And so it begins. The Calgary Flames are faced with their last nine games against divisional opponents. They started tonight with the first of four at home and then will leave to hit the road for the last 5. The entire season is dependent on these games. Coming off an exceptionally questionable and weak effort on their recent four game road trip, Calgary was looking for a boost on home turf. With Flames fans buzzing, the Flames did the usual, they started strong (the usual because every other game they start strong.) 10 seconds into the game Vandermeer got the Flames going with a spirited win in a fight against Laperierre.

Somewhat alarmingly the powerplay struck twice at home and all in the first period. Calgary spent all of their offence in the first, and although they had a couple of chances throughout, didn’t challenge the net beyond the first. However, on the flip side, the Flames kept the Avs to under 20 shots against. Blocked shots and perimeter shots kept the Avs chances to a few. The only goal came off a clear Ryan Smyth (who else) goalie interference play that took Kiprusoff out of the play.

Calgary maintained forechecking pressure throughout and although did not provide a complete 60 minute effort, displayed signs of turning the recent tide of mediocrity. Of course, consistency is the key, so if they can wrestle a win from Minnesota Saturday they’ll be in better shape.

Notes: Huselius played 6 minutes. Mark Smith factored back in the lineup. Next up, Minnesota and the goon line of Godard, Simon, Fedoruk.