Well if that was a swan song, it certainly wasn’t bad for an old bird!
Media speculation had the Flames starting Calgary record book poster boy Miikka Kiprusoff for his final date on home ice, the expectation that he would retire at the end of the season.
The quiet Fin is just that quiet, so the media could be making a lot out of nothing, or they could have it right. Either way Kiprusoff was brilliant in stealing a win for the Flames, and putting the Red Wings 21 year run of playoff appearances in some jeopardy.
The Game Skinny
A solid start for the Flames as they out chance and out play the Wings in the first period before the Wings woke up and pretty much dominated the second half of the game. Some fortuitous bounces for Steve Begin and all world goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff was the difference.
The Flames really aren’t doing themselves any favours. The win tonight gives them 38 points on the season, and a three way tie with Tampa and Nashville, leaving their former futility mates Colorado and Florida in the dust. They’ve essentially moved out of the top five pick position and into 6th.
Oh and the Oilers, the team that Lowe built, are now only 1 point ahead but the Oilers have a game in hand. Will it matter?
Young Player Barometer
Not quite the same night for the Flames youth, as most of them were very unnoticeable.
Ben Hanowski looked way over his head for the most part, as NHL pace has settled in and he’s a step behind. He’s a big body, and seems to have a clue about positioning, but really struggled handling the puck tonight.
Max Reinhart drew in with two pluggers tonight, so he didn’t get a whole lot done. Finished some checks and had his normal jam but didn’t see the puck all that much.
Sven Baertschi was the biggest standout of the group, getting an assist on a great spinning backhand pass to Cory Sarich, and doing some productive things with the puck all night. He now has points in three straight games and suddenly five points on the season.
Mikael Backlund was pretty good again, though not as standout as he has been. Picked up an assist on the second Begin goal and was solid on the forecheck.
I thought the Flames and Oilers would be close this season, but I certainly didn’t see it happening this way. I thought the old Flames would do their normal trick by finishing in the 9th or 10th spot with the young kids from Edmonton finishing in the same vicinity. Sure didn’t see the Flames dumping assets, loading up on number one picks, then begin winning all the while the dynasty up north implodes and dumps their GM in a six game skid. Unreal. … Guessing that the Flames weren’t keeping Kiprusoff out of the net because of aches and pains or that MacDonald was getting the starts on merit. I think they knew the man could do what he did tonight; steal a game and put their draft pick in trouble. Will be interesting to see what they do going forward. … Matt Stajan returned to the lineup and was utterly invisible on a line with Baertschi and Stempniak. Glencross lined up with Backlund and Hudler, while Horak centered Hanowski and Cammalleri.