When Detroit comes to Calgary, the game always has great potential. While the Wings are as dominant a road team as you’ll find, the Flames always seem to play up to their level when they come calling on dome ice. Tonight was no different, as the Flames went toe-to-toe, and dare I say outplayed the Wings for 2 and a half periods. The difference at the end of the day was the goaltending, a recurring theme for the Flames this season.
On The Line
On a night when the rest of Canada is watching Wendel Clark and Patrick Roy retirement ceremonies, the Flames slipped under the radar for this HNIC battle. But after 2 solid wins, and very impressive defensive efforts against the Avalanche earlier in the week, the Flames were looking to keep rolling with their new style of play. Having yet to beat a playoff calibre team in the West, they need this win as much as any to show they can roll with the big boys, and the boys don’t come much bigger than Detroit.
Detroit got out of the gates quickly, with a backhand tip-in by Kirk Maltby just 4:26 into the game. Setting the “Oh, here we go…” tone for the game. But surprisingly, the Flames pushed right back and traded chances all period. The score remained 1-0 going to intermission, but it didn’t feel as though Calgary was outplayed.
The Flames were rolling along just fine in the 2nd period, until Brett Lebda scored on a harmless looking wrist shot from just within the blueline. Definitely one Kiprusoff would want back. Calgary answered immediately, as just 36 seconds later Curtis Glencross came around from behind the net, and wristed the puck under Conklin’s arm to steal the momentum right back.
They carried that momentum into the 3rd, and Mark Giordano scored his 1st of the year at 6:52, on the powerplay to tie the game at 2-2. Just after that, Daymond Langkow was sprung in all alone but fired the bouncing puck into Conklin’s chest. Too bad, because that was Calgary’s best chance to win the game. Right after that, Jiri Hudler put Detroit up for good as he scored on a slapshot at 11:21. Dion Phaneuf almost tied the game by claiming his own slapshot rebound, but was denied by the pad of Conklin. Pavel Datsyuk and Marion Hossa would add late goals making the final a lop-sided 5-2, but don’t kid yourselves, this was a 1 goal game through and through.
- Curtis Glencross: His best game as a Flame. 1 goal and 1 assist but was dangerous all game.
- Ty Conklin: Conklin was the better goalie in this game, and it wasn’t even close. Made 2 huge saves in the 3rd period on Langkow and Phaneuf when the game was still within reach for Calgary.
- Jiri Hudler: 2 points, +3, in just 11:26 of icetime.
There were lots. Kiprusoff on Lidstrom in the 2nd period, Conklin on the Langkow breakaway in the 3rd, but the biggest save had to be Ty Conklin stopping the Dion Phaneuf blast, and then kicking out his pad as Phaneuf gobbled up his own rebound. Would have been a great goal had it went in, and very likely would have changed the outcome of the game.
In the 1st period with the score 1-0, Curtis Glencross was hammered against the boards while attempting to bring the puck into Detroit territory. I didn’t catch who laid the hit, but it was the hardest of this relatively un-physical game.
Co-goat horns are awarded to Todd Bertuzzi and Miikka Kiprusoff. Bertuzzi for his lazy penalties and -3 rating. What happened to the guy that was so fired up at the start of the year? Kiprusoff shares the goat horns for his inability to make the big save. There were 2… possibly 3 soft goals that he should have stopped. The 2nd goal by Lebda definitely, the Hudler slapshot maybe, and the Datsyuk wrist shot absolutely should have been kept out of the net.
This usually isn’t a player on the losing team, but Mark Giordano has been this guy for a while now. He was a difference maker again by scoring a timely goal, and continues to impress me with his creativity with the puck. His game is starting to resemble Phaneuf’s, just a little more toned down version. That isnt necessarily a bad thing, either.
Odds ‘n Endds
Would have been nice to beat Detroit, but it just wasn’t in the cards tonight. The Flames have put together 3 pretty good games in a row, and if they keep up that effort they will surely be rewarded with some wins. The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines stole the show tonight for Calgary…the top trio of Iginla, Langkow, and Bertuzzi looked awful. Detroit out shot the Flames 37-33. Dion Phaneuf led the game with 7 shots on goal, and he also saw the most ice with 26 minutes and 32 seconds of game play. Ty Conklin outplayed Miikka Kiprusoff, which is just unacceptable if Calgary hopes to have a chance. It is time to give McElhinney some starts, and see what happens. Miikka is overworked, and it shows. Matthew Lombardi returned to action after sitting out 13 games with a shoulder injury, and didn’t look too bad in his 13 minutes of icetime.
The L.A. Kings come to town for a Tuesday night affair at the Saddledome. Its a 7:30 start and you can catch all the action on Sportset West (HD), and as always, the Fan 960.
Lines (To Start):
Bertuzzi – Langkow – Iginla
Cammalleri – Boyd – Bourque
Glencross – Conroy – Moss
Lombardi-Primeau – Nystrom
Phaneuf – Pardy
Sarich – Regehr
Giordano – Aucoin