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.
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.
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!