The Calgary Flames played three games this week of which they lost one in Chicago and won two on home ice – the two victories were against the # 1 team in the western conference division, the San Jose Sharks, and against their eastern conference division counterparts, the New York Islanders. Interestingly, all the three games played this week had a 5-2 outcome.

December 4th – Chicago Blackhawks, United Center

The game in Chicago was intensive and high spirited in terms of offensive plays. Although Todd Bertuzzi and Daymond Langkow were the only two goal scorers, they managed to reduce the goal deficit by two to help the Flames change the game’s momentum – Iginla, Cammalleri, Glencross, and Phaneuf made approximately 18 attempts to narrow the gap further with the only shortcoming being time – it ran out.
Major concern? The loss was the atypical performance of the Flames – the three unnecessary goals (a power play, short handed and an empty net) – goals that could have helped them attain at least one point. Apart from the fighting majors, the unwarranted penalties are cumbersome and create increasing pressure on the penalty killers and the net minder– a drawback that ended the Flames’ five game win and ten game point streaks. Nonetheless, there was a significant aspect to this all. The Flames managed to put the negative consequences behind them and had remained unperturbed. They were optimistic that the loss to Chicago would not deter them from bouncing back against the San Jose Sharks – a turnover that no one would have anticipated. Well done, Flames!

December 6th, San Jose Sharks, Pengrowth

The game against the Sharks related an entirely different story. The Flames commenced with a terrific first period out shooting their opponents 16-4 and leading them by three goals. With their characteristic offensive play, Daymond Langkow, Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross and David Moss accumulated two points each while Mark Giordano also chipped in to help his team mates conquer their division rivals to a 5-2 victory. If it hadn’t been for the two man disadvantage against the Flames, would the Sharks have scored the goal and gained the momentum? It is a question that the fans will always be left to speculate, but despite the odds, the fact remains that the Flames had the compatibility to defeat the #1 team after a big disappointment in Chicago. Their performance in this game also validates that they are undoubtedly a great hockey team. In deed players like Bertuzzi, Bourque Cammalleri, Glencross, Langkow, and Moss (to name a few) continue to make a great offensive contribution to the Flames Hockey Club. Players who have been unproductive offensively have in fact contributed by setting up great plays for their team mates, while others have helped to clear the puck from their zone thereby assisting the forwards make offensive plays.

* Congratulations to Mike Keenan for his 650th career win as coach!

December 8th, New York Islanders, Pengrowth

The Flames out shot their opponents 41-26 to display their great offensive plays. They scored 4 even strength goals (Rene Bourque, Daymond Langkow, Curtis Glencross, and Adam Pardy connecting for them five on five); while Michael Cammalleri tallied a power play goal – a goal that proved the utilization of diverse strategies with the extra man on ice. Even though they were 1/5 on man advantage, the Flames rifled as many as twelve shots, which is a tremendous effort on their part. The only disconcerting fact was their inability to score during the double minor and back to back power play opportunities (≈ 6 minutes of play). Overall, their efforts were well justified and appreciated in terms of penalty killing. Certainly, they had established excellent penalty killing strategies having killed all the six penalties to increase their statistics to 85.71%: a definite plus rating.

* This was the 6th consecutive win on home ice for the Flames, which conspicuously ends the week for them on a positive note.

Notes: Adam Pardy notched his first NHL goal. Curtis Glencross his 8th while Michael Cammalleri, Rene Bourque, and Daymond Langkow notched their 15th of the season.
In terms of assists: Adrian Aucoin notched his 9th and 10th, Matthew Lombardi his 11th, Rene Bourque his 14th, Langkow his 19th and 20th, Michael Cammalleri his 21st and Jarome Iginla his 29th.

Bertuzzi had not played due to a hip flexor. Mikael Backlund made his first NHL debut.