March 19th, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
The battle of the bottom. The clash of the trash.
An easy prediction right? Mistaken leaden hockey chock full of scoring chances, goals and an all around epic night at the Dome. The Sabres themselves tried to help by starting a goaltender for his first NHL appearance … open the flood gates!
Another example of how unpredictable the NHL can be as the Flames and Sabres plodded their way through 30 minutes of careful hockey before the Flames finally pulled away with a 3-1 victory in teh third period.
Only the most stoic Butler haters are clinging to the “guy can’t play” mantra these days, as the serviceable 5th defenseman continues to add to his best season in Calgary. 20 plus minutes of ice time, +2 and two assists say all you need to say about this puck blocking defenseman. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they brought this guy back.
Cammalleri continues to feel it, getting to open holes and putting pucks on net. His game winner was a goal scorer’s goal with great hand eye tipping the puck in from the point in the third period. Only wish this all happened before the deadline so the Flames could have been rewarded for his clip with a first round pick.
I’ll say it again … Brodie, Giordano and Russell. The heart of the Flames resurgence. All three had another game of creating offence by skating the puck out of trouble, creating from the blueline and establishing the Flame’s transition game. Not many NHL teams have three of these guys, albeit two are limited in size.
Another goal for Colborne, and from driving the net, something that I think will be his bread and butter at this level, especially if he packs some pounds on in the next two summers. Seems to work really well with Sean Monahan, which isn’t a bad wagon to hook a horse to.
Monahan had another quiet but effective night. He’s a guy you have to see live to truly appreciate the positioning and smarts in his game. Notice he continues to wade into scrums now, something we didn’t see in his first 45 games. Hope he gets to 20 soon so we can talk about 25. Might be weighing on him a bit.
Tyler Wotherspoon is the real deal, and by that I mean a solid, mobile 3-5 guy that is NHL bound. Such a confident, mistake free game he plays, something not usual for his age and pro experience. I would guess they are penciling him in for next year.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
The Flames beat the Sabres as expected, but have the Oilers keep pace with them. The Oilers in beating the Predators are helping to reel another team into the bottom six while moving close to passing the Islanders themselves. The Isles got thumped by Minnesota, while the Panthers won helping to put more sting in the Vanek trade.
I think Corban Knight’s recall and game action will pay dividends both for the player and the organization by next season. He looked completely out of place early in his call up, but got his feet under him and found his composure by the end. Moving back to AHL size and speed will be good for him to take his game to another level. … The Flames have gone 12-7-0 for a .631 win percentage since January 20th. Only 19 games sure, but when a set of games approaches 25% of a schedule it becomes somewhat significant. I for one didn’t expect a rebuild season to have a quarter where the team plays like playoff contenders, especially after the deadline. The .631 clip over a season would have them 8th overall in NHL standings. … .
The Flames welcomed Matt Stajan back to the fold, and to make room dispatched Corban Knight to the Heat.
Where Do They Go From Here?
The Flames host the Predators on Friday night, then travel to Edmonton to play the Oilers on Saturday night, two winnable games and a chance to move within striking distance of the Predators and Hurricanes.