On Tuesday night, the Flames fell victim to the wrath of Sean Avery…sort of. With the villainous Avery making a B-line for TSN cameras to deliver another address from the land of ridiculous he succeeded in turning his own team against him, and the Stars used him as a rallying point to trap the Flames to a 3-1 win.
So the Flames lick their collective wounds and head out on the road for four. First up, the injury ridden St. Louis Blues. The Flames haven’t had much time on the road to date, so this upcoming trip is an important test for the team, and a chance to get in some team bonding, but more importantly, the Flames face a stretch of teams after St. Louis who are going to be tough to beat, so the two points tonight puts Calgary in a great situation of having to garner only two or three more points to really make the trip a success.
On The Line
As mentioned, the Blues are the lightest of the competition faced on this four games in six nights swing out East. So a win tonight sets the Flames up for three cracks at making the trip .500.
The first period was odd. Calgary appeared to have a rather large edge in play, possession, and scoring opportunities, but when David Backes scored his fifth of the season with six minutes remaining in the first, and a Berglund power play goal shortly before the end of the frame, the Flames were suddenly being outplayed, out shot 9-2, and hope appeared to be fading fast for a Flames victory.
The second period didn’t start much better, outside of a weak opportunity near the end of a Flames power play that Mike Cammalleri should have had (he missed the one knee one timer), but a few minutes after a jaw shattering hit on Brandon Prust by Cam Janssen, and the Flames with a delayed penalty opportunity, Dion Phaneuf fired a perfect two on one shot to the far side pad of Chris Mason perfectly setting up Rene BORK! for the Flames first goal. That goal gave the Flames some life before the Blues would get the two goal lead back thanks to a Brad Boyes power play goal with four minutes remaining in the second.
Jarome Iginla got the third period started off with a bang, taking a feed from Todd Bertuzzi behind the net to put the visitors within one. And after David Backes rather viciously boarded Mark Giordano on an icing call he had no chance to clear, Dion Phaneuf would add his third assist of the night as David Moss continued his scoring prowess. Calgary would continue to press for the winning goal throught the remainder of the period, outshooting the Blues 11-4, but it would take overtime to solve things.
Calgary and St. Louis traded chances in overtime, though the Flames had the only shots of the frame, but it was Cammalleri firing a laser beam over Chris Mason’s shoulder that secured the win. Dion Phaneuf picked up his fourth point of the night clearing the puck up to Jarome Iginla who set up Cammalleri for the win.
1. Dion Phaneuf: Phaneuf rebounded incredibly after one of his worst games of the season against Dallas putting up four assists, drawing penalties, and starting up his usual shooting gallery from the point.
2. Patrik Berglund: A goal and an assist on the night, the young Swede is certainly a dangerous threat on every shift.
3. David Moss: Set up Cammalleri for a picture perfect scoring opportunity in the first that was botched, scored the game tying goal on a deft tip in and is continuing his strong play of late.
There were actually a lot of scoring chances that required huge saves, but there was a sequence in the second period that stuck in my mind as being just incredible. Miikka Kiprusoff held the fort on the first of two successive power plays and made a number of heart stopping saves including one where the puck was lolligagging in the crease and Kiprusoff reached out behind him to cover it.
I have to go with the hit on Brandon Prust by Cam Janssen. It was high, it was cheap, and it fractured Prust’s jaw. Normally I wouldn’t want to pick on this type of hit, but I’m a big Prust fan, so I’m angry right now and wanted to highlight it. Cheap SOB!
It’s honestly hard to pick out a goat, but I think that David Backes deciding to hit Mark Giordano after the icing call, when Backes had no chance to take it away was an immensely stupid penalty. The ensuing power play allowed the Flames to tie the game up and the Flames never really looked back.
In a word Dion Phaneuf. He responded from his sorry performance on Tuesday night with a lights out game. His four assists neared his performance in Tampa Bay on last years six game road win streak when he collected five assists.
Odds and Ends
Not the most impressive start to the game for the Flames, but as the game wore on the team got better and better. So looking ahead, the road for the Flames is a steep hill, but if they can build on the last two periods, then there is a chance that this trip could end up as a success.
Probably the most satisfying thing about the Flames play of late is the performance of the supporting staff. With defencemen like Adam Pardy stepping up to show he really deserves to be in the NHL right now, David Moss playing like he’s got a fire inside of himself, Curtis Glencross pacing the third line, Rene Bourque putting anything he can get straight into the net..into the net (don’t ask him to be fancy), Matthew Lombardi showing he deserves to be on the top line with Mike Cammalleri and Jarome Iginla, Adrian Aucoin playing like he’s 5 years younger when paired with Robyn “I’ll Crush Your Existence” Regehr, it’s a really good time to be a Flames fan. Even if Iginla isn’t performing quite the way you’d expect.
All these signs are what you need for a good road trip. So let’s get cooking!
The Flames line up against the New York Rangers on Sunday at 5:30 PM. Catch the action on Sportsnet HD or listen on the Fan 960.
Lines (To Start):
Cammalleri – Lombardi – Iginla
Bertuzzi – Langkow – Moss
Glencross – Conroy – Bork!
Prust – Primeau – Nystrom
Phaneuf – Giordano
Regehr – Aucoin
Sarich – Pardy