Post-Game: Flames Win A Weird One

2009 Western Conference Quarterfinals Game 3 Chicago Blackhawks v Calgary Flames, Pengrowth Saddledome Mike Cammalleri


After a rough road trip that saw the club lose four of five games, the Calgary Flames returned home to the Scotiabank Saddledome hoping to get back in the win column. They had their work cut out for them, missing their most dependable blueliner (Mark Giordano) and forward (Lee Stempniak) and facing the powerhouse Washington Capitals, winners of four of their last five contests.

Recent results from both teams would suggest a particular outcome, but both teams had a few surprises up their sleeves on this evening in one of the odder games I’ve seen in awhile.


The Flames returned home and began their homestand with quite possibly their best period of the year. The line of Joe Colborne, Mike Cammalleri and T.J. Galiardi put together a lot of good shifts, including a couple that impacted the score. On a lengthy opening shift, the Flames struck first – Kris Russell sneaking in from the point to put home a big rebound. The pressure continued from the Flames and they struck once again. After amassing an 11-2 lead in shots, Jiri Hudler knocked in a Sean Monahan rebound to take a 2-0 lead on a play made possibly by a nice Sven Baertschi zone entry.

The Capitals broke the goose-egg on their end with a goal by Jason Chimera made possible by a Shane O’Brien miscue at the Capitals blueline. The Flames rushed back, with Derek Smith making a heroic diving block to keep Chimera to the outside. Unfortunately, after a few perimeter passes, the Flames forgot Chimera was still around, allowing him to put a puck past Ramo to move the Caps back within one. That lasted all of 48 seconds, as the aforementioned Colborne/Cammalleri/Galiardi line struck again, this time with Cammalleri tipping home a Dennis Wideman point shot. That goal chased Braden Holtby for the second time in as many games against Calgary. In the opening frame, the Flames lead in shots (17-8), Corsi events (23-13), face-off wins (14-6) and scoring chances (11-4). All-in-all, a fantastic period for the hometown team.

In the second period, the Flames got hemmed into own zone for awhile. Every line, except for oddly the McGrattan/Backlund/Bouma line, spent a good deal of time in their own zone. Eventually the Capitals got their feet moving and kept beating the Flames to loose pucks. After about six of these attempted clears, the Capitals put the puck on the net and Aaron Volpatti put the puck past a sprawing Karri Ramo to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Flames were less coordinated in general in the middle stanza: lots of missed passes and nice plays that just missed their mark. This resulted in quite a few turnovers, but they also showcased the back-checking abilities of a handful of players – notably Joe Colborne and T.J. Galiardi. There were also a few off-sides caused by the Flames bench opening inside the blueline – a stick-tap to Canadian Press’ Darren Haynes for noting that. Anyhoo, the Flames just couldn’t put much together, but the Caps weren’t that much better in the second. The Flames out-shot Washington 9-8 (miraculously), but the Capitals had the edge in Corsi events 20-12, face-offs 10-6 and scoring chances 5-3.

The third period was a bit odd, like the second, although much less one-sided. Each team had weird bounces, odd miscues and broken plays. A few of these resulted in very nice saves by Karri Ramo. The Flames managed to extend their lead off of an offensive zone face-off, when Mike Cammalleri’s shot from the corner made its way through Michal Neuvirth and into the net. Yes, a goal with the weirdness fitting this hockey game. Curtis Glencross finally got on the board late in the game after having terrible luck all evening (and arguably all season). In the last period, the Flames were out-shot 13-8 and out-Corsied 23-12, but had the edge in face-offs 11-10. Scoring chances were even at 3-3.


Because the Capitals really weren’t very good. Alex Ovechkin was invisible, despite putting a lot of pucks near the net, and the Flames played well enough to win. Their penalty kill was full marks on the evening, as opposed to their rough outing in DC to open the season.

And the Flames’ best players managed to be difference-makers when they needed to be.


Gotta go with Mike Cammalleri, who had three points, four shots on net and a plus-two rating. Honourable mention to Kris Russell, who had a great game, and Joe Colborne, who was a beast in the face-off circle.


# Player EV     PP     SH    
4 RUSSELL, KRIS 20:40 6 4 03:26 4 0 03:07 0 1
6 WIDEMAN, DENNIS 21:25 7 6 04:41 4 0 03:12 0 1
7 BRODIE, TJ 18:50 4 1 02:39 2 0 04:48 0 3
8 COLBORNE, JOE 13:01 2 2 01:50 3 0 00:27 0 0
11 BACKLUND, MIKAEL 06:49 0 1 00:00 0 0 03:05 0 1
13 CAMMALLERI, MIKE 14:33 2 2 02:49 3 0 00:00 0 0
16 MCGRATTAN, BRIAN 06:02 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:07 0 0
17 BOUMA, LANCE 06:23 0 1 00:00 0 0 03:52 0 2
18 STAJAN, MATT 12:19 5 4 00:09 0 0 03:46 0 3
20 GLENCROSS, CURTIS 12:58 6 4 02:49 3 0 00:42 0 0
23 MONAHAN, SEAN 13:04 4 1 03:02 3 0 00:00 0 0
24 HUDLER, JIRI 13:27 4 1 01:36 1 0 00:00 0 0
27 SMITH, DEREK 06:15 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
31 RAMO, KARRI   11 8   6 0   0 4
39 GALIARDI, TJ 14:03 3 2 00:00 0 0 03:59 0 2
44 BUTLER, CHRIS 18:54 5 3 00:57 2 0 04:53 0 3
47 BAERTSCHI, SVEN 12:53 3 1 03:09 2 0 00:00 0 0
54 JONES, DAVID 12:18 4 4 02:53 3 0 00:02 0 0
55 O’BRIEN, SHANE 06:06 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 11 4 7 3 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2 3 5 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
3 3 3 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0


The Capitals weren’t that good and the Flames were pretty good, if a tad uneven over the middle 20 minutes. But they out-played the Capitals when the game was up for grabs and collected two points.

Next up for the Flames are the fabled Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. The puck drops at 6pm and you can catch the game on TSN, Fan 960 and via the usual FN suspects on Twitter.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I was at the game tonight and was really impressed with the Baertchi, Monahan, Hudler line, especially in the first. Also, I was very impressed with Backlund tonight, who in spite of his line mates continued to move the puck up ice on every shift,

  • beloch

    Previously, I predicted that if Monahan stays and Stajan gets healthy, Hartley would convert Colborne to the wing just so he can get him off the goon squad and give him some TOI to develop. Instead, he put Backlund on the goon squad (and PK) and threw Colborne out there with the squid for 15 minutes! That’s throwing the baby out of the nest, to be sure, and Colborne flew! Good stuff. I don’t know if he’s doing this because the kids are really his best offensive weapons, but Hartley gave Monahan and Colborne all the PP time while Stajan and Backlund got all the PK duty. It’s strange, but you can’t argue with the results!

    One area of concern is the third pairing on the blue-line. O’Brian and Smith played just 6 minutes, leaving 54 for the top four to eat. I honestly hope that changes. Perhaps Burke should steal some defense prospects the way he robbed Colborne from the Leafs!

    • everton fc

      The goon squad is a joke! McGrunt had a season high 6 min TOI and tried to goon Grabovski? Seriously? Oh well, I guess we can look forward to the staged fight Wednesday night with him and Orr or McLaren.

  • BurningSensation

    I only watched the first two periods but glad to hear Glencross finally scored. I was really impressed with the Monahan, Sven, Hudler line; maybe they should get some pp time as a unit. Here’s a thought keep the three lines from tonight together and when Stemp gets back play him with Backs and Bouma and roll four solid lines. nice to see Colborne get an assist but he was a bog part of a couple of other goals because of his big body around the net. I also liked a couple of shifts by Smith on the backend and when Gio gets healthy maybe he should get another look instead of either OB or Butler; the only problem becomes we are rather tiny on D.

  • everton fc

    Let’s hope Backlund’s in the doghouse for one game and hasn’t been demoted to a lower line, thought with Street and more minutes, that line might have produced more.

    Meszaros/Liles would both look good on this team! Enjoy the snowfall!

  • RexLibris

    Oilers have called up Richard Bachman – goalie from OKC.

    I mention this because Bachman was a player whose drafting by the Stars back in ’06 I had credited to John Weisbrod during this time scouting with Dallas.

      • RexLibris

        Ha, fans are desperate that is for sure.

        Organization? Not yet. A call up makes more sense than sending out a forward or defensive prospect for a goalie.

        LaBarbara had a terrible afternoon yesterday so I suspect this is some tough-love from the coaching staff. Dubnyk has been far better his last few games, returning to form and he’ll play in LA today.

        If he goes south and they have to play Bachman THEN I think fans and bloggers will start up their draft coverage.

  • Willi P

    Another typical floating game by the not so great 8. He gets fired up on the bench but does nothing on the ice other than try and one time the puck. I don’t care how many he scores, his lazy play without the puck causes more goals than he scores. If Hartley was his coach, he would be watching from above until he learned to play the game.

  • Willi P

    I would like to give full marks to Feaster and Co. Outside of trading for O’brien, Butler and resigning McGrattan, I really like his moves. Aquiring Russell for a 5th, Colborne for a 4th and Galiardi for a 4th have so far, in the early goings, worked out quite nice. Now here’s hoping Cammy, and Stajan can be turned into a nice return at the deadline. I would like to resign Stempniak. I like what he brings.

    • Willi P

      Agree. And if Knight proves out then that’s another wise use of a 4th rounder.

      Best games of the season for Colborne and Russell. Baertschi and Cammy were very good.

      However need to start rotating in Heat prospects for 5 games at a time to support proper development…2 F’s and 1 D at a time.

      • beloch

        While I would be inclined to agree with you I suspect this will not happen until the end of November. Here’s why; we currently have Sven, Monahan, Bouma and Colborne all of teh age who could play AHL(yes I know Monahan can’t go down) and they are all playing reasonably well, no one down on the farm has clearly distinguished themselves as the likely call up and this will take at least another month. On D it seems Cundari ans Sieloff are both injured. Breen is up right now as is Smith. The top two currently playing seem to Ramage who I think could play for an audition but only when Gio is back and the same could be said for Billings. Spoon is not ready and will likely need to play in the AHL till at least Christmas until he is ready.

        The only way the revolving door occurs if there are injuries or they decide to walk away from Jack’s and McG… unless they trade some of the other vets early

        I suspect we will likely see way more movement later in the season.

        • beloch

          If Hartley can decide to give up his obsession with McG and Jackman we would have more options. They may be nice guys, but I don’t get keeping them up at the big club. Neither is fighting, or playing very much, so why bother. Even more so if Backland is being deployed as 4C with those two as linemates. Give him something to work with at least.

        • piscera.infada

          Am thinking Feaster will need to start trading vets early to start making room for prospects, assuming their peak value is about maxed.

          – Jackman was in demand before and will bring some value – he’s expendable as Bouma is a younger version and we don’t need two.
          – Stajan is now expendable as soon as Knight is ready. Stemper and GlenX are also expendable now and would bring decent returns. Pulling the trigger on a spread out basis would evolve the team culture on a progressive basis and allow for managing prospect replacement one-at-a-time rather than shocking team confidence at the trade deadline.
          – McGrattan will likely be kept for the season as insurance and dressing room vibe as a cheap investment, regardless whether he brings on-ice value.

          • piscera.infada

            I don’t think you’re going to see everyone shipped out – it’s probably not wise either. You need someone to be there. Yes, Giordano, Hudler, and Wideman will still be here, but you need a few more guys that have the right attitude, can produce, take some heat off the younger guys, and can keep up with the quicker pace. As such, my money is on Stemps being resigned – of course, assuming he wants to stay, but he legitimately seems to have the right attitude.

            I agree, Cammy will likely and should be gone (but at the trade deadline). I don’t think Jackman has any real value any more. Stajan is a toss up, but you’d like him to increase his value, and you don’t want a yawning chasm in the middle of the ice, ever. Glencross is probably the highest value guy at the moment (bad start and all), but it’s really up to him if he wants to go anywhere – so it’s tough.

          • loudogYYC

            I don’t really see how Stempniak & Glencross are expendable. RW is actually a weakness of this team and Stemp is pretty darn reliable. I do think Glencross should be traded though, he would have high trade value and he’s probably not the best fit on a rebuilding team.

            Darcy Regier pulled a fast one today with that Vanek trade, I bet he gets another 1st for Moulson by the deadline. Hope Feaster & Burke can pull off a trade like this when it comes to Cammalleri.

          • Willi P

            You have just identified the Oiler model of rebuild. Leave all the pressure of winning on the young guys with virtually no veterans around to support them. Now we all know that means becoming chronic LOSERS!

  • Skuehler

    Love the way Russell and Wideman are playing together. Gio and Brodie make a good pairing too. Even Butler looked good yesterday. Just need to get some consistency from 5-7 D.
    Flames look good when they play their game/system – they are holding their own this year so far (except SJ game!)

  • beloch

    ^ The Flames want to have someone in the lineup that can stand up for teammates if need be.

    We lacked that last year before we acquired Mcgrattan. That’s why one of Mcgrattan, Jackman or Breen have always been dressed in a game.

    They play better knowing someone can stand up for them, even if they don’t end up fighting..

    • beloch

      Keep Breen! He is the only hockey player in that group! The rest of the Flames should be able to stand up for themselves, We are the Flames, not the wimpy under- charactered wimps like the ECHL Oilers team 300km north! Hahahahaha….lmao!!!hahahahs…OILERS SUCK!!!

    • beloch

      You may want to check out the bobby Orr interview as well. Not only has he played the game but is still very heavily involved at all levels. He explains the need for and the importance of a tough guy.

      • piscera.infada

        Can’t Bouma be that guy and still be a useful player? Glencross has dropped the gloves and may need to do that some more to get his game back on track. I don’t mind a tough guy but thye have to be able to play. Jackman used to do that but seems significantly on the decline. McG needs to be better at both based upon the year to date. How many fights have the Flames had so far? Whose fought? Did Jacks or McG prevent Gio’s injury by being the line up?

        • piscera.infada

          I don’t think gios injury was predatory. Who knows how many injuries mcgrattens presence has prevented but the coach of this NHL team considers him to be important. I sure haven’t noticed our goalies being run over all the time anymore. Bouma is a good banger but can’t fight and doesn’t put the fear into snyone

        • piscera.infada

          Flames have two fights through the year so far, one from Breen and one from Bouma. So the guys that are our supposive tough guys (Jackman/McG) are not even fighting. McG is currently 11th on the team in hits and Jackman is 16th, so it’s not like they are being ‘tough’ in that department either.

          Those two guys will never be counted on to be offensive forwards, so if we are demoting Backlund to fourth line duty and if Jackman/McG are not even being so called “tough guys” right now, lets bring up Knight and Bouma and give that fouth line a go. The line will still have size, Bouma wil still be willing to throw down as well, but at least you add a lot of speed and a real scoring threat.

  • beloch

    I expect Corban Knight may be called up soon. He seems to be the only guy down in Abbotsford who’s still scoring.

    Bouma – Backlund – Knight

    I don’t like Mickis on the fourth line, but if this unit gets more than ten minutes it’s not bad (might be Colborne instead of Backlund).

    Sven needs to start shooting. He has one goal and an 11% shooting percentage. If he keeps this up, he’ll finish the season with eight goals and an average percentage. He’s better than that.

    Oh, and good god are those new jerseys terrible.

    • beloch

      I agree about the 4th line thing. It’s not the worst thing in the world for backlund to be centering a lower line, however it’s who he’s playing with that’s the problem. I like the line you put together for a fourth, be a hell of a lot better than giving Backs a line with McG and Jackman.

      Give the Bouma – Backlund – Knight line a bunch more minutes as well and keeps the rest of the forward group rested as well and hopefully healthier because of it.

      Also we need to trade for a decent depth defender. I can’t remember if it was the first or second goal, but SoB was 100% at fault for it, made such a terrible play in the offensive zone that it ended up a goal in our zone. The flames could be at least half respectable with a decent 5/6 pairing, IMO that has been a real weak link in this team.

  • Willi P

    Post of the year on the TSN thread for the Oilers/Kings game tonight;


    3 hours ago

    Lars Eller needs to make a formal apology for insulting all junior teams.

  • piscera.infada

    One thing for sure is they have to leave the Cven/Sean/Juri line together & stick with them all year barring injury. There is a chemistry forming that gives them scoring chances & generates excitement for fans. Leave them alone, give 15+ minutes per games & our 2 youngest future core players are going to develop nicely. The other lines I could care less. We know what we have in Backlund, he drives possession & will be an important piece of this team. He isn’t bearing down enough & scoring & that is probably why we saw him fall down to the perceived 4th line. But he has played great in many circumstances so you cant press box him but this will tell him he has to focus more on the chances he is creating. trade a vet or 2 for a top 4 Dman.

    Anyone see how Buffalo raped the Islanders, Vanek for Moulson, 2014 1st & a 2015 2nd. Not bad for a pending UFA who is likely to bolt for the Wild come July. Why cant Feasty get a blatant overpayment?

    • Willi P

      Agreed. Considering Moulson is a pending UFA as well, Garth Snow got schooled. Should have been close to straight across (maybe the second rounder by the NYI). Moulson is a 30 goal guy too.

  • RedMan

    Wow a 5-2 win over a very god team and half of the post game comments are criticisms of the coach’s lineup. This team is playing better than anticipated and the Hartley is getting the most out of his lineup. This likely won’t be the case all year but at this time you won’t get a lot of Hartley bashing from me.

    I will say that Butler was pretty good. Maybe just maybe with increased opportunity he can rebound and play with poise, confidence and better decision making.

    I wish that Breen had shown better but at this time Smith is a more reliable choice. Thought that Baerchi was playing inspired. I love to see a kid respond this way! He could have pouted but instead he went out and played with passion. Loved coach using him on the PP as a reward. Also really starting to like Joe Colborne. Just goes to show that sometimes it takes a while before you can judge a player. Perhaps Breen just needs a few more games to catch up to the pace. (not too optimistic about this)

    Those casts make me worried for Gio and Stemp. Two of our best early on this year. Wish we had a real good kid down on the farm who we could slide in. I think that Billins or Cundari really make our D super small so they may not get the call.

    Hoping those third jerseys grow on me. Not a big fan at this time…

      • RedMan

        The coach’s job is to win. He needs to do everything that he can to achieve that goal. Anything less and he is failing to do his job. When he puts his lineup together he is putting together the group that he best thinks can win. I agree that he is open to criticism as are all of us.
        (this is also the reason that sites like this exist and people take time to express their viewpoints.. It’s fun) However, I am surprised that so much criticism would be directed his way after a 5-2 victory over Washington.

        I disagree that wins don’t get us anywhere. Winning is the point of playing the game and developing a winning culture is one of the most important things that this organization can do. I never want this team to go onto the ice feeling like the results/ effort don’t matter. That is the way that bad habits are formed and the way that losing becomes acceptable.

        I want to see the next wave but at the same time I am not so anxious to see them that I want them to be “over faced.” Balance between the right veterans and rookies is key so that our players can learn to win and develop proper habits.

        Perhaps it’s crazy and it may be but I never want to pay to go to a game and get the feeling that the organization doesn’t really care about the outcome because it won’t get us anywhere. I think that this was the way that Edmonton went about things and this is one of the key reasons why their team is having such a difficult time reestablishing winning ways.

        I do agree though that we must be mindful of the way that we develop our young players. So far I like the way that we are going about this. Nothing handed to them. (also different than Edmonton) Work hard and earn your ice time. Compete.

  • prendrefeu

    Re: those 3rd jerseys.

    As a designer (it’s what a do for a living), the whole jersey overall is o.k.. Not amazing, but not as terrible as is being slated. Could they have chosen a better typeset for the “calgary” across the front? Sure.
    Could they have left it at the name “calgary” and dropped the logo off the front? Definitely. The black shoulders are a nice change from the usual affair, but could have used a little tweaking.

    Overall, not terrible, but not a winner either. That said, it is a nice break from the traditional 3rd jersey, which is good to see.

    I think the shoulder patch, with a slight avant garde motif, could be a winner if that was used as the primary crest on the 3rd jersey.

    • everton fc

      The third jersey should always be the old vintage jersey. In fact, I say bring back to vintage look, and use the current jersey (which I’ve never liked) as the 3rd jersey.

      Just this fan’s opinion!

  • RedMan

    I don’t get all the comments about playing one enforcer on the 4th line for maybe 5 minutes a night. If the coach thinks he helps his teammates feel safe then is it really so bad that he plays? Is one player being on the ice for such a minimal amount of time going to make that big of difference? Its not like the coach plays them at key moments..

    • everton fc

      I think what matters the most is poll the players & get honest answers of whether they want a guy like Mcgrats playing 5 minutes a night on that 4th line. Most would probably say they would play an extra few minutes to have a guy like that riding shotgun on the bench. Every team has morons that take liberties, just ask Mr Shanahan.