Game Takes: Avalanche 3 Flames 2 (OT) Series Tied 1-1

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

There are many schools of thought when it comes to how best prepare a team for the playoffs when they have little to play for in the final two weeks of the season.

You can rest players, as the Flames chose to do, something that avoids injury, takes care of nagging bumps and bruises and recharges batteries for key players. Other teams fear the loss of mojo or flow, and keep their players pushing until the end, fearing they’d be unable to relight that pilot light when the real games come for real.

Arguments can be made both ways for sure, but the Flames have certainly lost a little bit of that magic that led them to winning the conference in the regular season. They limped in with sketchy anemic offensive efforts against Anaheim and Edmonton, before finding the net on the powerplay twice in game one to find a win.

Tonight the right team won, there is little argument on that point as the Flames seemed to be hanging on for dear life from the drop of the puck as the Avalanche scored late in the third to tie a game they should have won going away, before getting the cash in from the hockey Gods in overtime for a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.

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Game Takes: Flames 4 Avalanche 0

April 11th, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Not sure anyone would have predicted this in early December.

Mike Smith was broken. The wheels had come off, and fans in Calgary were wondering if he was good enough to finish the season as the team’s backup.

Then something happened. He got on a mid season roll and started chalking up wins. Some of the wins were iffy in that run support was the biggest factor, but the team starting winning with Smith as an option in net.

Tonight he starts game one of the playoffs, a contest that often goes sideways on home ice to open the playoffs in Calgary history, and is exactly what the team needed in leading his club to a 4-0 series opening win against the Colorado Avalanche.

Not sure I would have ever guessed I’d hear a “Smitty Smitty Smitty” chant at the Saddledome ever again. I did, and it sounded great.

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Game Takes: Ducks 3 Flames 1

April 3rd, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

It’s still the Honda Center.

Seven of 18 skaters out of the lineup, nothing to play for for the Calgary Flames, and a season long lost for the Anaheim Ducks. But it’s still the Honda Center.

Take it from a guy that was in attendance when the Ducks won their 25th straight regular season game on Pond ice against the Flames with chants of “You can’t win here!” echoing through the largely empty cavern of upper deck seats; you can never have a meaningless game in Anaheim.

Tonight more of the same sadly, but with some excuses, as the Flames minus seven of their top 10 skaters were simply too disjointed to get things done against a Duck’s team playing out the string. Final score 3-1 Anaheim with all the scoring coming in the first two periods.

A bit of a yawner.

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Game Takes: Flames 7 Kings 2

April 1st, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

It’s only the L.A. Kings.

One has to remember that as you rub your hands together in glee as the Calgary Flames missing 1/3 of their skater contingent disembowels an NHL team on back to back nights after clinching both the division and the conference with a big win over San Jose last night.

Any time you show up to play wind down games with a playoff position deterimined you hope to keep sharp, develop or find chemistry and avoid injury.

The Flames were happy to find two of the three as James Neal and Derek Ryan led the way offensively, but the big one, the injury was for nought as Sam Bennett left the game with what looked like a head injury on a heavy hit by Curtis MacDermid in a 7-2 Calgary victory.

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Game Takes: Flames 5 Sharks 3

March 31st, 2019 | Posted in Game Takes | By: D'Arcy McGrath

Conference Champions!

For the first time since 1989-90 the Calgary Flames are the best team in the Western Conference in terms of regular season points. If you’re the Nashville Predators that’s a banner for the rafters, but for every other NHL franchise the only pennant earned to date is for winning the division, something the Flames accomplished in the Shark Tank tonight with a convincing 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Coming into a season you hope for improvement, something that was somewhat expected given the collapse last season, but what was good enough? I know my personal goal for the team was a division playoff spot, and not just a wildcard finish. Home ice in the first round something I had my fingers crossed for, and yeah I had pondered winning the division. Never did I consider the conference and finishing the season potentially 2nd overall. Hats off to some serious off season changes by Brad Treliving and the ride that it’s brought.

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