Unlike the past few games where the Flames were totally outplayed and outshot, tonight offered a welcome respite with the Flames coming up with a 4-2 win in which they dominated 35 minutes of the game. While that may not sound like much, it’s definitely an improvement. That, coupled with Minnesota missing out on a gimmie point and Colorado being shut out ensured a pretty good night for Flames fans.
The first period was a tale of one team-the Coyotes were thoroughly outplayed by the Flames, surging after their disappointing 4-game home stand. Mike Cammalleri opened the scoring 14:09 into the period off of a beauty tic-tac-toe feed from Alex Tanguay. Less then two minutes later, the Flames potted their second shorty of the season, with Curtis Glencross slipping a nice wrister (his 20th of the season) from the dot behind previously high-flying Mike Smith. Calgary would add one more before the end of the period, continuing their strong shorthanded play (4 kills on 4 penalties taken in the period) when Olli Jokinen deked his way around Smith for his 20th of the season. The Flames led the shot count 11-7 and the chance count 6-1.
As tilted as the ice was in the first, it was tilted even more in the second. Just 1:27 into the second, the Coyotes capitalized on a bunch of net front traffic and the despised Raffi Torres tipped in a shot from the high slot for a power play goal. Fearing another collapse was imminent, Flames fans would once again tense when Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season 2 minutes later. The Flames-or, rather, Kiprusoff-would clamp down from there, killing off the remaining 2 penalties in the second but were also incapable of capitalizing on their two power play chances. The Flames finished the period down in both shots (6-15) and chances (1-8).
The third was much more like the first for the Flames, with some back and forth action early, but the game settled down around the 15:00 mark. Miikka Kiprusoff turned away a couple of ten-bell chances late in the game, and a PPG from Jarome Iginla sealed the affair. The Flames ended up getting 15 shots in the period to tie the overall shot count 31-31, and won the chance battle in both the period and the game, with counts of 6-3 and 13-12 respectively.
One Good Reason…
…The Flames won? A very strong first period. Sure, Phoenix wasn’t exactly terrifying in the first (that may be putting it mildly) but the Flames generated their chances and capitalized on them. Sutter’s new lines did their jobs and produced.
Gotta go with The Mosster here. While he didn’t register a point in his first game back from a lengthy injury, Moss was +3 in scoring chances (+2 at evens), led the team in Corsi with a +8 and had 5 shots on goal. All in all, a pretty strong return.
Sum It Up
Obviously a pretty good start to a road trip and a three game stretch that will in all likelihood determine the team’s fate this season. The game tomorrow in Anaheim is probably the “least important” of the three, and that’s why Leland Irving’s getting the start. The second period collapses are still quite a concern, but for now the Flames should probably just be happy with the win.