POST-GAME: Sometimes, It’s All About The Numbers!

After missing 13 games, Calgary finally had their #1 goalie back. The team went 6-5-2 over those 13, so it’s up to you if that was unlucky or not. Tonight would also be the teams 7th stab at getting above the .500 mark. Would "7" be your Calgary Flames lucky number tonight?

Again the team would be facing an opponent delayed later than expected in Vancouver. This time it would be the San Jose Sharks that would come into the Dome slightly less than prepared. Calgary was going to be the team that determined the tempo of this game, and try to controll it with their style of play. Most importantly, find a way to keep Marleau and the two Joey’s aways from the front of the Flames net.

Lucky number seven would be lucky indeed for Calgary, not to mention Kiprusoff’s return to the blue paint wasn’t heroic by any means to start the game, but he was impressive when they needed him in the end, and tonight was enough to push the Flames over the top; and over .500.

The Rundown

The game started fairly back and forth. The Sharks would have the early edge in pressure, but for the most part, Calgary would hold their own. Maybe they were looking for a moment of opportunity, maybe they were just playing conservatively to allow Kipper to re-adjust to life back on the ice.

It wasn’t too long ago that Roman Cervenka was almost a healthy scratch. Since then he has actually played with more determination in getting to those open areas to create some scoring chances. Tonight that play payed off as he opened the scoring at 4:37 of the first period. Following up the play, Roman was Johnny on the spot to cap off a nice series of passes from Hudler and Iginla. Bouwmeester was the shooter, but Cervenka was quicker than Greiss on the rebound.

After the goal, the game seemed to settle in for both sides. While the Flames appeared to carry the play for the most part, it was hard to tell definitively because the Sharks weren’t skating well at all.

Regardless the period ended with just the one goal. Flames edges San Jose 9-8 in shots and 5-3 in scoring chances.

The Sharks came out tilting the ice in their favour in the second, yet still couldn’t mount any chances. Instead it was Calgary that had a few of their own in their limited early opportunities; the best probably coming off a streaking Blake Comeau… Well as much as Blake Comeau can streak.

By the midpoint of the period, absolutely nothing had happened. The closest we got to anything changing the scoreboard was a sure fire goal that was accidentally blocked by Logan Couture because he was stuck in the crease with his back to the play.

At 13:53, Mark Giordano would make a defensive error, coughing up the puck to Joe Pavelski just off to the left of Kiprusoff. Little Joe would throw it across the crease to Big Joe and we had ourselves a tie game. You can’t make that kind of errors to guys like Little/Big Joe, Gio.

Despite the goal from San Jose, Calgary was by far the superior team in the middle frame. Again they out-shot the Sharks 11-8, they dominated the face-off circle and out-chanced San Jose 10-5. But they also had seven giveaways and one big one was what led to the game being tied after forty.

The third started with Calgary on their heels and playing mostly in their own zone; a famiiar tale to the chagrin of Flames fans. That is until at 2:57, when Blake Comeau came streaking down the right side (as much as Blake Comeau can streak) and snapped one passed Greiss on the far side. 

Less than two minutes later, the captain of your Calgary Flames would get the puck in the high slot and put another wrister passed Greiss on the blocker side. Two quick goals knocking the wind out of the Sharks momentum as the Flames start a book on where to shoot on the San Jose back-up.

Late in the game, with the Sharks trying to push back, it became the Miikka Kiprusoff show. If there was any rust after missing thirteen games, it was all gone by the time Calgary needed him to step up.

Wave after wave in the last five minutes of the game, like someone had chummed the water for the Sharks. All the while, Miikka staved off the attack with great angles and quick reactions to one-timers. The fans in the Dome cheered while Kipper stood stoically in his crease and "Du Hast" belted out of the speakers.

With Blake Comeau taking a weird penalty with a little over two on the clock, San Jose would pull Greiss in a last ditch effort. Instead Curtis Glencross would ice it with the Flames first short handed goal of the season. And that was all she wrote.

The Sharks ran up the numbers in every column but the one that counted. They out-shot Calgary 17-6 and dominated the scoring chances 7-2; not able to make hay out of either though.

Why The Flames Won…

As mentioned before, this was the second straight game where a team was forced to arrive late in Calgary from Vancouver due to the snowfall. It seems to work well for Calgary as they ended up with a combined four points out of both ordeals.

As a result, the Flames were again able to apply sustained pressure on a weary opponent that didn’t have it in them to weather a 60 minute game.

The Sharks looked terrible from start to finish and Calgary was able to take advantage of it.

Because every time the Sharks started to push, the Flames were able to limit their chances and turn the momentum back in their favour.

Because when the Flames needed to score… they did score

Finally, because of this guy!


It was the popular topic of conversation all day, when Bob Hartley announced that Kipper was going to get the start.

It was probably also in the back of people’s minds just how Kipper was performing prior to the injury 13 games ago against Detroit.

With the Flames really needing this one, would Miikka be in game shape enough to keep the Flames in the game long enough to get a lucky bounce or just flat out bait the Sharks into playing a game they could not win.

The answer? YES!

He didn’t have to be spectacular in the first or second periods. But when it came time to save the win for Calgary in the third, with a pressing San Jose team, Miikka was equal to the task.

Hell, he was more than equal, he was Miikka Kiprusoff.

Time and time again in the waning minutes of the game, he would take away the shot, slide across to block the one-timer or flat out "rob" San Jose shooters.

Sum it Up

What a nice change it was getting contibutions from the likes of Comeau and Butler. Despite the bulk of the power coming from the usual suspects, both of these guys actually had their best games of the season.

I have often been critical of both, but tonight both guys get a stick tap for their efforts. Butler played over 22 minutes, and Comeau ended up replacing Baertschi in the third period, when Hartley shortened the bench, because of his effort tonight.

More importantly than the win, Kipper gave the Flames an important intangible. He gave them the confidence they are going to need to have in him if they want to make headway on a difficult upcoming road trip.

With Kipper looking like he is mid-season form, Calgary now makes their way down to California.

With back-to-backs in LA and a visit to the Duck pond, if the Flames can put together a better than decent effort and build off the adrenaline they will undoubtedly get from the return of Kiprusoff, the might be able to climb the Western ladder a little bit higher.

Two points out of 8th in the West, and believe it or not, only 5 points behind the division leading Canucks. The next three games will be telling, especially depending how the teams above them play over the same span. It all gets underway Friday in Anaheim. Game time is 8:30 MST on SNET-W and the Fan 960

  • Legend of Weevil

    ppg standings

    chi-1.875 (cen)
    ana-1.591 (pac)
    van-1.227 (nw)







    edit: if the flames win their next game, their ppg moves to 1.091

  • So three guys didn’t get a shift in the third period: McGrattan, Jackman, and Baertschi. The first two, I understand. McGrattan shouldn’t be on the team and Jackman is a shell of his former self.

    But Baertschi? WTF? Gotta wonder what’s going on with the kid. It doesn’t seem like Hartley is putting him in a position to grow or succeed at this level. Send him down to the AHL if the coach can’t find a place for him on the big club.

    Granted, Comeau played well enough last night to get a few extra shifts and maybe he took Baertschi’s ice in the third and maybe this is an anomaly, but me thinks that’s maybe only part of the answer. According to Pat Steinberg, Baertschi was benched in the third for performance reasons: @Fan960Steinberg Associate Coach Jacques Cloutier, Baertschi didn’t play in the 3rd period for performance reasons.

  • @kent wilson – WOW! Go and buy yourself a lottery ticket or something:

    “This is about the time the Flames start going on a run – apparent 11th hour and the percentages finally flip the script and the Flames look like contenders again for a bit.

    So I’ll say 5-1 Flames.”

    And yes, this is that annoying time of the year when the team looks like world beaters. I dread the same script happening again, when they follow up with a string of losses after the trade deadline, but with the shortened season, who knows? Maybe they squeek in. Once again they’re probably going to do just enough to convince ownership that if “we can just get into 8th….”

    The Flames’ biggest opportunity to rebuild is going to evaporate right in front of our eyes.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I fear you are exactly right. If the management team was completely honest with itself, and fans they would maximize the usage of their assets. Instead they will watch us get Sundin’d. I would enjoy the wins this year, if I had confidence the Flames braintrust, but they would rather reap the current rewards of dreaming for 8th rather than building a champion.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Please sweet baby Jesus no! Play up till the deadline, then trade away Igg,Kipper and possibly jbo,cammy, sarich (if possible) who knows maybe comeau can even generate a 7th round worth of value (yeah right the coach thinks he is the 3rd best player on the team)

      You are right, the time is NOW OR NEVER.
      Do not make us the oilers…..

  • T&A4Flames

    Still some people on here looking to move players at the deadline; good to see that people aren’t fooled by 1 game. Don’t get me wrong, having Kipper back was exciting, with him we actually may make the playoffs. However, I also don’t think we have what is neede for the long haul. We have a chance to make some solid moves for the future and I don’t want the same script as last year, go on a streak just prior to the deadline only to fall apart after the deadline when the push is really on.

    I think regardless, the Flames are going to have to do something by at least the draft. We have around $16mil available next season. If we are looking at resigning Iggy that doesn’t leave a lot. We also have to resign Backlund, Brodie, Butler and Cervenka, not to mention Ramo.

    Something has to give.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Coaches said after the game that Sven was benched because of performance and I can’t disagree. The kid looks weak on his skates out there and not remotely assertive in any zone.

    Send him down. Certainly didn’t hurt Kadri any.

    You don’t coddle these kids in the NHL, especially if they aren’t ready to take a step forward, which Baertschi looks like he hasn’t yet.

    • jeremywilhelm

      Flames have once again mishandled a promising prospect, so what else is new?

      He scores 3 in 5 last year and so everyone expects he can just walk in and score 30 this year.

      He should’ve started in the top 6 to evaluate where he was at, but it was apparent weeks ago that he needs to get a lot stronger.

      Keeping him on the 4th line or nailed to the bench is idiotic in a 100 different ways. Put him in Abby and play the snot out of him. First and last minute of every period, pp, pk, 20 minutes a night minimum. Let him develop against professionals and men, but who aren’t NHL’ers. Let him appreciate riding a bus again vs a chartered plane to encourage his progress and get him on a strict strength building program.

      [email protected]#$#^#$^!!!! this [email protected]#$!##%-in team and the way they handle prospects drives me nuts!!! Do they ever learn from their own history??!!! F#%@#!!!!!!

        • Vintage Flame

          I hesitate to do this because it’s a somewhat futile argument that can be argued back and forth endlessly and is largely a matter of opinion.

          A caveat – this isn’t trying to completely absolve certain players of all blame either.

          But let’s see. A list of players that had very good pedigrees in junior and that were hyped as being offensive players but didn’t pan out that way and also players that were poorly handled and became far better after leaving:

          Martin St. Louis – not an immediate superstar, consigned to the bottom 6 in Calgary for most of his tenure, only very brief glimpses in the top 6. Still a ppg superstar in TB.

          You only asked for one, but I’ll keep going.

          Marc Savard – more time than St. Louis playing top 6, but otherwise – ditto.

          Oleg Saprykin, Chuck Kobasew, Mathew Lombardi – all great scorers in junior who should’ve been made to develop their offensive games in the minors. Buried for years on the bottom 6 in Calgary.

          Kill a young player’s confidence at a critical stage in development and play him exclusively in a checker’s role with career checkers for years and SURPRISE! – you get yourself a checker.

          Tkatzchuk, Fata, Mattsson – more 1st rounders that idn’t work out. Again, not all the team’s fault by any means, but no development plan of any kind was in place for those guys.

          Trevor Kidd – ugh. Talk about screwing a guy up.

          Derek Morris? Cory Stillman? Both were far better after leaving Calagry.

          Som uch for the glory that was going to be Phaneuf as well.

          Drafting is important, development is just as important. Just ask Ken Holland.

          In Calgary, either you stepping and score 40 or you get turned into a checker.

          Btw, why exactly are you against sending Sven down? Because I’m not really getting your point.

          I’m sure you can nitpick what I’ve wrote, but where are your examples going the other way in the last 25 years? Jarome is about it.

          Really, given their track record, you should be having justifying the Flames’ development system, not askign me to state failed examples of it – of which you’re going to entirely blame the players and scouts, I know.

          • Legend of Weevil

            okay, even with the current regime excluded – in the sutter timeline only really backlund and phaneuf were drafted and developed by the flames. backlund is still tracking well and phaneuf is a #1 dman.

          • Vintage Flame

            I’d have to disagree with Phaneuf being a legit #1D, but fine, he is in that position.

            Gms come and go, and each need their own chance, I get that. But the team and it’s fans are always here and the team has a history at being poor at drafting and development. One can’t just toss the last 25 years away because new management is in town. Reading my first post on this, I think it was obvioous I referencing Flames’ history in general and just last week.

            Does any of that matter though? So, ok, lets just look at Baertschi situation then. Defend it for me.

            a) play the heck out of him in the minors;

            b) play him top 6 in the NHL and live with his mistakes;

            c) play him 5 minutes/night with goons on the 4th line and then bench him for not producing.

            And option ‘c’ is the best out of those 3? Ok, again, explain to me how that is so.

            I agreed with the comment that the odd benching wouldn’t hurt. The odd benching wouldn’t have hurt Jarome the lst 4 years either given his play some nights. The odd benching doesn’t hurt anyone – point conceded and already agreed with.

            It was the handling of Baertschi I was criticizing.

          • Vintage Flame


            I thought Morris and Stillman both played exactly the same after they left Calgary.

            Kidd… Overrated by everybody.

            Savard wasn’t a Flames pick.

            Fata was stupidity by the Flames. They lost him on waivers, I suppose they knew they were going to lose him at the tender age of 21. Button was a world-class buffoon. Fata had his chances though with the team that picked him up…

            Tkaczuk… He barely played for the Flames. If he was so awesome, why didn’t he make it with the Blues?

            Mattsson… A puzzler indeed. Guess we should’ve gotten Bertuzzi.

            St. Louis was never drafted. He actually tried out for the Sens even before he came to Calgary.

            Oleg Saprykin… Ah… Well, at least we didn’t take Patrick Stefan over Saprykin.

            Kobasew… Actually, I thought he did fine. Remember that he was traded along with Ference for Brad Stuart. I really, really wish Stuart signed a long-term deal here, but alas, Sutter didn’t do his due diligence on that deal.

            Lombardi… Well, he was picked 90th overall, and 215th overall when the Oilers first drafted him. What did you expect from him?

          • Vintage Flame

            Uh, yeah….and the comments previous to this were more in regards to the Flames’ lack of development ability than whether or not the player was traded for, drafted or signed as a free agent.

            Obviously, the players share in the blame and in some cases all of the blame. Point is, the Flames’ aren’t good at it. Then or now.

            If Sutter was doing his job, how does Howse show up overweight at camp? Look at the number of people complaining that Wahl got screwed here so career minor leaguers could play.

            All I’m saying is this:

            Players at 19, 20, 21 years of age are at a critical stage of development. Especially skill players.So let them develop their offensive game and play in every situation and gain strength and experience in a development league. And if you are going to force them into the NHL than live with their mistakes in the top 6. But taking skill guys at critical stages of development and forcing them to play on the 3rd and 4th lines for years kills their offensive game.

            Say what you want about Lombardi, Kobasew and Saprykin. All were scorers in junior and hyped to be that at the NHL level. And the team failed at it.

  • jeremywilhelm

    You know, it’s funny, anyone listen to the Fan the other day talk about Carlyle’s comments regarding Kadri? Top scorer, 22 years old, ppg and they treat him like they resent him or hate the kid. Like they want him to fail.

    I hope it’s not the same thing in Calgary with Hartley and Baerstchi.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Baertschi is not a baby. And it never hurts a good prospect to get benched once in a while. He’ll be better for the challenge or he isn’t as good as we all thought he was.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I was at the game last night, couple of observations…

    1)What a difference Kipper makes… like night and day between him and Mac D.

    2)Comeau was by far the most noticeable forward last night… that’s scary. Stempniak and Stajan get honorable mention.

    3)Why the hell does the ref keep throwing Stajan out of the Faceoff circle?

    4)Tanguay, Glencross, and Hudler didn’t show up..

    5)I would recommend sending Baertchi down to the heat… he seem’s really disengaged and out of place…

  • Purple Hazze

    We once again beat a tired team that played the night before … the Flames always looks like they’re flying in these types of games.

    Lets see how they fair over the next 4 games.

  • Vintage Flame

    I’m on the fence about Baertschi. He is too good to play in the minors, but definitely needs work up here.

    Sending him down doesn’t hurt his development but I’m not sure it helps it any either.

    That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go down once Backlund returns.

    • Legend of Weevil

      I don’t think he’s too good to play in the minors at all. he should’ve spent the entire season there.

      hell, I would’ve even considered keeping him in portland for the contractual benefits.