POST-GAME: Wins Are Always Bigger in Texas!

 

 

So after a terrible game against the Blues, what better team to get back in the saddle against than a team you just beat 7-4, right?

With a ton of changes to the line-up, demotions, waivers and throwing yet another dart at the board for a centre, your Calgary Flames looked to do just exactly that. Though the players might change, the game does not, and if Calgary could manage to replicate what they did four nights ago, they’d be back to .500 and able to justify changes that have had the fans pulling their hair out the last couple days.

Look to your leaders, and if that doesn’t work, well hope you have some unlikely surprises rise to the top.

The Rundown

It all looked good in the start. The Flames didn’t score right off the bat this time, but that didn’t mean they weren’t going to let Dallas know that this game wasn’t going to end with a different result.

Steve Begin always looking to make an impression, (because let’s face it, he needs to in order to stay in the line-up) didn’t waste any time; getting into with Ryan Garbutt just 2:17 into the game. It didn’t last long as they threw a few punches before Begin went all UFC and picked Garbutt up and slammed him to the ice. That probably got Hartley’s attention.

At 8:11 of the first, Flames fans got that sense of familiarity, when Mike Cammalleri potted his fourth goal of the year, which also happens to be his fourth against Dallas. Tanguay and Wideman with the apples, as the Flames power-play continues to cover for their poor penalty-kill.

That was all the scoring for the opening frame as the Flames out-shot the Stars 8-4 and out-chanced then 6-2. Three of Calgary’s chances came on the PP, even though they were only 1 for 4 with the man advantage. Dallas would go 0 for 3.

The second period changed the game  on a dome as the Stars would score three unanswered goals, leaving the Flames scrambling to look for a new plan of attack. At 1:51, Cody Eakin would tie the game up with a wrist shot from the top of the circle, as Jagr sat planted in front of MacDonald. 

1:51 later, Anton Babchuk would slide past Derek Roy and right out of the play. Roy with an open shot on net would be stopped by MacDonald. Riley Smith would jump on the rebound and with the Flames basically standing around watching, take a couple swipes at the puck, eventually back-handing it past MacBackup.

Ryan Garbutt would make it 3-1 at 15:23, and the Starts would go to the dressing room in full control of the game. Dallas proved that when you shoot enough, good things happen. They out-chanced the Flames 8-6, but out-shot them 22-12.

It didn’t look good for Calgary going into the third period trailing; given that going back to Oct. 31st of 2009, the Stars were 78-0-1 when leading after the second period. Time for a new game plan.

Where the Stars showed that if you shoot, the goals will come, Calgary proved that when the game is on the line, it’s all about quality – not quantity.

The Comeau experiment didn’t work so Hartley put Horak with Iggy. That obviously wasn’t working after the 2nd, so why not try your Czech trio together? Good move Bob. Just 1:39 into the third period Roman Cervenka would take the shot from the point. Though it didn’t get though to Bachman, the puck would go right to Jay Bouwmeester. Forcing Bachman to give up a rebound, Horak was Johnny-on-the-spot to draw the Flames within one.

At 2:24, Matt Stajan!!! Yes that Matt Stajan would tie the game at threes, and all of a sudden, we had ourselves a hockey game. It was ALL Calgary from start to finish in the third and then if it you weren’t still in shock that Stajan scored, Steve Begin would score his first goal since April of 2010 to put the Flames ahead 4-3.

There were no power-plays in the third, but Calgary didn’t need them. They got three goals on just six shots in the final frame and outchanced the Stars 7-1. It got a little dicey in the last two minutes when Dallas pulled the goalie, but even though the Flames couldn’t buy an empty-netter, they still controlled the play, and legitimately earned the win tonight.

Why the Flames Won…

 

Because they straight up earned it tonight. It seemed like a familiar story as the Flames had a narrow lead only to lose it by giving up a barrage of goals to the opposition.

Tonight howerver, they would not be content for fate to write their ending. They came out in the final frame and took it to the Stars just like they did four nights earlier. When things weren’t working well for the team, Hartley adapted, switched things up and wasn’t afraid to shorten the bench. Anton Babchuk was straight up terrible tonight and saw little to no ice-time in the final period.

Because the Flames finally got secondary scoring from the bottom six. Though I will still maintain it was a solid game for the Czech line, and they did generate some chances, there weren’t many noteworthy plays from the top six. Instead it was the bottom six, moreso Steve Begin and Matt Stajan (again, that Matt Stajan) that sparked the team and got the scoring going.

Firestarter(s)

I’m not going to get the chance or have the desire to do this very often, so I’m going with Steve Begin tonight.

He set the stage for making an impression in this game with a good fight and even better finish on Ryan Garbutt early in the game.

He played a good mucker’s game with a couple of big hits and then capped off the night by scoring the game winning goal.

Honourable mention goes to Joey MacDonald and Matt Stajan tonight. MacDonald looked shakey to start but actually settled down as the game went on. He’s not the answer to any goaltending question, but he played decent tonight and I guess that’s all we can ask for.

Matty Franchise played 14:35 and looked pretty good with Stempniak and Glencross when that combination came around. He scored the tying goal and was 60% in the face-off circle tonight. To me, it was probably his best game of the year so far.

Sum it Up

A much needed win came tonight to get the Flames back to .500. Twitter was blowing up in the second as everyone though the show was over and I really wonder, after the Blues game, how many people even watched the third. Hopefully you did stick around as your Flames came through, for you, ALL FOR YOU!

You can describe this game anyway you like, but you can’t take away the fact that the Flames worked their asses off for this one. We all have complained about this team needing to show heart and tonight, we got it.

Am I concerned that it came from unexpected sources instead of the guys we do expect it from? Well yeah, a little, but at least they are showing it as a team. Even in the loss to the Blues, they started to show it later in the game, but by then it was too little, too late; and the Blues are a much better team than the stars.

No time to sit back and enjoy this one for long. The boys are on a plane to Arizona where they face the Coyotes tomorrow night. This will be a good chance to get above the .500 mark, and if the Flames play the way they did tonight, they’ll have a good shot.

Game time is 7:00 MST on SNET-W. There is a good chance that we get to finally see Danny Taylor get his first start with the Flames. I for one am looking forward to see what he can do. See you tomorrow!

  • MC Hockey

    Nice summary. I AM concerned 4th liners need to score to win a game but hey…it’s a team for a reason. Flames need a winning streak soon to be a contender…let’s see if they can succeed in Phoenix.

    P.S. The everything is bigger in Texas note lends itself to some “interesting” pictures of ladies…surprised those did not appear in the article.

    • Vintage Flame

      P.S. The everything is bigger in Texas note lends itself to some “interesting” pictures of ladies…surprised those did not appear in the article.

      There were many choice on the internet, but given that this was an early game on Family Day weekend.. I refrained from using them. 🙁

      Plus I didn’t think the overloard would approve…

  • schevvy

    Still in shock that Begin…STEVE FREAKING BEGIN…scored the winner. Whoever threw $5 on that in Vegas got a tidy sum.

    The problem with the Flames is they seem to play 2 good periods, and one awful one. The problem is, usually during that awful stretch the goals pile up fast and furious and they end up being down too far to climb out of it. Tonight they got lucky but that won’t happen most nights.

    Who starts, MacDonald or Taylor? I’d go with Taylor, see what you got in him, but wouldn’t be surprised if MacDonald starts.

  • Captain Ron

    Very impressed that the Flames turned this one around. A whole team effort.

    These are the kinds of games that the Flames lost in past years, that just killed them. This year, we’re starting to win some of them.

    In the past 3 years, a different result in 3 or 4 games like this would have put us in the playoffs. Things are starting to look better…

  • schevvy

    Glad to see the boys pull this one out of Dallas. Great effort and was a big game. A loss would have been real hard to climb back into the hunt. They are a winning streak away from their playoff goal. Curious what team shows up tomorrow, cant expect your bottom guys to do it all the time. This team actually does play better on the road.

  • Franko J

    Finally some gritty and sandpaper play from this team in the first and especially in the third period. Going hard to the net and fighting for loose pucks.

    I don’t know what Comeau has done to garner a roster spot on this team, but if they placed Jones and Irving on waivers for lacklustre play and lack of confidence from the coaching staff I feel he is not too far behind to get the same kind of demotion.

  • Captain Ron

    I’d like to see a consistent lineup on D… I think that would help the team, but none of Butler, Smith, Babchuk, Sarich have been very good. Nor does it seem they want that spot. I’m especially surprised by Butler and Smith… this is their chance to earn a spot in the NHL and we have guys like Wotherspoon and Ramage coming down the pipe. At this point I’d rather see a couple trades and maybe give Carson a chance

    • Captain Ron

      It is disappointing that competition has not catapulted one of them forward yet. Maybe they need to spend some time in the redwings system or something lol.

      I feel pretty alright with the top four, bottom two have been causing some issues.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    So, the answer to the people asking the question of whether Hartley’s system would help Babchuk: No.

    Good 2/3rds of a game. Still waiting for Jarome to do something.

    Good for Stajan getting that 1st goal. Honestly, he deserved it.

    I hope we see more of that Czeching line–even if it means Horak actually plays a decent amount of ice time.

  • Full value to the Flames……. however…. how the heck does that dallas goalie make pro serving up rebounds like that? Compounding that was the Dallas D. He did actually make the initial save on every Flame goal but they were blissfully unaware or disinterested in impeding the flames forwards in cashing the gravy.

    It was nice to see the flames getting to the net. If Dallas wants to stand around with their thumbs up their a88es. 4 fat genos it is!!!

    Plus. It really is amusing listening to Kerr get all EXCITED!

  • Kevin R

    Was wondering, we have 3 pretty good transitional dmen in Brodie, Wideman & JBO. We lack a solid shutdown hitting top 4. Sarich doesnt cut it.We are showing some goal scoring on a consistency we havent seen for a few years, we just need to stop the goals better. Interesting things happening in Buffalo, way better team than their record. They need that transitional dman. Wonder if they would part with either Myers(who has been in their doghouse lately) for JBO + something or I have always liked Sekera’s game & he’s always mentioned in trade rumours in Buffalo. Wonder if we could get him & Ennis for JBO +. I think JBO’s value is much higher these days, might be time to sell high on him.

    • Vintage Flame

      Giordano has struggled this season. I think if the Flames look at moving a D-man, it may be him.

      Especially if you are talking about a guy like ROR. The Avs want a D-man and despite his troubles this year, he’s the kind of guy Colorado would love to have on their blueline.

      • Kevin R

        Shows how many holes we have on this team. Not sure which is more important, a defensively solid top 4 dman or a 1a or 2nd line centre? I wouldnt be giving up much more than Gio in a deal for ROR. 1 year could have been a blip like our 2004 playoff run. Then who goes into the top 4 rotation? What if he’s still injured & then we still dont get that centreman & now we really look like we are in big time trouble on the top 4 pairings, especially with Butler crapping the bed this year.

  • Vintage Flame

    ROR is legit in my opinion.

    I would cmake that deal in a heartbeat. As for who fills in for Gio, I think Brodie is ahead of the curve on his expectations so if they did sacrifice Gio, they would still be ahead of the game.

    Plus they would have a legit bonefide #1 Centre.