Well first things first, I’m beginning to like the style of hockey of the new Maple Leafs. Albeit the referee’s in tonights game were horriable (yes the last penalty on Tucker was a penalty, just as all the other bogus hooks were,) Mats Sundin stole the show by scoring his natural hatrick short-handed with a blast from the point. The Leafs won another high scoring affair 5-4.
The Flames surprisingly scored 4 goals in the contest, coming from behind twice. Mark Giordano got his first NHL goal in the 2nd and then his second goal later in the period. However, it was the rookie and poor defensive play by Phaneuf that caused the Flames to loose this one.
Defence is usually the calling card of the Calgary Flames, lately it’s been the weakest link. Twice, once on the game winning goal, Flames defencemen stuck their sticks out redirecting the puck beyond Kiprusoff. If you know anything about hockey then you know long shots can be handeled by the league Vezina winner. However, both re-directed the puck and caused goals each time.
The strongest defensive unit continues to be Hamrlik and Zyuzin, with Regher and Phanuef still playing far below their potential, unable to dominate the opposition’s top line. The good news? The Flames are slowly but surely putting together full 60 minute effort.
The first period was hard to watch as the old lazy Flames hit the ice. Iginla had his off and on night, dominating on some shifts and lazily playing along the boards on others. Tanguay is slowly coming into form but it still taking costly penalties and making errant passes. Despite this, the second line with himself, Lombardi, and Kobasew were by far the best line in the night largely because they actually skated hard.
Lots of room for the Flames to improve, it’s slowly coming, but for some reason it’s the defence that are dragging their feet. The road trip is probably going better than many expected so let’s just hope for continued improvement throughout the trip. Next up is Montreal Tuesday.