It’s all about the process! Honestly!
The Flames were guilty of letting a tired visiting hockey team off the ropes on Thursday night, turning a 3-3 late tie with Denver into an embarrassing loss. Tonight however, they didn’t take the foot off the pedal nor the foot off the neck pushing and pushing the talented Hawks to the limit before going down in a shoot out for a final score of 3-2.
The Flames badly out played the superior Hawks and can take away a lot of positives, but the bottom line is the bottom line and the Flames continue to find a way to not win hockey games.
On The Line
The season is young, yes, but with only 48 games on the sked the Flames simply have to right the ship and pick up two points before a road trip regardless of the top opposition. Bob Hartley has altered the game play quite a bit, the team is playing an up tempo offensive game that is clearly entertaining, but will they dial in to the point to compete for a playoff spot?
A game like tonight is pretty crucial in determining just that.
The Blackhawks came out hard, put the Flames hard on their heels and could have found a goal or two in the game’s first five minutes. Didn’t happen. Instead the Flames found their legs, and turned things around, pushing back and probably carrying the play for the rest of the period. No score after 20.
The second was pretty much all Calgary. A Brodie gaff on a powerplay left Hossa on a breakaway, but Kiprusoff was able to foil the talented Hawk for his only real big chance against in the period. The rest of the stanza was spent in the Hawks zone with the Flames working the puck deep and attempting to crack a scoreless egg. No dice; scoreless through 40.
Calgary comes out blazing in the third again, but it’s the Hawks that find the range when a Kane offering hits Kiprusoff’s pads and squeaks through. Full credit to the Flames as they don’t lie down and instead push hard for the better part of the period before finally being rewarded when Denis Wideman purposely fired a powerplay puck into some skates and took the deflection goal; hist first as a Flame. From there more Calgary and they are rewarded when Hudler set up a streaking Jay Bouwmeester for the go ahead goal. First Hawks regular time loss? Think again, the Hawks get a great bounce and Hossa hits the twine with 2 seconds to play and the game goes to overtime.
Overtime is mostly Calgary again, both four on four and then with a powerplay with all kids of chances. The game however ends to a shoot out and well … we know how those ends.
1. Ray Emery: 47 shots and 45 saves, one of the best goaltending performances I’ve seen in recent years. Amazing.
2. Patrick Kane: Goal, and assist, and the shoot out winner as the talented winger made mince meat of the Flames (despite his giveaway that looked to lead to a Calgary game winner late)
3. Denis Wideman: Tied the game for Calgary, led the team with almost 29 minutes of ice time. Great signing by Feaster. Can’t believe the ridicule the team faced for it.
T.J. Brodie fell awkwardly trying to keep the puck in at the Hawk’s blueline resulting in a 120 foot breakaway on Kiprusoff by the dangerous Marian Hossa. Hossa lugged the puck up and fired a slapper in close, the puck getting muffled in Kiprusoff’s gear and wiggling through to a waiting Denis Wideman who helped cover it up.
Once again not much of a hit-fest but if you have to pick one it would be a bloodies Tim Jackman trying to run over Niklas Hjalmarsson in the Hawk zone, a “B” hit at most.
The goal post? I’m thinking so. The Flames hit three posts and a cross bar despite caving in Emery’s chest cavity with vulcanized rubber. The team played well so I’m giving the red iron the goat horns. Deflect in dammit!
Curtis Glencross. Wow did this guy have chances. And I don’t mean two or three, I mean five. He hit a post, hit 3 pads, a stick, a mask, a blocker, … everything but the net as the cowboy epitomized the plight of the team with blown opportunities that should have gone better.
Odds and Ends
Alex Tanguay netted his 500th careeer assist in the game, quite a milestone. You can lose sight of how long a player has played in a city, but check out his assist record and you’ll see just as many or more Calgary players as Avalanche. … What this team does with this game will define their season. The Hawks were tired there is little doubt about it. The Flames chased them out of their rink and there is little doubt about that. Dominant. It didn’t end the way it should have but if they understand why that game worked; good in their own zone, pushing the puck hard to the net whenever possible, then they could be a factor in the West playoff picture. It will be interesting. … Butler looked a lot better tonight with Cory Sarich out of the lineup, didn’t notice Smith which I’m guessing is a good thing. … The swap of Cammalleri for Glencross seemed to energize both lines and provide all kinds of chances. The Czech-Matt line wasn’t as creative but still effective as Calgary rolled three scoring lines and a pretty decent checking line anchored by new favourite Jones. … Kiprusoff couldn’t be faulted for either of the two goals that got by him despite the huge disparity in shots on goal between the two teams … Calgary’s powerplay continues to look dangerous, and why? Denis Wideman. Love this guy, he does it all from the blueline as a PP QB and doesn’t hurt you defensively. … Nice to see a streaking Jay Bouwemeester find the twine again. He seems to love the new system from Hartley. … Backlund with another handful of chances and comes up empty. Hope he gets his groove and starts cashing, he could be an important part of the puzzle later in the season.
Tuesday night the Flames start a road trip in Detroit, game time 5.30pm Sportsnet.
Glencross – Backlund – Stempniak
Cammalleri – Tanguay – Iginla
Cervenka – Stajan – Hudler
Comeau – Jones – Jackman
Giordano – Bouwmeester
Brodie – Wideman
Butler – Smith