POSTGAME: Avoiding the Doghouse


The most common theme of every game now is that it is a must-win, but this was definitely a game that epitomized that philosophy. The Flames entered the game trailing the 7th place Coyotes by three points, while a win wouldn’t quite put them in 8th, they could close the gap and maintain the games in hand they had on both the Yotes and the Avs, who earlier lost in a shoot-out.


You almost had a feeling that it was going to be a good night when just 17 seconds into the game, Sven Baertschi scored his third goal in his fourth game. Keith Yandle made an ill-advised pass across his crease that was snatched up by Baertschi in front of the net; a couple of moves and a great backhand over Smith, and it was 1-0 Calgary. After that, as per the norm, it was up to Kipper to do his thing, including absolutely robbing Ekman-Larsson on what looked to be a sure goal. Despite Calgary being out-chanced 6-3 by Phoenix, the Flames managed to take  the lead into the intermission

The Flames would extend their lead at 5:16 of the second period, when Jarome Iginla  took the long-lead pass from Mark Giordano and then as we have seen so many times from the captain, put the wrist shot right by Smith on the high short side. Pretty ugly goal for Smith, but many tenders before him have done the same thing.

Phoenix would get on the board at 17:37, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson getting some measure of revenge on being stoned earlier by Kiprusoff when he took a nice pass by the ageless Ray Whitney and finishing into the open net.

Calgary dominated the scoring chances in the second, 5-2, and at 18:10 of the middle frame, Matt Stajan scored to extend the lead to 3-1; and his personal point streak to 5 games. It wasn’t as impressive as some of his recent goals as the centering pass from Cory Sarich bounced off a Yote, then Stajan’s knee and in the net. What was impressive on the goal, was that even upon review, it showed that Matt had the presence of mind to touch the puck with his stick before it entered the net.

Only one goal in the third period, but it was definitely the nicest of the night. At 14:56, Alex Tanguay carried the puck into the Phoenix zone and then dropped the puck to Glencross just over the blueline to avoid the off-side. Tanguay then drove past the defender and took the pass back from Glencross. Making two beautiful moves on Smith, Tanguay scored short-handed and widened the margin with the Coyotes to 4-1. the Flames were out-chanced again 5-2, but Tanguay’s shortty was a momentum breaker for Phoenix, and from there, Calgary took the vital 2 pts; in regulation.


1. Mark Giordano

2. Miikka Kiprusoff

3. Jarome Iginla


Even though Calgary was out-shot and out-chanced, they made the most of the chances and did so with good timing. Iginla’s 31st of the season and 515th of his career ties him with Pierre Turgeon; Next on the list for Iggy is Dale Hawerchuk with 518 goals. The win was #309 for Kipper, which ties him at 22nd all-time with Evgeni Nabakov.

Was this the make or break game for Calgary’s bid into the post season? Probably not, but it was one of those wins that they needed, would make their lives somewhat easier, and frankly didn’t have last year when their efforts fell short. It was a win, in regulation, against a team they were chasing inside the top eight.

The win tonight leaves them in 9th place 10th place (Sharks won in a shootout), but just one point behind both Colorado (8th) and Phoenix (7th), but they have a game in hand on the Yotes and two on the Avs; once again opportunity knocks for the Flames. No time to celebrate as the team is right back in action tomorrow against Edmonton, and it’s not a game they can look past. The Oil beat the Flames in the last BoA and the only thing they have left to play for is to be one of the factors to keep the Flames out of the playoffs. It’s a game the Flames still need to win, and they are going to have to put up a solid effort.

Has Sven played his last game for Calgary? Who knows but it would be nice to see the kid for maybe just one more game and see what he can do in a good ol’ fashioned Battle of Alberta! Game time goes at 7:30 MT (Sportsnet & Fan 960).

  • everton fc

    They have to play Baertschi vs. the Oilers and all their young studs. They just have to.

    Stajan’s really becoming a factor on this team. I mean this sincerely. Good for him. Seems like a good guy.

    I just hope they play well in front of Irving. This next one has me more concerned than the tilt tonight. It is nice to have a few games in hand though.

    We need Nashville to help us w/a win in regulation vs. the Sharks. 1-1 in the 3rd as I type. 5 minutes left.

  • everton fc

    According to Steinberg on Twitter it sounds like Baertschi will play against the Oilers tomorrow. We REALLY REALLY REALLY have to beat the Oilers tomorrow. For obvious reasons, we need to keep pace in the western conference, but also for simple pride, you can’t lose to the second worst team in the league when you are in a playoff race.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Kipper, Olli, Iggy and Bouwmeester (Kostopoulos too) have been the constants this season (played the most games).

    Are they the reason why they’ve been inconsistent and not in the playoffs now or is it the fact that the rest of the team has missed significant time?

    Few people on here have the right answer.

    When they had the rough stretch at home, how many people were ripping Iggy? Saying he couldn’t play against the other top lines. Now where are the the detractors? 14 pts in 8 games and now they have nothing to say? Oh just wait til he goes a game or two without goals then you’ll see them offer their ‘insight’. Right.

    Season isn’t over but the utter dislike of Iggy and Kipper by “fans” is just unreal.

    Too old, Feaster is an idiot yada yada yada.

    Look at this team and who has played on it this year. Wake the f up.

    • PrairieStew

      right now the flames are the beneficiaries of high sh%, high sv% (most nights) and they’re getting the bounces. they’ve been outplayed most games since december.

      the top line is continuously out shot and out chanced. 14 in 8 is certainly nothing to scoff at, but its the same concept as 15 in the first 25 or so games.

      they shouldn’t be as good as they are, but I’m not going to complain about the run that they’re on. it is entirely possible (and with the way things are going, likely probable) that this run continues. sometimes things just happen like that. I will not object to it continuing.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Well Jeff, just a couple comments on your post. First off, it puts a smile on my face that you can post this. I think its incredible how they are winning against the odds.

      Second, how energized has this City & Flames fans got because finally, a young player by the name of Sven looks like he truly has elite top 6 potential. To see that at the NHL level is exciting & something this organization has lacked for too long because the way D Sutter has run this organization. Doesnt this get you a little excited tosee someone new & exciting?
      This is all we were hoping to see & many of us felt we would have to give up a Kipper or Iggy to get an injection of Sven into the team.

      3/That leads us to my next point, we have missed the last 2 years & whether you like it or not the key core is aging. We have become a mediocre team & even though we are winning we are getting outplayed. Like JA said, the dice are rolling our way, the poker gods are letting us hit the flops.Its nice & enjoy the run but it wont last forever. No one said Kipper & Iggy were garbage (maybe except for Wolf) & thats why we thought we could fast track a future Sven.

      Last regardless of how we do expect opinions going forward. Imagine Backlund Sven & another up & coming superstar NHL ready playing on a line next year. How do we get that 3rd piece that Sven needs. Our opinions make the site fun, right or wrong, but we are all excited to see how these last 11 games play out.

      Yes, I agree, I for one have said give Feaster a chance, I dont like the Babchuk signing but Sven is his pick & it wasnt a lottery no brain pick. Give him credit.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        You’re the kind of guys who would pour over barometric reports, look at dewpoints and the inclination of the earth to tell you what the weather was today. Instead you could just look out the window and see it’s a glorious day.

        In fact you would say, yes today is a good day but the longterm forcast suggests crap weather ahead. Maybe not tomorrow but someday soon.

        Fair enough. I can respect that. However your pale, screen bleached faces never get a tan. Your always looking for the downturn.

        Believe me I respect what advanced statistics can be (kin work for a pro sports team doing just that).

        The Black Swan of the Flames success recently belies your fundamentals. I’m just saying as a fan enjoy that. Sometimes we get fooled by randomness.

  • PrairieStew

    Every time I think of how Stajan has been playing I smile a little inside. He’s been playing noticeably better recently (by that I mean he’s been noticeable), and I hope it continues.

  • First Name Unidentified

    The wins are coming and I’m happy. But the Flames are getting outplayed every night. I wish they could clog the middle ice a little more after taking a 2 goal lead, a la the Blues.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    It’s amazing how tight the race is. When we beat Minnesota we moved into eight. We were immediatley bumped out the next night, but haven’t lost since, yet still haven’t jumped back in. Bizarre.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    You are probably right. I always say personalities can be seen from birth & are just genetic. So I guess there is no changing now. I bet you’re the type that likes to drink beer in the sun & will keep drinking until there is none left. While I’m the idiot that spends less time in the sun & makes sure I get those last cases of beer in the store so I dont run out. Then you think I’m part of the horrendous establishment of an unfair system & have the adacity to drink in front of you.

    No matter buddy, we both wear Flames jerseys, here’s a beer & its Go Flames Go!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    No. If I ran out of beer I’d just switch to whiskey. I wouldn’t care what you were doing. At the end of the day, I’m in the sun enjoying a drink. Who knows what happens tomorrow? But yeah, let’s have a drink and GFG!