March 2nd, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
Both Alberta teams were essentially done by Remembrance Day as they sat a combined 26 games under .500, the die was cast. The season was over.
My attention, already on draft position, rolled along with an assumption that the Oilers would get their act together, move out of the bottom five in the NHL, and well past the Flames.
The calender neared Christmas, and I was chuckling about how an Oiler move would have to wait until the new year.
I’m no longer smiling, the Oilers on home ice, missed another chance to close the gap with their Provincial rivals last night as the Flames out played, and out lasted the Oilers, winning the game in overtime on Sean Monahan’s second of the night.
The Oilers are 5 points back of Calgary, with the Flames having 2 games in hand, and only 20 games to play.
Have to give Bob Hartley a lot of credit last night for some mix ups on the lines. As a result the Flames had two groups with some pretty good jump, as the Backlund-Hudler combination (Galiardi had good jump too), and the new young line (Granlund-Monahan-Colborne) was great down low in the Oilers zone.
Amazing that Mark Giordano didn’t score as he had six shots and all kinds of chances.
Kris Russel was a force, three shots, four blocked shots and 25 minutes of hockey.
Really like what Monahan has shown in the games up to the Olympics and again last night. I really didn’t think he’d be a shooter, saw him as more of a puck distribution guy, but he really has a knack for timing open ice, as we saw on both goals. Now that he handles the puck with less terror he’s really becoming a key player for the Flames nightly.
Granlund had 15 minutes of ice time and actual linemates last night, making a big difference in showing his NHL game. He didn’t look out of place. CBC guys were saying Flames players were high on his skill set, calling him a player.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
The Flames win all but assures the Oilers won’t catch them this season. If the Flames play the same pace to finish up their schedule, the Oilers will need to go 12-8. Unreal.
The Flames moved 2 points clear of the Panthers and a point behind the Islanders as well. The Hurricanes seem to be far enough up the board that the Flames should finally draft in the top five for the first time in team history though.
Was nice to hear Jim Hughson say something like “I think we’ve learned this season that the cupboard in Calgary isn’t bare” last night after all the Healy “will beating skill” slop last night. We all get that the Oilers have three first round draft picks in a row struggling through a season, but in a game where Calgary’s first round pick in the same time frame scores twice can’t we open our minds to the fact that they may have some emerging skill as well? The Flames blueline puck rushing brigade shredded the Oilers all night based on skill, not hard work as Healy suggested on After Hours. Tiring. … Great to see Smid pick up an assist and have a great goal saving block in the game. I think the player really enjoys sticking it to his ex teammates. Still don’t get why they traded him. … Kevin Westgarth’s punch out in the first period has to be a concussion, and could perhaps mean his season. Took quite a punch. … Reto Berra seems to have gotten a handle on losing his net as he was square to shots and big all night. still ended up behind his net on one chance and scrambling but that was more due to contact. …
We keep hearing McGrattan and Glencross are getting close, plus Stempniak’s wife had their big day and he should be returning to the lineup. Westgarth is likely out at least a week if not more from getting crushed last night. Likely means Granlund returns to the AHL at least until some bodies get moved at the deadline.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Flames travel to Minnesota to take on the suddenly hot Wild on Monday night.