POST-GAME: One For the Road?

 

When the Avs announced last minute that JS Giguere was getting the start over Sergei Varlomov, it was quite apparent that they had every intention of giving your Calgary Flames a good run for thir money at just who deserved to sit at the bottom of the barrel.

Calgary had already made their statement by starting not one, not two, not three, but four of their potentials, recently called up from Abbotsford.

Although many of the boys are still playing for jobs next season, the Flames seem adament about seeing what thy have going forward before the mighty off-season shows might big changes for the organization. It’s nothing short of refreshing to see the "kids" called up and given significant playing time, no matter what heh result of this game is.

A game that was touted, "The Battle for the Basement"

The Rundown

I’m not going to lie, the first period was less than exhilirating. There was no scoring and both teams looked tight to kick things off. Almost like it was going to be a reactionary game, where opportunity would be created from mistakes rather than creativity.

Although the Flames out-shot the Avs 10-8, they were also 0 for 3 on the power-play and that included an extended two man advantage.

However, that "O-fer" might be directly correlated to the fact that Hartley was playing his kids. Baertschi saw time on the first unit, which has to be encouraging if you’re a fan that is of the opinion that if you’re going to bring the kids up, then you might as well play them.

Baertschi in fact was second amongst all Flames forwards with 6:36 of ice-time; second to only Cammalleri’s 7:28.

Early in the second period, the emotions of Flames fans would be stirred up. Just 1:45 in Ryan Malone would tip in the shot from Tyson Barrie to give the Avs the lead. At this point in the season, and given that Colorado is a team the Flames are trying to "catch",  some might not be too upset about the early defecit.

About eight minutes in, Lee Stempniak had a glorious chance to tie the game low in the slot, only to put his shot high and wide. A rare miscue from Lee, or is he fully on board with "The Program" these days?

Obviously Roman Cervenka and Steve Begin are not on board though because just passed the midpoint of the period Begin would provide a perfect screen in front of Giguere just as Cervenka would come off the half wall, move to the slot and fire home the puck. We were all tied up again.

Maybe Cervenka still doesn’t know enough english to understand what the game plan is here now. Poor guy really, benched before cause he wasn’t scoring, now does he get benched because he is???

With 3 minutes left in the second, Roman Horak would pick up his second assist of the period. Perfectly centering a pass in front of Giguere, just in time for Cammalleri to tip it in passed JS. Clearly these Czech’s are trying to sabatoge the team. Get with the program boys!!!

Despite being out-shot 18-17 and going 0 for 1 again on the PP, Calgary somehow had the lead going into the 2nd intermission. Baertschi continued to log the second most ice-time amongst forwards and displayed some tenacity on the forecheck in the middle frame.

Colorado came out for the third looking to make a game of this one, after all, you can’t lose to the 29th place team in the league right? Unless of course you are the 30th place team in the league.

Despite Colorado out-shooting Calgary 14-7 and out-chancing them 8-5, it would be your Calgary Flames that would make chicken salad out of the chicken sh… that was this game. 

With four and a half left in the game Roman Cervenka would take a hooking penalty, opening the door a crack for the Avs. There wasn’t much time for Colorado to tie this one up, so they were going to have to take some chances.

That gamble would prove to be costly as Lee Stempniak would steal the puck along the boards and feed a wide open Alex Tanguay.

#88 Kent Wilson April 08 2013, 09:56PM
Tanguay doesn’t do anything but get and score on break aways these days. It’s weird.

… And that’s exactly what Alex would do again tonight. The short-handed goal would be Tanguay’s 11th of the season and would salt this one away.

Finally the streak was over…

Why the Flames Won…

Wow, I would like to say because the Flames played a 100% sound game and just ran the Avs roughshod all over Denver, but it wasn’t that poetic. 

The Avs are just a brutal team and they showed just how brutal they were tonight. Not being able to take advantage of the Flames playing their back-up goaltender, not to mention four, yes four, AHL call-ups.

That’s not to take anything away from those kids as they played well in their respective roles, and Calgary did end up out-chancing Colorado 23-20 for the night. But for two teams with fragile wills, the Av’s broke first and they couldn’t recover.

Red Warrior

I’m going with Sven Baertschi tonight

The kid didn’t make an impact on the scoreboard, but then again it’s hard for anyone to stand out in this one against a team that barely registered a pulse as it was.

Instead I thought I would take a different approach.

As Kent mentioned in the FGD, Sven opened up in a very candid interview with the Herald’s Vicki Hall. As Vicki points out in the piece, it has appeared that Sven has done a lot of maturing in his return to the AHL.

In being brought back up to the parent club tonight, Sven showed a lot of that enthusiasm that we saw before, but lost over the course of the beginning of the season. 

He got first unit time on the power-play and he showed some decent forechecking in the second half of the game. All of that on top of playing 18:15 minutes; that had him third, behind Tanguay (20:40) and Cammalleri (20:06), amongst Flames forwards in icce-time.

Scoring Chances

Flames in Blue, Avs in Red:

 

# Player EV     PP     SH    
3 CARSON, BRETT 06:09 4 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
5 GIORDANO, MARK 16:45 6 4 04:29 1 1 03:52 1 3
6 SARICH, CORY 09:08 1 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
7 BRODIE, TJ 15:28 6 2 05:09 0 1 03:37 0 4
10 CERVENKA, ROMAN 09:43 4 2 01:27 0 0 00:00 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 11:10 6 1 03:38 0 0 00:00 0 0
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 11:18 6 3 05:26 5 2 03:22 0 6
15 JACKMAN, TIM 11:02 4 2 00:23 0 0 00:00 0 0
18 STAJAN, MATT 02:50 1 0 00:37 0 0 00:00 0 0
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 08:10 3 2 05:07 5 2 02:47 0 1
22 STEMPNIAK, LEE 12:51 5 3 02:27 1 1 01:58 1 3
25 BEGIN, STEVE 09:25 5 3 00:17 0 0 02:18 0 0
26 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 17:23 8 5 06:16 6 2 04:23 1 3
35 MACDONALD, JOEY   16 10   6 3   1 7
40 TANGUAY, ALEX 12:17 5 5 05:07 5 2 03:16 1 3
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 18:19 7 5 00:18 0 0 04:08 0 4
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 12:36 5 3 05:39 5 2 00:00 0 0
51 HORAK, ROMAN 12:03 1 4 03:13 1 1 01:19 0 1
59 REINHART, MAXWELL 11:23 3 2 02:27 1 1 01:00 0 0

Sum It Up

After thirteen straight losses on the road, your Calgary Flames finally broke the streak and won one against the last place team in the conference… and the league.

Hey… baby steps right?

Overall it was a good game because no matter what those that are fully on board with #TeamTank, it’s still nice to see your team win. If not, then well, I’m sorry… No not really.

I am really happy that we get to see the likes of Carson, Horak, Baertschi, and Reinhart playing together. What makes me happy is that these kid are not being dramatically overwhelmed.

It’s a positive I am willing to take throughout the rest of the season and into the off-season.

MacBackup MacStarter played a pretty sound game tonight. The Avs were not good for the whole of the game, but when they did have their chances, (to borrow a term from the late, great Ed Whalen) Mac was "Equal to the task".

The Flames now return to the confines of the Saddledome, to face the Vancouver Canucks again. Are we going to see the kids, or the team for that matter, play like they did tonight? Maybe… Maybe not.

Reinhart looked okay against them in th last contest and Carson will always be a better option than Babchuk. Horak is the most tenured of the Mickey Mouse Club and he has fit in as well.

Matt Stajan left the game after taking a shot to the head from Patrick Bordeleau, so we’ll have to see what his status is for Wednesday. If he can’t go and Hudler is still out, might we see someone else recalled from Abby? Maybe Ben Street?

We all know that the Nucks are the more "talented" team, but the Flames looked like the dominate team and the one with something to play for last Saturday. Can they do it again, sure.. but let’s just keep seeing this for what it is. 

Gametime is 7:30 on SNET-W and the Fan 960.

The View from the Other Side:

Not sure how many have seen this, but if you think we have it bad as Flames fans, take a read from Adrian Dater’s interview with JS Giguere following tonight’s game against Calgary.

Here is an excerpt between Dater and Jiggy to peak your interest…"

I then asked Jiggy if the true problem with this team is just its lack of focus or preparation or pride or whatever, and he said:

“I don’t know what it is. I’ve been around for 15 years in this league and I don’t know what it is. I don’t know why we seem like we don’t care at points. I don’t know, I don’t know we seem like, you know — some guys are fighting to show that they belong in the NHL, some guys are fighting for contracts. And it’s just embarrassing, the way we, you know, the energy we have in the room and the way we approach practices and the way we approach this game. It’s not how you’re going to win any games in this league. I mean, this is a team (Calgary) that we can beat if we set our minds to it, and every day is the same story. I don’t know what to say. I’m beyond words right now.”

I then something to the effect of, “Hey, things are pretty good around here too about five weeks ago. You beat the Chicago Blackhawks and were at .500 and…” and then Jiggy cut me off to say:

“But that was just one game. It’s easy to get going when you play a team that is going to embarrass you if you don’t play well. You’ve got to play like this against every team in this league. There’s not one easy game in this league, so you’ve got to play hard and you’ve got to play well every night. You’ve got to find a way to get yourself motivated and focused. It has nothing to do with who you’re playing. It’s about how you prepare yourself and how you approach the game. It’s not about which team you’re playing. Yeah, everybody’s going to get motivated when you play the Hawks. I mean, the building is full and that’s easy to do. But can you get yourself going when you play the Calgary Flames? Can you do that right now? And obviously, we’re too immature to do that.”