I am not saying that the Flames are as lucky as the folks in the video above, but they really had no business getting two points from this game.
The Canucks maybe could have done better in the first, but apart from the Horak goal, they did not display much skill in this one until the shootout. But you know what? They got the two points, and they desperately needed them more than our guys. Maybe they will even make the playoffs. But unless Mikka Kiprusoff wins the Conn Smythe in the first round, they are not going that far. Sorry, thats just the truth, if this game is any indication. They got lucky on the first goal, took advantage of a mistake on the second, and then desperately dumped the puck out almost the entire third period. Whatever it takes, but this is not a loss for Canuck fans to kvetch about that much.
I'll try after the break though.
Please don't think that I am being arrogant Flames fans. If you watched the same game as me and decided that this was a huge win for your team that was because they were the better team, more power to you. The goaltender is part of the team, I always say, so maybe I should not judge so harshly. Good for you. I always hope as many Canadian teams get into the dance as possible.
- The Flames had 7 shots in the first, 5 in the second, and 6 in the third ( but for an Iginla breakaway and two half chances for Stajan late, that number would have been 3 ) period where they were in fall back to the net and be desperate mode. They did block 19 shots, with four guys ( Iginla, Butler, Bouma and Horak ) all getting 3 each. They did do a good job of defending in their own end, if you call being hemmed in for entire shifts where the change even occurred defending. It was the Mikka Kiprusoff show, with the help of a couple posts. The Canucks ended up with 31 shots, and had 12 to the 6 the Flames tallied in the third. So, they did pay the price for their "luck". But they were outplayed as far as I could see!
- The home team was in it early, and the game had a pretty good pace to start, with rushes at both ends and saves to be made ( more shots for the visitor than the home team early ). The game had some bite, as evidenced by Mike Duco continuing his audition for Dale Weise's spot by dropping the gloves with Bouma, where I am calling him the winner with the only real big connection of the whole tilt. A two on one off of a bouncing puck forced Luongo's first big save, to the "LUUUUUUs" of the growing number of Canuck fans that seem to find their way into the Saddledome these days.
- Poor Andrew Alberts. He did not have the very best game, but he was getting "the shaft" from the referees almost from the get go. After a fairly light, but I guess OK call on Alex Edler, the home team got a power play, from which they did not get too much, with only an easy Kalanos shot to trouble the goalie. But then the referees decided that Big Albert had boarded Horak, when it just did not look like the boarding calls made in the NHL these days. Whatever. The Canucks penalty kill was aggressive and disruptive the entire night, going 4 for 4. It killed these two penalties off well. It did give the Flames the appearance of some momentum, and they did have a few chances in their best period, the first.
- The goal just before that late penalty on Alberts, now THAT was lucky. Kevin Bieksa could have played Cammy a little tougher there, but the rebound off his first shot went in off the hand. It did provide a humorous episode though, as the lengthy video replay seemed to puzzle Craig Simpson, who immediately went into full rationalization mode to make sure that it was a good goal, completely ignoring the evidence the director was putting up on the screen multiple times that showed him directing the puck with his hand, seemingly anyhow. I guess there was not enough to overturn, but let me say this right now. If they ever team up Simpson and Mark Lee, I swear I am done with Hockey Night In Canada no matter who is on that night.
- The real fun started in the second though. After a nice play by Bouma caught Luongo looking the wrong way on his pass from behind, and a nice shot by Horak made it 2-0, the Canucks did what they did for most the game, went back on the attack. Andrew Alberts went to step up on that pressure at the blue line. He may have been guilty of charging. Maybe. ( no arm was up at that time at all ) The call was not made until Comeau was laying on the ice. Look, I don't want to see folks hurt, even players from Calgary, but the kid just fell into that hit. The officials did not make that call at the time correctly at all, but it wont be the last time a seeming "injury" drew a call. Lastly, Mikeal Backlund, don't go to the guy that threw the "hit" and bump them after the whistle if you do not want that to happen. Alberts may have gotten the drop on the young man, but he should have never put himself in a position to be injured in a fight. He is not a fighter. Jackman is. Perhaps you noticed that from the room Mr Backlund, when he challenged Alberts, who obliged him. Not knowing your role just cost your team that is battling for the playoffs a centre for who knows how long. But the game was ON after all the angst and emoting...
- Mr Tanguay, you had an OK game, I guess. But ignorance of whether an icing is occurring is no excuse. The linesman had his arm up, and I am sure someone yelled what they always do. It set loose the best looking power play of the night for either team, and the Canucks somehow did not put one in the net, despite the first unit throwing it around and getting shooting chances all over the place. Of the 8 shots taken on it, only 3 hit the net, and two of them were in close backhands from Kesler and Henrik that really should have found the back of the net. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, right?
- The pressure that was taking over this game and forcing the Flames to play desperate defense was finally able to cash in late in the second, with Cody Hodgson showing a good nose for the net by finding a puck and backhanding it home to make the score 2-1. It also saw Mike Duco get rewarded for sticking his nose in with an assist. Cody Franchise only saw 10:21 TOI this night , on 16 shifts, and 1:39 of that was on the power play. But he had 16 shifts, and was only 2 for 7 on faceoffs. We all know how "situational" AV is. The tying goal from Booth came the same way, with pressure. That shot for a lefty is a tough one too.
- The Canuck power play could have won this game for them. That they did not was because of, after a first power play that looked awesome, the second one was not. The third one was very short, and only because Scott Hannan is a diver. Everyone saw that but the officials. Simpson said it might have been an even up call after the Bouwmeester penalty on Kevin Bieksa ( on an amazing rush that he could have scored on, but for Kipper ), but that was more of his "good old Alberta boy" bullshit. Simpson is a pitchman in both Edmonton and Calgary for local ads, and lives there. I get it. Played for the Oilers. But the guy sure sounds like a cheerleader sometimes. It was a dive Craig. Period, pure and simple. Daniel Sedin even called him on it. Hell, you even admitted as much yourself. Don't try to take a real penalty off the board.( J'Bo had both arms around his guy twice) and excuse a dive as an 'even up that is the right thing". Its never the right thing to do that. Hockey fans just want the calls made on the ice, not like that. Perhaps on the next HNIC broadcast you can cheerlead for us, huh? Or, even better, just call the game.
- The shootout, well, sometimes you win the coin flip, sometimes you don't ( not like the NFL, where the NFC has won 15 straight coin flips in the Sup Bowl. WYF? Perhaps one of our "math masters" here can calculate the odds on that.). Joke-inen made a great move and beat Luongo five hole. That is his "move", much like Burrows forehand fake, go to backhand. Its almost all he does though. I thought a guy that studies the game as much as Lui would have picked up on it. Maybe its like Burr's move. When you do it right, it does not matter. Burrows scored by not going to his "move", and Lui made a decent save on Tanguay trying to challenge his inner "Forsberg". I don't really blame Lui for getting beat on the multitude of dekes that Iggy threw at him for the shootout winner. But really Mason Raymond. If you have the spinarama in your arsenal, use it more. It has not been stopped yet. You did not even go out wide to make the goalie think you were going to use it! But, its a skills competition to decide a game arbitrarily. Meh.
- See, here's a stat that I will point to that makes me think the Flames got lucky. They gave the puck away 8-2 in the first, and ended up being 15-7 in that stat at the end of the game. The hits and faceoffs ( 13-12 Van and 30-29 Van respectively ) were fairly even, but the Canucks just could not do enough with those turnovers to make them pay.
- The Sedins generated a helluva lot of chances and pressure, but I thought they could have been more dominant against a team they usually own. Even after they saw Alex Burrows join their line after about half the game, they seemed to get even more chances, but not have the finish. Perhaps I am being to critical though. They generated a lot tonight, especially late, and the Flames deserve the credit for breaking up that pressure by preventing the last pass from getting there cleanly. They sure set up Edler for a bunch of shots. He led the team with 6 of his 8 on net. Hank and Danny had 2 each on net, but they also missed 2 and 1 respectively. The team as a whole missed 19 shots today. I know some of those ( for instance, Hamhuis missed four ) are on purpose to be a pass off the boards. But that is 10 more than the Flames missed, and was another example of the dominance of the visitors tonight.
- Lastly, Mike Cammalleri had a goal, and 5 shots on goal. He was probably the best he has been since the trade. But he just seems like a square peg in a round hole. A lot of those shots were one and done. Perhaps I am just not seeing it, but if that is the guy that is going to make the difference, then I don't know. I hope you make the playoffs because you are Canadian Calgary. But thats it. Honestly, this team will make the playoffs if Jarome Iginla wills them over the finish line. Yes, I know that the Flames have won 2 straight against the Canucks. Yey shootouts. I also know that this team is not as good as the one I cheer for. Sorry Flames fans. Like the calling of this a "lucky" win, I just didn't see enough from your team to make me think any more of them than I did before this one.