February 7th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: Ryan Laurie
This Flames team has a different vibe about it than in previous years. They still seem to have that stigma where 1 mistake seems to end up in the back of their net, yet they no longer seem to get phased by it. There’s no running around in their zone, no turnover after turnover. This year’s version of the Calgary Flames seems to believe in making their own luck. Go out and work hard and play your best and good things will happen.
Another solid effort tonight, from the boys in Red, gives the Flames 2 more points, a 2 game winning streak, and a jump in the standings. It wasn’t the prettiest game ever played, but the Flames went into the opponents building a found a way to leave with 2 points. Irving picked up his first win in his first game of the season. Could we be seeing consistency from this Flames squad?
On The Line
As always, 2 points are on the line. A win here would give Calgary its first winning streak of the season, and mean a loss for Tim Erixon. As you can tell, a lot of very important things were on the line tonight in Columbus.
Both teams started the period moving their feet and driving the net. The Flames were finishing their checks and blocking shots. The Blue Jackets were clogging the lanes with some strong stick work. There was a lot of back and forth through the neutral zone, as both teams seemed to struggle getting the puck to settle down. Both teams exchanged chances, until Roman Cervenka opened the scoring 4 minutes in tipping in a monster shot from Dennis Wideman. However, only 25 seconds later Columbus draws even when Matt Calvert, at about the faceoff dot, does a nice little toe drag and uses Giordano as a screen and rifles a shot top corner. The Flames faithful collectively groan as Tim Erixon registers his first assist of the season on the Calvert goal. Then with Alex Tanguay in the box for interference, Irving seems to lose his net a little as Letestu blasts a one timer into the back of the net from just above the faceoff circle, on a cross ice feed from Derick Brassard.
The second period picked up where the first period left off; some chippy play and poor passing leads to more play in the neutral zone. Hartley starts to change his lines up and slowly the Flames start to take over possession and they start getting more shots on net. Glencross gets the first big chance of the period during a one on one, with his back towards the goal then he fires a back hander off the post. Not long after, a rebound from a Brodie point shot lands on the stick of Mikael Backlund, who makes no mistake and deposits it into the back of the net and ties the game at 2. Calgary finishes out the period strong; out-shooting Columbus 13-8.
The Flames kept the pressure on and were rewarded for their hard work. Lee Stempniak pops the water bottle with a big time slap shot from the faceoff circle. 2 minutes later, Bouwmeester loses the puck at the Columbus blueline, and with only their second shot of the period Prospal makes good on a drop pass from Letestu to tie the game up at 3. It’s a bit more chippy play from both teams, and a good interference penalty by Stempniak that probably saved a goal, both teams seem to wait out the end of regulation.
Overtime started with Columbus getting a couple good chances and putting on some good offensive pressure. The Flames were able to fend off the Blue Jackets attack and march the puck back down the ice. On a 3 on 2 with Brodie going to the net, Iginla feeds a cross ice pass to Tanguay who fired the game winning from, you guessed it, the faceoff circle. And everyone in Flames land breathed a sigh of relief because Tanguay shot it instead of passing back to Iginla.
1. Alex Tanguay: Game winning goal and 24 minutes of ice-time. Tanguay was dangerous all night.
2. Mark Letestu: He had a goal and an assist and he dominated the face-off circle all night.
3. T.J. Brodie: His best game as a Calgary Flame. He played 20 minutes of solid hockey and racked up 2 assists. He was active in joining the rush all night.
With Curtis Glencross in a one on one battle going towards the net, and the Flames down by 1 early in the second period, Glencross turns his back to the goal and fires a backhander only to be denied by none other than the post. There was some solid goaltending tonight and some good saves but the big save has to go to the post.
Towards the end of the first period, with Calgary’s forwards trying to gain the Columbus zone, Nikita Nikitin skates across and delivers a clean open ice hit on Matt Stajan. Stajan got back up and stayed in the game.
There is no need to pick a goat in this game. The effort was there and the good guys got 2 points. If anything, I would say the post is the goat. At the very least, the post is a jerk. Also Blake Comeau could be better.
The top line of Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla was dangerous all night and could have had a couple of goals. With the way the top line was playing you just knew they were going to turn on the red light eventually.
Odds and Ends
It has been nice seeing the Flames keep up a consistent effort for the first 8 games this season. Generally speaking, this team is usually up and down like a roller coaster and usually down with the backup in net…It shows that the team has confidence in Irving. He looked a little shaky to start the game, but I thought started to find his game after the second goal. He tracked the puck well all night…Wideman and Brodie with another good game. It’s hard to not like that pairing…A quiet night from Chris Butler must mean he had a pretty good game…Cervenka has some incredible hand eye co-ordination. His tip in goal may have been lucky but batting the puck out of the air from waist high was pretty nifty…Backlund didn’t play a shift after taking an incidental knee on knee and landing awkwardly. Hopefully, it isn’t anything serious. It would be a shame if he had another injury set back what has been nothing but solid progression from the Flames youngster…The next game against the Canucks should be very telling about whether this team has finally figured out their consistency issues.
The Flames finish off their 3 game road trip with an important divisional matchup against the Canucks Saturday night, 8 PM, on CBC.
Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla
Cervenka – Stajan – Hudler
Comeau – Backlund – Stempniak
Jackman – Jones – Begin
Giordano – Bouwmeester
Brodie – Wideman
Butler – Smith