March 3rd, 2014 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
Well that’s it.
The last time Calgary hockey fans are likely to see this edition of the Calgary Flames intact with the team’s next game coming six and a half hours after the 2014 NHL trade deadline.
If tonight was a swan song it was nice to see Mike Cammalleri potentially score his last goal as a Flame, in a 3-2 setback in the Twin Cities
The way this season has unfolded its becoming pretty clear to me that the Flames go when their puck rushing defenseman go. Kris Russell had a tough night (-2), but Mark Giordano and TJ Brodie were both a force in lugging the puck up the ice, shutting down the opposition in their own zone, and playing an integral part in the team’s offence.
Monahan was held pointless in this one, but as I pointed out after Saturday’s game in Edmonton, the 19 year old continues to build his physical presence on the ice, and has clearly added some confidence competing against older players down low. He forced turnovers twice in the game, and was involved in a couple of plays that saw Wild players sent sprawling. Really good sign.
Markus Granlund played his third game of his young career, and got better period by period. He was largely invisible in the first period, had chances but looked jittery in the second, and then calmed right down and distributed the puck really well in the third. With the game looking to be on ice, he set up captain Mark Giordano for a late strike that made the game interesting. Great vision and soft hands. Hope they make some moves to keep him with the big club.
Draft Implications / Scoreboard
Really a nothing game when it comes to the draft. The Flames lose, and the other three out of town games had little to do with where they’ll end up picking. The Sabres minus Miller lose to Dallas, but they’re not going to climb past the Flames with their firesale so I ignore them.
Was fun for the Granlund clan to see both brothers put up points in the game; one for the younger brother and two for the older. Story book really. Thought Hartley was on to something with the rookie line in Edmonton on Saturday night, would love to see that again. … Speaking of lines, really thought Hudler and Backlund were developing great chemistry, was disappointed to see them split up tonight (Hudler played with Monahan). … Reto Berra once again looks to have quieted his game down and isn’t roaming as bad as he was earlier in the season (not including his puck handling gaff in the second of course). … With David Jones getting hurt tonight (guessing shoulder), its likely we see Granlund suite up for a few more games before he gets dispatched even if Burke doesn’t send any veterans out.
Brian McGrattan returns in time to replace the fallen Kevin Westgarth. Meanwhile Lee Stempniak is inserted after his wife gave birth to twins just as Matt Stajan heads home to Calgary for his big day.
Where Do They Go From Here?
Back home to play the Senators on Wednesday night, in the aftermath of a trade deadline which can always make for an interesting game.