They said it couldn’t be done. Our own Calgary area news writers predicted all out defeat–some even a sweep. But lo and behold the Flames came out with fire and burned the Sharks in the first game of the best of seven series. Calgary, the 7th seed in this year’s playoffs, lined up against a red hot Sharks 2nd seed team that have only lost twice in the last fifteen games (make that 3 times in the last sixteen). All signs pointed to blow out, but only one wildcard, which Flames team would show up for game one.
If you believe in averages then Calgary should get blown out next game victimized from their own mistakes and slow starts, tonight they were neither. Lead by their captain, Calgary battened down the hatches and played gritty hard hitting game to steal game one.
Calgary started early taking the home crowd out of the game. Some have said the key to a Flames victory will be the extent third lines contribute to scoring. Well now the key will be to continue the scoring because the Flames got two goals from Stephane Yelle. The usual suspect Kiprusoff did his part in net making 37 saves. Dion Phaneuf also scored a power-play goal for the Flames.
Iginla set up Yelle’s second for the eventual game winner off a nice rush beating Brian Campbell driving to the net. Although Iginla was in on two goals the first line was largely silent. It was the line shuffling along with some hard hitting forechecking lead by vets Yelle and Nolan that created routine chances for the visitors.
Both teams played hard, hit hard, Calgary harder, but largely kept their after whistle brew-ha-has to a minimum. Expect San Jose to come out harder tomorrow and crash the net with more authority a la Anaheim. Some said in the post game that Calgary got away with a win being outplayed badly especially in the third. We don’t see it in the same way, Calgary created chances and weren’t terribly outshot. It was a 3-1 game until a minute left remember, gives you a bit of a perspective.
No time to rest though. Game 2 is Thursday night–which is tomorrow FYI.