Teams looking for playoff spots scan their schedule and add up the games they know they’re going to win, the games they might win and the ones where they’ll be in tough. When teams in 26th spot overall come up you just know there’s an assumption of assured victory.
Someone should tell the Flames that as once again they refuse to follow the door mat script but come up short an a spirited 3-2 loss in the desert.
Cammalleri had another solid post didn’t get traded deadline game picking up two assists including a great pass to Backlund for they tying score in the second period. Really seems to have found chemistry with Joe Colborne and Sean Monahan.
Mark Giordano led the way he leads again with nine shots on goal in this one and an assist. The guy is all heart all the time, a different team with him leading the way.
Joni Ortio hasn’t had many ugly goals against in his young tenure in Calgary, but tonight his mental stamina was tested when he blew one up in the first period. Loved his response in settling down and playing a great game the rest of the way. Couldn’t be faulted on either of the other two goals.
Mikael Backlund was great again tonight, scoring once, 53% in the faceoff, and creating every time he was on the ice. Really hope he finds a way to push his total to 20 by the time the last 14 games tick down.
The rest of the rookie class was pretty quiet as guys like Knight, Hanowski, and Wotherspoon were stapled to the bench for large parts of the game.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Not as busy a night as Friday for teams they are watching, but the Islanders lost giving the Flames a better shot at fourth overall. If you’re concerned with the Flames winning their way out of the top five, the Predators and Hurricanes both lost again tonight.
Remember last season when the Predators and Hurricanes both tanked right past Calgary? Deja Vu?
Calgary still sitting in the 5th draft position despite the Islanders win because they have two games in hand.
The Flames looked visibly tired when the puck was dropped tonight, something we haven’t seen a lot this season. Perhaps the game in game out effort was bound to hit a wall at some point, or the emotion of the comeback in Dallas left their tank empty going in tonight. … Loved the way Joni Ortio responded to his gaff tonight. He could have done the Lener from Ottawa and huffed and puffed, but instead he settled down and made three solid saves before the end of the first. Reminds me of another Finnish goaltender. … I understand when the Flames are in Edmonton or Vancouver that HNIC might pick an Oiler or a Canuck to be the After Hours guest, I’m getting used to it. But in Phoenix they go with two Coyotes? Really? Such a great opportunity to see some personality from Flames players in an outside the box format. Shame. … Amazing what confidence ca do to a hockey player, honestly getting used to Backlund doing his wrist dangles game in and game out now. Creates every time he gets the puck, never just gets rid of it. Huge change to his game this year. … Love the look of surprise in playoff contending teams when the Flames come in and come at them shift after shift. You can almost see in their shoulders the resignation that their night off is no longer a night off. Makes it fun to watch hockey in a rebuild. … Can’t argue with any of the first five Calgary penalties in the third period, but I sure wonder what was said by Halpern to Backlund to illicit a response like that from the mild mannered Swede. Had to be something else. The call that they could have looked the other way on was the Brodie unsportsmanlike with just over two minutes to go. After handing one team five straight you really needed thin skin? … Interesting comment from the HNIC crew about how Hartley told Byron to take a holiday during the Olympics, that he was an NHLer now and wasn’t going to be sent down. Good on the kid. Tonne of heart. …
No changes from the Dallas game, other than Ortio back in net instead of MacDonald.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Calgary comes home to play the Sabres on Tuesday night, one of the few games this season where one could suggest the should win. 14 games to go, seven on the road and seven at home.