Game Takes: Flames 4 Coyotes 2

January 1st, 2017 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

New Year’s Eve used to be a huge hockey tradition in Calgary.

The Flames, a powerhouse towards the end of the 1980s and into the 1990s had a blistering rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens and with that they’d visit Calgary each and every last day of the year. The games were made classic because the two teams had met each other twice in the Stanley Cup Finals, these games didn’t hurt at all towards that story.

So when the schedule came out in September and I saw Arizona on New Year’s Eve I was somewhat disapointed. Arizona? On New Year’s Eve? Seriously? Sure they used to be the Winnipeg Jets, but we have those clowns back now so that doesn’t matter. But then I pondered, maybe this was the best tonic after all. Play a brutal team on a night when there is too much going on; have the ability to keep one eye on the score while you’re busy doing other things that go hand in hand on the last night of year. Have the Flames run up the score and just relax and barely pay attention …

As it turned out the script was pretty much followed, though not without a hitch or two as the Flames stormed out to a 4-0 first period lead while not really carrying the play and then hung on for a 4-2 win on Saturday night.

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Game Takes: Ducks 3 Flames 1

December 29th, 2016 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The Ducks are an experienced team. They know what it takes to win, they’ve been their to see both success and failure in the past decade of NHL seasons.

Their last time in Calgary was a rather embarrassing defeat where backup goaltender Johnathan Bernier had to stand in and face the onslaught with starter John Gibson unable to help out with digestion issues on the bench. Tonight the visiting Ducks were very much up for the challenge as the 8-3 loss in Calgary was the perfect motivation to play a perfect, patient, road game to the tune of a 3-1 victory on Saddledome ice.

The Flames played well, but were victim of the evening of the hockey gods after getting many a bounce in Denver on Tuesday night; things have a way of evening out, often quite quickly.

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Game Takes: Flames 4 Canucks 1

December 23rd, 2016 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

In an 82 game schedule there are plenty of games that don’t mean a whole lot, but still plenty that do but for different reasons.

The game before a break however, always has a special meaning for both players and fans as a loss before a break gives both the chance to stew on it for the four long days, generally feeling bad about themselves. But if you win that game, the family is more fun, the turkey more tasty, the presents more perfect. So really, it’s pretty selfish for a hockey team to give away those two points in such a game.

Yet that’s exactly what the Canucks appeared to do in getting massively outplayed in a decisive 4-1 Flames win on Friday night, sending the city and the hockey team into a break with a big grin on their collective faces.

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Game Takes: Sharks 4 Flames 1

December 20th, 2016 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

On any road trip you look ahead and add up the points. You circle the games where you should find two points, and then you put a big question mark in games where the opponent is tough, or the building with a history of misery for the team. In the end you hope for an even split, in order to get home and make hay on home ice.

In this brief two games trip, it wasn’t hard to assign categories, with the basement dwelling Arizona Coyotes followed by the Western Conference Champion San Jose Sharks, although the Flames have had a boat load of success in the Shark Tank over the past couple of years.

In the end the set went as expected with a win last night in Arizona but the team came unglued and got pounded behind some shaky goaltending and some spotty defensive work, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Sharks on Tuesday night.

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Game Takes: Flames 4 Coyotes 2

December 19th, 2016 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

The best part of being a goaltender is the fact that you get to play the entire game. The worst part? When you play exactly zero minutes and sit on the bench all night.

Brian Elliott has been that zero guy for almost three weeks, a story that his hard to watch for a good pro that has had his share of hard knocks through a career that has had many ups and downs. You want the guy to do well. The only problem from a fan’s standpoint is the story for the other guy is almost a bigger sob story, so Chad Johnson’s ascension to NHL starter has feel good written all over it.

Tonight the page turned however, as Brian Elliott was back in the cage and with mixed results; he picked up the win, a 3-2 contest over the Arizona Coyotes, but was beaten twice on goals that he essentially scored on himself making the night somewhat bitter sweet.

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