Flames Feast on Tired Canucks

March 3rd, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath

The heck with hockey gods, hockey fans have to learn to brown nose Mother Nature!

The Flames, a struggling hockey club with a week full of national media attention were happy to host an exhausted Vancouver hockey club, and matched that advantage with solid play of their own to wear down their visitors and take the game over in the third, final score 4-2 Calgary.

On The Line

Usually this section is reserved for a conversation on the importance of the standings, and streaks and where they sit in a season. That still exists, the Flames are way down the standings, and badly in need of a string of victories. But also on the line is the need for some positive press, and a win to help put the Ryan O’Reilly fiasco behind them.

The Flow

A relatively even first period with the Canucks pushing early and finding a break away goal to grab the lead in what they hoped would be an easy evening. The Flames found their legs and had some chances, and finally tied the score on a Mike Cammalleri high shot that Luongo should have had.

The second was a better period for Calgary as they began to take the play to their tired visitors. Baertschi was stoned by Luongo on a powerplay only to see the Canucks forge ahead. The Flames tied it again when a strong forecheck lead to a sure shooting Stempniak goal and a tied up game after two.

The Flames were the better club in the third, and slowly began to reel in the Canucks on the shot clock, and in chances. They were finally rewarded when Jarome Iginla received a fortuitous bounce off of Garrison and the Flames win an entertaining hockey game.

Three Stars

1. Lee Stempniak: Another solid game for the contract after thought. Scores the Flames second goal in the second, and then makes a clever play to set up Cammalleri for the empty netter.

2. Jannik Hansen: Goal and an assist for the Canucks gets him the nod to do a lap.

3. Danny Taylor: Was amazingly calm for a start on home ice in a Canadian city. Good to see the journeyman pick up his first NHL win in such a great setting.

Big Save

Roberto Luongo simply stoned Sven Baertschi in the second period when the rookie winger picked up a rebound and whistled the puck towards what looked to be an empty net. Luongo got across quickly and stymied the Swiss winger.

Big Hit

He didn’t get many shifts, but he made them count. Returning pugilist Brian McGrattan pounded both Jason Garrison and Henrik Sedin with sold jolts, and then dropped the gloves later in the second period against Tom Sestito before saluting the crowd.

The Goat

Mother nature, … the Canucks had to battle the elements and the NHL schedule maker to take on the Flames tonight. Bad enough to have to wrap up a game at 11pm MST on a Saturday before having to play in Calgary 19 hours later, but to then have flight issues and a snow storm is a little much.

Mr. Clutch

I like Iginla for this one, scored the game winner and had active feet in the second half of the game. Looked liked he found good chemistry with his Czech linemates..

Odds and Ends

Hate to see T.J. Brodie move down the roster, and being replaced in the top four by Butler, but it does make sense. In two weeks the young defender went from +6 to -2 and was struggling. Hopefully it’s a quick adjustment. … I’m not a fan of the “fighter” taking up a spot on the roster, but if you’re going to have one Brian McGrattan is a fun option. He’s big. He’s mean, and he can still fight. Plus you have to love the theatrics leaving the ice. … I thought Baertschi had another strong game, following up his strong performance in Denver. He’s not finishing yet, but he’s keeping offense moving with good passing and positioning, and with some luck would have scored a couple in the last few games. Hopefully they stick with him, so he can improve through March and April and really set up the roster for the following season. … Taylor should get another look after that performance. He was really calm in a game that should have caused all kinds of jitters. Other than handling the puck, I was really relaxed watching him work in the Flames cage. … The Canucks clearly lost it in the third, they were dead tired. I heard Mike Rogers on the way home saying it’s no excuse and the Flames were the better team. While I admit the Flames played well, it is an excuse, and we see it every time the Flames play back to back games with travel. Add in delays and all their routines out the window and you know it was a factor..

Next Up

Another odd break for the Flames as they don’t play again until Wednesday night against the Sharks at the Saddledome. Game time 7.30pm on Sportsnet

    Lines:

    Glencross – Cammalleri – Baertschi
    Cervenka – Hudler – Iginla
    Tanguay – Stajan – Stempniak
    Comeau – Begin – McGrattan

    Giordano – Bouwmeester
    Butler – Wideman
    Brodie – Smith

    Taylor


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