The Flames were hoping for an early Christmas present tonight as they took on the Ducks of Anaheim. The Flames were searching for a win on home ice, something that has eluded them of late. So at the beginnings of a five game home stand, fans were looking for a treat of their own.
Enter Brett Sutter, the son of Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter, who was looking for a Christmas present of his own, a reason to stay with Dad for a little longer than the Christmas holidays. Well, you can be pretty certain that there was one proud Papa at the ‘Dome tonight as the Flames paced the Ducks to a 4-3 victory!
On The Line
With the Canucks being handily walloped by the San Jose Sharks, the Flames had a chance to actually take a lead at top spot in the Northwest division. Add to that, these games at home should be used to generate continued steam as the Flames move into 2009.
The First period was without goals, but not without excitement. Both teams took turns taking the play to the other side, but the Ducks only really managed to maintain pressure with their top line on the ice, while Calgary was continuing to roll four solid lines, something Flames fans haven’t seen in years.
The second period was more eventful with some decent scoring chances from the Flames including a sharper looking powerplay, though it was held off the scoresheet in the second. It wasn’t until midway through the period when a resurgent Craig Conroy floated a pass over to David Moss who made no mistake ensuring that J.S Giguere knows who OWNS, sniping a shot over the shoulder of the bulky tender for a one goal lead. Anaheim would get back on even terms near the end of the frame as Brendan Morrison would snap into the slot and fire a puck just past the outstretched glove of Miikka Kiprusoff.
It was early in the third when Ryan Getzlaf was left all alone coming into the slot to receive a pass from the despicable Corey Perry, and slid home his fourteenth of the season. But not fourteen seconds later the best line of the night for the Flames, feeding off the energy of Brett Sutter’s first NHL game, the grinding line crashed the crease of J.S Giguere and Conroy fed a pass behind the goaltender to a waiting Sutter for the kid’s first NHL goal. The Flames would once again take the lead midway through the third as Mark Giordano wiffed on a shot in the slot that still managed to have enough zip on it to beat Giguere, and Calgary would add to that lead shortly after as Jarome Iginla was stoned at the side of the net but the puck squeaked through the pads of Giguere where Mike Cammalleri was ready and waiting to slam it home. Anaheim would draw within one late in the period, but Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames would hold the fort to take their nineteenth victory of the season.
1. Craig Conroy: The man has truly been 24 CC’s of heart this season. He was flying with the Mossman and the Kid Sutter on his wings making two beautiful passes for goals.
2. Brendan Morrison: Morrison has always had a knack for beating up on the Flames and tonight was no different with two goals.
3. Brett Sutter: Somewhere wandering the anonymous internet there is a person cursing fat Mexican’s after the performance of Darryl Sutter’s son tonight. Nepotism.. HA! This kid earned some more playing time.
Early on in the game with a faceoff deep in Calgary’s zone, Craig Conroy won the draw with a little too much enthusiasm, and nearly had another booboo as Kiprusoff had to be sharp to stop the puck, then the unfortunate rebound that almost landed on the stick of Chris Kunitz.
BORK! SMASH! early in the first, Rene Bourque absolutely tattooed a Duck player just minutes into the game. That set the tone for the rest of the night. Honourable mention to the same Bork! for his drive to the net that blasted Giguere.
All in all, both teams were pretty good tonight, so picking a goat out is tough. Therefore I will glare menacingly at the refs tonight, who were terrible at missing the blatant slashing of sticks out of Flames players hands by cheater Ducks players.
I like Robyn Regehr. The Tunnel of Death was in effect tonight, and Regehr was a machine when it came to shutting down the top line of the Ducks. Regehr could almost singlehandedly shut down an entire top line if he felt like it. That’s what it looked like tonight. All bow down to the master of the TOD.
Odds and Ends
I am SERIOUSLY impressed with the likes of Craig Conroy. His play this season, especially since the TSN turning point of the season in San Jose, has been a thing of beauty. He’s skating, he’s passing, he’s winning faceoff’s, he’s making me remember the man-crush I used to have on him. Add to that he’s been playing with some great secondary scoring players in David Moss, Curtis Glencross, and Rene Bourque at various times. Perhaps Conroy is the glue that keeps these guys on such a torrid pace?
Now to mention the play of Brett Sutter. There were some who questioned whether or not the kid should have been the right call up from Quad Cities, but if you were not seriously impressed by the play of this kid, you weren’t watching this game. He did everything right including taking a rough night from Chris Pronger, and netted his first NHL goal.
Speaking of Pronger and the Ducks, I really hate this team. I think I counted 6 or 7 times where the Ducks would intentionally knock a stick out of a Flames players hands, and not a single one was called. Frustrating as a Flames fan. If you were sitting anywhere near 103, you might have heard my screaming about this. That and hoping that Regehr would stick Corey Perry in the face. He deserves it.
The Flames are off until Saturday night when they take on the struggling Ottawa Senators on Hockey Night in Canada. Game time is 8PM MT.
Lines (To Start):
Cammalleri – Lombardi – Iginla
Bourque – Langkow – Bertuzzi
Sutter – Conroy – Moss
Roy – Boyd – Nystrom
Phaneuf – Pardy
Regehr – Aucoin
Sarich – Giordano