October 4th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
Hold the phone!
Hands up, and be honest, how many of you had three of four points to start the season when the schedule was released in early August?
Not this writer, nope not at all. I’ve been asked wherever I go what to expect from the Flames this year. My answer?
They’ll be hard working – nailed that so far.
They’ll come in waves on the forecheck – yep pretty much.
The goaltending will be better than you think – iffy but maybe.
And they’ll lose every game 3-1 – very wrong in a small sample size.
The Flames lit the lamp four times in Columbus tonight, winning 4-3 and coming home on a very positive season starting note.
On The Line
Discussion on the site had circled around reputation and pride, the media guys are talking about identity, and I think both are excellent directions for the “on the line” section of a game take.
Bottom line the Flames could go 8-1-1 and nobody would be talking about a playoff spot, it would be “nice start but …” and we all know it.
The Flames need to show game one wasn’t a fluke. That they are a team that you can’t take lightly and only if you out work them with greater skill will you win.
The Flames jumped on the Jackets early, scoring the first goal and adding a punctuation mark to last night’s game in Washington. The Period continued to see saw back and forth with the Flames leading twice on goals by Sean Monahan, and TJ Galiardi only to surrender the lead twice.
The second had the Flames on their heels to start and Joey MacDonald holding them in until they refound their game and pushed back in the second half. The Flames continued to push the puck deep and work their cycle to finish the period on a high; scoreless.
The third period was another strong one for the Flames, somewhat surprising given the second game in back to back nights and the third and all. Midway through the period the Flames retake the lead when Jiri Hudler caught the Jackets napping and wired a slapper to the top corner. A minute later the Flames had their first two goal lead when Mark Giordano, David Jones and finally Curtis Glencross combined for an empty net goal that left the Ohio residents quiet. Easy win right? Not so fast as the Jackets answer with less than five minutes to go to make for a frightful finish.
1.TJ Galiardi: Talk about redemption! An ill timed penalty the night before likely cost the Flames a point, but tonight he was full marks with a goal and an assist to pace the Flames.
2. Mariam Gaborik: When this guy is one he’s almost like no other. Tonight he was on with a goal and an assist..
3. Jiri Hudler: Solid game for the veteran, game winning goal, and plus two … seems to have some good chemistry with Mikael Backlund.
Jack Johnson was very good tonight, he scored once, added an assist but was also stoned by a quick Joey MacDonald blocker in the third period with the game tied.
Easy … O’Brien on the official. Ouch talk about a pancake. O’Brien riding a Jacket into the boards only to find the deer in headlights official with no where to go.
Was looking like O’Brien for his first period penalty that gave momentum back to the Jackets, but given the win there really isn’t a need to give a goat to anyone on this hard working team..
Mikael Backlund. Loved his game for the full 200 feet tonight, he’s turning into a player. I don’t know if he’s ever going to be a 60 point second line center, but his combination of hands, and brains will make him a solid top nine player in this league for a decade.
Odds and Ends
As the opening states, a three points in two games start is amazing enough, but getting point one without Mike Cammalleri and points two and three without Cammalleri and Stajan is even more so. … Are the Flames more fit than other teams to start the season? If so that’s quite a feather in the players and Hartley’s cap, but it also suggests a glass slipper and midnight when other team’s catch up. … Monahan watch. He looked better to me tonight. Sure he scored, but he was creating on other occasions too. Last night he looked young, tonight he looked like a guy that will be better after twenty games. … Like Baertschi’s jump again tonight. He will be fine. … Have to admit Ben Street doesn’t hurt you. … Don’t have much of a book on Colborne yet, he doesn’t seem to do a whole lot. … The discussion I’ve been avoiding? The rebuild path if the Flames are better than we expect. Yeah it’s two games in but my mind always spins so I’m laying it out. It’s easy to see the path if the team is terrible and finishes 30th; we’ve seen it up North. You draft high and you wait. But what if that doesn’t happen. What if the Flames are a .500 team that is tough to play against all season? Do you add free agents and spend to the cap next season to supplant the team you’ve built risking the veteran presence brought in wrecking the team’s mojo? Or do you stay the course and build by developing and mid round first round draft picks? Tough call. And yes it’s only two games. … Joey MacDonald didn’t hurt himself at all tonight in the argument for who should carry the mail in net. So tempted to start Reto Berra on Sunday night in Calgary.
It’s home opener time, as the Flames return to Calgary to host their arch rivals the Vancouver Canucks. Game time Sunday 6pm on Sportsnet.
Glencross – Street – Stempniak
Baertchi – Monahan – Jones
Bouma – Colborne – McGrattan
Galliardi – Backlund – Hudler
Giordano – Brodie
Russell – Wideman
Butler – O’Brien