Survivor NHL: Out Hit – Out Chance – Out Score? 2 for 3!
Flames 2 – Predators 3
After coming off what was arguably the best effort seen from the Flames so far the season, this fan was just a little bit worried that the Flames would turn around and play yet another un-inspired game that let the Predators take the game.
March 7, 2006
Low and behold, the Flames actually came out firing. If it wasn’t for that dang scoring thing……Oh who needs scoring when you’ve got the wonder goalie Miikka Kiprusoff who stops everything in sight……Crap, what do you mean he can have an off night?
In what was a preview of things to come (read: playoffs) another full house at the Saddledome was treated to a pretty entertaining hockey game….unless you think about the final score.
On The Line
With all NW teams minus the Vancouver Canucks in action, holding off the mouth foaming hoards chomping at the bit of the Northwest division lead, putting more distance between the 10-7 placed teams, and finally telling Tomas Vokoun where he can stick his bad attitude….THAT was on the plate for the Calgary Flames tonight.
Minus the quick start of the Predators, the Flames actually managed to carry most of the play. Probably the most dominant line in terms of forcing the issue was the Flames fourth line. Brief spurts were mustered by the Predators, but were quickly put out by surging Flames power play and penalty kill units.
1 – David Legwand. Simply because he scored two goals for the Predators, including a go ahead goal shortly after The Dion Phaneuf tied things up at the start of the second period.
2 – Kristian Huselius. Another second star dolled out by kermitology for a less than spectacular performance, but he got the Flames within one and was actually a bit of a threat. Credit is given to him for making a Predator player bend over backwards on a deke late in the third period.
3 – 4th Line. I can’t pick. These guys were really good tonight, and they were ALMOST rewarded with a goal (Leopold apparently). On almost every shift, these guys put pressure on and kept it on.
Oh ho ho! There where a few to choose from! My favourite games are the ones where the other team’s players slightly resemble mashed up plums, and this was one of those nights! Number One: Rhett Warrener started things off with a HUGE open ice hit that left the defenceman with a “charley horse” for his trouble. Number Two: The Dion Phaneuf increased his chief export (read: pain) the next shift after the Warrener hit, glorious it was. Number Three: The evil Jordin Tootoo had his helmet neatly popped off as Mike Leclerc and Daymond Langkow (?) played “mash the short guy with no real talent.” And the winner is! THE DION PHANEUF! Mostly because it was nothing short of phantastic, but also because I fear my soul being consumed for not saying so.
This goes to the unlikely hero of the Flames’ goal post! With Martin Erat using Miikka Kiprusoff’s goalie equipment to make a comfy lazy-boy recliner, a shot from the point to a wide open net was nicely clanked to the corner…lucky thing too, as that would have made it 4-2, all but impossible for the anaemic Flames offence to overcome.
I hate to say it kids, but I have to hang the horns on Miikka Kiprusoff. Sure his team didn’t score enough, and you shouldn’t have to rely on spectacular goaltending to win you games, but above average goaltending would have won this one. And Kipper was average at best. I guess you get used to stellar performances and when a game like this comes along….it just doesn’t cut it.
N/A – In this game, there was no clutch player. Should have been Iginla if he’d managed to bury any of his 3,4,6,7,9,10, (?) chances. Oh the fury! I got my pulse up and everything!
Odds and Ends
Look at this game fr om an outside perspective if you can. This was a good game. It was playoff style hockey (and face it, the Flames will not go 16-0), and it was one of those games where you don’t get the bounces. It’s not a game that induces heartbreak; you watch it and the Flames clearly dominated. Vokoun wasn’t stellar, but he got the job done and the same cannot be said for his counterpart down the ice. But have no fear Flames fans, the fact that the Flames came to play in this one, and nearly won it, is a good sign. I’ll even venture that come playoff time, and I have no doubts in my mind that this team is a playoff team, that you’ll see more and more of this type of game, and trust me. The results won’t be the same every time.
Next up – The might Dallas Stars on Thursday March 9, 2006. Puck drops at 7:00 PM MST and you can catch all the forechecking action on The Fan 960 and Rogers Sportsnet West.
Leclerc – Langkow – Iginla
Huselius – Lombardi – Kobasew
Nilson - Yelle – Amonte
Simon - Weimer – Donovan
Goal-Less Wonder: Leopold – Bionic Regehr
The Dion Phaneuf – Marchment
Andrew “The Franchise” Ference – Warrener (for 30 seconds)