It was a good game tonight for the good guys, and it was one that they deserved to win. As many times as we’ve heard a variant of the sentence this year, it hasn’t always lead to a win – but tonight it did, as the Cowboy from Provost would shine on Western Night.
The game started off a little slow for the Flames, as it took 6:20 to register their first shot – but luckily for them the first one went right by Pekka Rinne. Mark Giordano placed a wrist shot from 30 feet out about as well as you can from that distance and the Flames were up 1-0. They would add to that quickly thereafter, as Blake Comeau (yes, that Blake Comeau – again!) took a beauty feed from Jiri Hudler and used the backhand to get it past Rinne from just outside the dot. Rinne was pulled for the second straight night after that, allowing two goals on two shots. Chances were 6-4 for the Flames, 6-2 at evens. Shots were 6-6 and the Flames were +3 in Corsi.
The second started much like the first ended, with the Flames controlling the play early. They would add to their lead at 3:38 when Jiri Hudler would pot a power play point against Mason to put the Flames up by a trey. Nashville would respond less than two minutes later, however, with their own power play goal off the stick of Gabriel (Don’t call me Ray!) Bourque. That would be it for scoring in the second, though the Flames showed no signs of letting up – they matched Nashville event for event from there on out until the intermission, leading to the stats all being in their favour: chances were 9-4 (15-8), 7-3 at evens (13-5); shots were 8-6 (14-12) and the Flames moved the Corsi needle further to the positive side, with a +6 rating when the horn blew.
The Flames came out in the third looking for the kill, and a nice drive from Lee Stempniak led to a rebound going behind Mason and into the net via Curtis Glencross’ arm, making him the first Flame to reach the double-digit goal mark. Mike Fisher would make the deficit two again after a perfect deflection in the middle of the slot on Roman Josi’s shot beat Kiprusoff. The Stajan line – which has been very good pretty much the entire season – drove down the ice again and Curtis Glencross would pot his second of the game, extending the lead to 5-2. The Legwandian one would score for Nashville but it was all for naught as GlenX would complete the Hatty as a rink-long shot found the back of the net with just under a minute left. Chances were 4-2 Flames in the third, all at even strength, thus the Flames won the chance battle by a considerable margin (19-10). They also out-shot and out-corsied the Preds, 22-20 and +5 respectively. Everyone on the Flames except for Smith, Begin and Butler had a ZS% <50% tonight, with Giordano and Wideman getting hit espically hard: 27% and 23% of their shifts were started in the O-Zone tonight.
Why The Flames Won
Simply because they were the better team. They had the usual meh goaltending from Kiprusoff (.882 EVSV%) but that doesn’t really matter when you out-shoot and out-chance your opponent as well as score 6 goals on their goalies. They were better and they deserved to win.
It can’t be anyone other than Curtis Glencross tonight – even though only one of his goals was a scorer’s goal, they all count the same. Honourable mention goes to Lee Stempniak and Mikael Backlund. Second game in a row for Glencross in this space.
Sum It Up
I’m not a big fan of the lose-for-picks mentality, and combine that with the fact that the Flames are 3 points back of a playoff spot with a game in hand – well, winning’s the only way to go.
The Flames don’t play again until Monday, but we’ll have plenty of stuff this weekend to pique your interest. Go GSP and Go Flames.