Game Takes: Flames 5 Oilers 2

January 20th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

In the 1980s we were spoiled, so very spoiled and often with the spoiled we didn’t even realize it. Two powerhouse teams being built in a province, and a new playoff format that pretty much ensured they’d have to go through each other each and every year.

A few playoff series are played, a level of hatred achieved, and with that every regular season game came with a level of importance that wasn’t quite a playoff game, but so close it almost felt the same.

Dark year after dark year for both franchises have seen little by way of excitement, hatred or importance in their pre-Spring contests, but tonight was a step in the right direction. The Oilers have pulled into a battle with other struggling clubs for a wildcard spot, while the Flames sit atop the West and need points to keep the challengers at bay.

The disparity in standings was clear on the ice in this one, as the penthouse Flames were clearly better than the trying to escape the outhouse Oilers in a 5-2 contest in Edmonton on Saturday night.

A late second period goal for Edmonton followed by an early one in the third gave the game a new wrinkle but the Flames took it away with back to back third period goals to coast to the win.

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Game Takes: Flames 6 Wings 4

January 19th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Good teams win on home ice.

They’re solid away from home as well, but when the lights come up in their own barn they take the two points and move on before the opponent sees it coming. The Flames were a terrible home club last year going 17-20-4 and essentially kissing their playoff aspirations goodbye while wearing the red jerseys with the black Flaming “C”.

Tonight, the Flames completed a five game homestand with a 4-0-1 record with yet another third period comeback and a 6-4 victory over the Red Wings to run their Dome record to 16-4-5 on the season. Calgary’s 37 points on home ice is only one point back of last year’s total with 16 more games to come.

Home cooking tastes good!
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Game Takes: Sabres 4 Flames 3 (OT)

January 16th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

If you play with fire, you sometimes get burned.

A great play on words for a franchise named after fire, but true nonetheless. The Flames have been toying with teams of late and they finally paid a penalty; dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night.

The Flames had stretches of game where they dominated, but also stretches where they appeared to fall asleep.

A five game win streak comes to an end, but a point streak is continued and hopefully a lesson learned.

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Game Takes: Flames 7 Coyotes 1

January 14th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

I’m sure Mark Giordano understands the thinking.

Going to an all star game is certainly an honour but with the game hosted in San Jose and the NHL wanting to sell tickets it makes some degree of sense to pencil both Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson into the lineup, essentially making it impossible to do much more on the blueline.

Rest is great, especially at 35, but that doesn’t mean the player can’t have a bit of a grin as he scores one day after the snub in a Friday night game, and then puts up two goals and an assist in a 7-1 drubbing of the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday night.

It’s a team game, and he’d tell you his stats are team driven, but at his age, after the suggestions that he was carried by Dougie Hamilton, being a point per game snub has to have a bit of delicious fun to it for the player, humanitarian or not.

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Stat Hack: Mike Smith the Backup

January 13th, 2019 | Posted in Commentary | By: D'Arcy McGrath

NHL backup goaltenders are some of the most beloved players on hockey teams when it comes to hockey fans in hockey markets.

The starter plays often, he never leaves the ice, fans tend to get tired of them and find themselves rooting for the unheralded backup.

In Calgary this season, starter Mike Smith has become this season’s biggest lightning rod of discontent due to his poor play, weak goals, and big contract.

A change of expectations for Mike Smith to a backup goaltender would likely alleviate some of the anger, but where does he line up when it comes to backups across the league? Is the move from #1 to #2 enough of an expectation change to save his image?

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