Perhaps we should have known it was over when Daniel Carcillo scored.
I think a lot of people, even armed with the knowledge that the Flames were ahead of them in the standings, expected the Blackhawks to walk into Calgary tonight and leave with 2 points. Which, as we know, they did. However, the assumption would have been that they would have skated out onto the Saddledome ice, thoroughly hand Calgary their young, swaddled, asses and move on without breaking a sweat.
Not so. The Flames hung around until the end in this one, and by no means was this cake for the 2013 Cup Champions. If not for a bit of a puck handling gaffe by Jonas Hiller midway through the third, perhaps I could be writing about how your Calgary Flames lost in overtime tonight.
But here we are. The Flames lose 4-3 in regulation, but all in all pass a pretty decent test. Join us for the ride, won’t you?
Let’s just say things looked, uh, bleak early on in this game. The Flames were getting tuned by the superior looking Hawks, getting hemmed in their own zone for shifts at a time, making Deryk Engelland and Ladi Smid look like Deryk Engelland and Ladi Smid. Needless to say it did not take Chicago long to capitalize, as Adam Clendening, who was playing in his first NHL game and is not Detroit sub-par centerman Luke Glendening, clapped one past a screened Hiller four minutes into the game to give Chicago a 1-0 lead on the power play.
It did not look pleasant. Before we could all finish our collective gulps, the unthinkable happened. Daniel Carcillo, who is a Garbage Pail Kid given a chance to succeed and has almost done so, snapped a wrister past a surprised Hiller, who was probably expecting him to fall or try to punch the puck or something, not actually shoot it. That gave Chicago a 2-0 lead, and knowing how good Chicago is and that they had somehow just let Gorilla Salad score a goal, you’d understand if the Flames had just decided to pack it in right there and be off to Cowboys for some drinks and parlour games for the remainder of the night.
Well, partner, let me tell you, they did no such thing, as Chicago did what any Championship caliber team is wont to do: they took a lot of penalties.
With Marcus Kruger off for imitating a hockey player, Paul Byron did what Paul Byron does best:
fit into small places score goals. Little Pauly made it 2-1 at the 13:44 mark, and all of a sudden Calgary was right back into it.
Especially with Super Nintendo Hjalmarsson taking another penalty on the goal, for tripping, I guess, and well whatever it was, it worked for Calgary, as Dennis Wideman, who once did this on a shootout move, continued to do what Dennis Wideman has done all season:
earn money score goals.
The period ended in a very entertaining 2-2 draw, with Chicago outshooting Calgary 12-11 after 20 (although they had them down 8-0 at one point, and it was depressing for a while)
The second period was equally bananas, as once again the teams traded goals, with Chicago regaining the lead halfway through the frame, when everyone wearing red on the ice was so entranced by Patrick Kane that while chasing him around, they forgot Chicago had other players on their team. Like Brent Seabrook, who walked into the slot unimpeded, and took a naturally perfect pass from Kane, converting it high glove on Hiller, and it was the worst.
But, as they have all season, the Flames got it right back, as Curtis Glencross, who was truly awful on this night, like oh my God, learn to accept a pass, man, Jesus Christ, made an uncharacteristically great play and fed Boring Monahan with an artistic pass that left He With The Perfect Hair with a wide open net in which he did not miss.
That was it for, again, an exciting second period, and Calgary did not even get outplayed too badly in the stanza, even outshooting the Hawks by a 9-6 margin.
Going into the third, both teams played so goddamn cautious that you wanted to eat a whole pizza in disgust, which, if you did, I commend you, but next time you should share.
The Hawks took the lead for good when on a routine dump in, Jonas Hiller decided to pass the puck to a waiting Dennis Wideman along the boards, but instead passed it to nobody, who left it there for a waiting Patrick Kane. Clearly THE guy you want to give the puck up to in close. Of course he scored, because he’s Patrick Kane, he’s made a living off of putting points up on this forlorn team.
Give the Flames credit, they hung around until the end, making Corey Crawford do things he doesn’t usually do very well, which is stop pucks, but full marks to him in the third. He stopped them when they counted most.
Regardless, a 4-3 Hawks win, but what was a thrilling game whistle to whistle, and one that, in some sense, Calgary did not look out of place in.
Why The Flames Lost
They let Daniel Carcillo, who is a sentient gargoyle with a thirst for sewer sludge, score a goal, which unlocked the ancient curse of the GorilusSalaos, forever damning those who unlatch the door.
This could be bad going forward for the Flames, and hockey in general.
The Red Warrior
This was a tough one, because no one was particularly astounding, and not many players were outright terrible, so it was hard to see anyone separate themselves from the pack. While Wideman and Byron kept scoring, and Johnny was flying all night, I’m going to give the nod to Josh Jooris on this one, because in almost 15 minutes of relatively important ice tonight, I don’t think I saw him make a mistake. He was really solid tonight, as he has been all year.
You probably have a different nominee. I don’t care. /makes vulgar motions at you
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
In the End
I’m just going to say it, I like Michael Ferland, and although it’s probably going to happen, I don’t want to see him get sent down when the sick bay starts clearing out. Hey, his contributions have to be better than “I played 8 minutes against my former team” Brandon Bollig, who, okay, I’ll admit, had one great shift hemming the Hawks in their own zone, but that’s more due to the play of Max Reinhart and Sven Baertschi (who I also do not want to see sent down). Ferland though, I don’t know, I think there’s something there, we have not seen the last of that guy.
As for the game, well, hey man, eventually the levee breaks. The Flames have been good this year, but when you ride the high wave of PDO and EV SH%, you know at some point it’s going to come back at you. I’m not saying THIS is the game where the Flames finally start to regress, but there’s a lot of tough competition coming up, and how they handle themselves as the Ducks, Sharks, Penguins and Blackhawks again line up against the Flaming C will give us a really good indication of where this team really stands. It’ll be interesting to watch, and as I’ve said all year, if the downfall is coming, it’s going to be one hell of a fun ride down.
Anyway, the Dome gets rocking again on Saturday as Mike Cammalleri comes back to town with his misfit New Jersey Devils (with Jaromir Jagr, who is so old he actually went to high school with the devil), and that, somehow, is no easy jaunt. Should be another fun one, especially if the Devils decide to start Keith Kincaid in goal, which I hope they do, because I’m convinced that’s not a real person.
Goodnight! Don’t be a menace in South Central.