The Oilers are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since making it to the cup finals in the 2005-2006 season, the Flames are looking for revenge by playing spoiler to the Oilers. The Flames roster is littered with kids from the Abbostford Heat due to injuries, and the trades of a couple of guys whose names escape me, and the kids seem to be bringing some life to the Flames as they audition for roster spots for next season.
The Flames youngsters would prove to be too much for the Oilers to handle and the Flames would put what is likely the final nail in the coffin that is the Oilers playoff hopes.
The Game Skinny
This was actually a very exciting game from start to finish. The game was back and forth and both teams seemed to leave it all on the ice. It was reminiscent of a game between two rivals, which we haven’t seen from these 2 teams in quite some time.
The game started out quick with a goal from Backlund before the game was even a minute old, and the Oilers responded almost as fast. The Flames would start to pull away in the second with goals from Baertschi and Wideman, and Reinhart would top it off in the third by scoring his first career NHL goal.
The Flames got some help today via the upset. The Colorado upset Vancouver 4-3 and Carolina upset Boston 4-2. Florida continued to stumble with a 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay came all the way back from a 5-2 deficit to tie it in the third, only to lose in Overtime 6-5 to Washington. The Flames are still tied for 27/28 with Carolina, 2 points up on Colorado and now 4 points up on Florida.
Young Player Barometer
Sven Baertschi – Finally broke out. He was setting up his linemates all night and was rewarded with a goal and an assist. Could easily have had more. Probably his best game this year.
Max Reinhart – Love the drive. Reinhart just doesn’t quit. Went to all the dirty area’s and got a couple chances and was rewarded with his first career NHL goal.
Roman Horak – A quiet and steady night from #51. Made some good plays, but didn’t get many chances. More importantly he was solid defensively and didn’t make many mistakes.
Mikael Backlund – Oozing confidence right now. Was energetic and strong on the puck. Scored a nice goal, could have had 1 or 2 more.
TJ Brodie – Had another strong night. Had a couple mistakes early but made up for it with a couple nice passes that led to goals.
Akim Aliu – Started out really slow but as the game wore on and got more physical, so did Aliu. He’s got more skill than I thought he had, but needs to work on consistently being a physical presence. He can’t rely on the other team to get him going.
Ben Street – Drove the net a couple times. Other than that didn’t notice him. For a guy like Street that’s probably not a bad thing.
As much as I like Reinhart’s game I can’t help but think he needs to add some strength to be more effective at the NHL level. Nothing a summer in the weight room won’t fix…Hartley deserves a lot of credit. It would have been very easy for this team to pack it in and wait out the rest of the season but Hartley has them playing some pretty good hockey despite the fact the Flames roster is littered with kids from the Heat…Stempniak seems to play his best hockey when he is playing with youngsters. I was all for shipping him out while his value was high but his play is starting to make me second guess that…MacDonald had a bit of a tough night with rebounds but his team did a very good job of clearing the front of the net and getting the puck out…The Flames aggressive forecheck forced the Oilers to take a bunch of bad penalties tonight…Any Flames vs. Oilers game that ends with the Oilers fans booing their own team is a fantastic game in my books.