 assets for him. Calgary would have to give CBJ one of Baertschi/Backlund, a 1st round pick, and a goaltender. We have to accept Jokinen as our #1 center whether we like it or not.

    Jokinen is on pace for 68 points, his best offensive numbers since the 07/08 season in Florida when he put up 71. I would think a guy like Roy would be far more attainable without giving up too many assets.

  • @ Schevvy

    I have to agree with you. If it Takes Brodie, Baertschi, and a first just to get the ball rolling on any of Nash, Spezza or Carter then we look else where.

    While this run we are having is fun and exciting, I’m more excited to see what our young guys can do next year and beyond.

    If the Flames are to make a move, I hope it’s for a #2 centre and a top 4 dman.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I would also like to say that Jokinen blew me away last night with his play in all three zones. He legitamitely looked like he deserved his new 2-way forward moniker he has been labelled by media types.

    Enjoy Patty!

  • RKD

    Roy would be a good fit. Probably takes a 1st to get him though.

    In regards to J Blows, of course the Flames would be worse off. First, there’s no way Feaster could make a trade involving J Blows that would have the Flames get the best player. Secondly, it’s a testament to the abysmal defensive quality of the Flames d-men, that on a team with a negative goal differential, and where he has the worst +/- of all the d-men, he’s still considered to be the best dman.
    Thirdly, in regards to his offensive offensive stats, Giordano and Smith(!) are basically the same as him.

    So yeah, that’s why J Blows sucks.

  • A18

    I’m enjoying the recent success as much as the other guy but we are just 2-3 game losing streak away from blaming Jbo, Jokinen etc for not showing up.

    I doubt we make any major moves but who knows what management has planned.

    The excitement is definitely back so lets hope it continues, we have a slew of games with teams we are competing with for the last two spots. These are going to be the biggest factor for where we are come post season.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Oh yeah, I should mention, even though it’s been mentioned a zillion times on this site, is that Kipper’s Jesus-like SV% is one of the main, if not the primary, reasons that the team is where they are.

    And I’ll repeat again: THIS TEAM IS NOT IN A PLAYOFF SPOT.

    This is a team that gave up 40+ shots to the Leafs. Yeah, that defense sure is working!

  • Franko J

    Everytime I turn on TSN and see Mr. McClennan, I wonder how the Flames ever had him as a goalie coach. As well as Kipper and Irving have played this season, I must give credit to the Flames for hiring Malarchuk. IMO his experience and style of coaching has been a great compliment to the two of them.
    Along with Malarchuk, I think Hartsburg
    deserves some credit with a player like JBO. I feel JBO is playing his best in Flames silks since he got here.