It’s an odd thing to be predictable yet inconsistent.
The Flames for the better part of four years have been painfully inconsistent in their week to week effort; a fact that has landed them in those nether regions of standings both too good to be written off and too bad to make the playoffs.
Yet the team is also very predictable. Said predictability continued again tonight where the Flames; written off for dead after a monstrous California road trip, added the Predators to the Wings as home ice victims; this time by a 6-3 final score to move back to .500 and arguably move back into the playoff picture in the west.
Here we go again …
On The Line
The Flames road some amazing Miikka Kiprusoff goaltending to a 5-2 win on home ice on Wednesday night, so now what? Do they push back to .500 and create that “can they have a second half surge and make the playoffs” discussion once again? Or will they take that step back to two games under .500 before a three game road trip and re-engineer the “rebuild now!” juggernaut?
The Flames were moving the puck well in the first period, a period that featured only 12 shots on goal between the two teams. They chased Preds starter Pekka Rinne when he surrendered goals to Mark Giordano and Blake Comeau on just two shots. Chris Mason came in and stopped the next four.
The Flames make it 3-0 in the second on a great pass from Mike Cammalleri to Jiri Hudler. Great goal. The Preds get back into it with a goal midway through the stanza but the Flames keep the two goal lead into the third period; their best period at home of late.
Things continue on as Glencross chest bumps a puck into the net to make it 4-1, and then continues to answer Predator goals himself to score a third period hat trick and give the Flames the victory.
1. Curtis Glencross: Mess this guy’s wrist up more often! Great performance late in the Wings game, he follows it up with a third period hat trick against the Predators.
2. Jiri Hudler: Such great hands. Great one touch pass to Blake Comeau, and then an even better demonstration by tipping a great Cammalleri pass in for a goal of his own.
3. Matt Stajan: So steady all season; adds three more assists to his total tonight.
Pekka Rinne. Two goals on two shots to start a game is a tough way to begin any hockey team. But if you are the most important player on your roster you have to be more ready to start the game. A screen and a great play, but great goalies have to make great saves.
Blake Comeau. Nice story to see Mr. Comeau scoring three times in a little over a week. So snake bit for the whole season, the hard working fourth liner has made the most of getting extra minutes.
Odds and Ends
With the empty netter included the Flames have scored 11 home ice goals on just 44 shots for a miraculous 25% shooting percentage. Nice story. Great entertainment for Saddledome patrons, but clearly unsustainable going forward. An MIT professor (think it was MIT) came out with a statistical analysis of the Leafs last week saying they couldn’t hold their pace because it was mathematically unlikely to continue to score at such a high shooting percentage while getting out shot every game. The Leafs have lost four in a row. So what am I saying? The Flames found a blip in the last two games. It won’t last. … Amazing chemistry on that third (first?) line between Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak and Curtis Glencross. How often have we said that about lines that have Stempniak patrolling the wing though? Stempniak’s been great all season. What a signing. … Speaking of Glencross. The chuckwagon guy scores a hat trick on “western” night and gets rained on by foam giveaway cowboy hats? Who scripts this stuff? Lets book free toblerone night for Mikael Backlund! … Not a great night for Kiprusoff again though it didn’t come to bare with the Flames filling the other net. He had a .850 save percentage in this one. … The wast is tight, and they continue to make it interesting, but they now have to find a way to be 5 games over .500 in just 22 games now. That’s the target. It seemed less daunting with 35 games left, but 22? That requires a record in the range of 13-8-1, and have we seen these guys do that often? They’d better get going.
Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Hudler – Backlund – Comeau
Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla
Jackman – Begin – McGrattan
Brodie – Bouwmeester
Giordano – Wideman
Butler – Smith