Although Calgary scored first thanks to Olli Jokinen, who had two goals and the shoot-out winner, there were other stories in this wild affair. After the first period you thought to yourself, “wow, NHL referees are crooked, someone is paying these guys off.” Conspiracy theories ran rampant, the NHL sending special memos to baby American teams, refs getting big payouts for horrific penalty calls, and so on. Fact is, none of those are true (at least I’m pretty sure they aren’t) but to Flames fans, you could only scream at the TV in light of the first period 27 penalty minute assessment against Calgary.

TWENTY EIGHT first period shots were fired at the net in the first period, 26 were stopped. Kiprusoff was mostly solid all night and backstopped the Flames in the shoot-out to solidify the win. It was his first period heroics on an extended 5v3 that really saved his team. The penalty debacle began with Dion Phaneuf….

Phaneuf dumped Dan Cleary behind the net, both were chasing the puck, Cleary wanted to dodge the hit by peeling out of the corner instead of taking the hit. That meant along with Dion’s nudge from behind, he lost an edge and went crashing in the boards. The ref had in arm up for two, but because Dan Cleary’s amazing acting job they upped it to a 5 minute boarding call. Marginal at best, but you could live with it. Clearly returned and played 16 minutes in the game.

To add to the Flames problems, facing the number one power play in the league, Jordan Leopold a minute into the PK shoved the puck over the glass, so now a 5v3.

In true Detroit fashion, on the ensuing powerplay they crashed, banged, slashed, stood in the crease, and everything under the sun to try to score goals and distract Kiprusoff. This is where you wonder what the league does to protect Detroit. No other team gets away with more goaltender interference than Detroit. The refs would have none of the interference, but they happily called more penalties on the Flames.

On scrums in front of the net the defensemen started getting physical with detroit players hacking Kiprusoff. All Detroit players jumped in on two stoppages and who gets penalties? First it was Cory Sarich getting one for cross checking. The refs of course don’t call untouchable Datsyuk for his right hook on Robyn Regehr.

On the second scrum, Aucoin goes off after getting fed 3-4 punches, and sending some of his own. What’s funny about the altercation is Frazen jumps in, punches Aucoin, then turns to leave the pile, comes back and punches Vandermeer three times in the face, and Vandermeer, with a single punch, drops the school girl to his knees. Bleeding from his face, the Red Wings know a couple of things including how to draw penalties, and that’s play the refs for fools.

Vandermeer gets 4 for roughing AND a 10 minute misconduct for using his one punch to drop Franzen. He essentially got 10 minutes not for minding his own, but for protecting his face from getting punch 4, 5, and 6. At that point four Calgary D men, Aucoin, Sarich, Vandermeer, Phaneuf, were in the box leaving Regehr and Leopold to kill the 5v3.

Obviously Detroit scored, but only once which was a minor victory before the period. Great excitement for fans, TERRIBLE refereeing. Flames only down 2-1.

In the second another powerplay and the third powerplay goal of the game for Detroit. They scored again which made it 4-2, however, 30 seconds after the late second period goal Daymond Langkow drew the Flames to within two.

In the third, nobody really felt as if the Flames had what it took to score three goals and win the game, and for the first ten minutes you had that impression. Who can score three goals in ten minutes against the Detroit Red Wings? Well apparently the Flames lead by none other than Jamie Lundmark.

Calgary poured on the pressure and with four minutes left Lundmark scored his third of the season off a deflection. Jokinen returns on the next line and gets credit for a Glencross shot that alludes Detroit netminder Ty Conklin.

With under two minutes later the third line gets back to work down low and Jamie Lundmark again strikes, coming out from the corner and roofing a backhander past Conklin. three staright goals giving the Flames the lead.

As luck would have it, Calgary had none, Detroit did crawl back and tie the game with 40 seconds left. None other than fake injury Dan Cleary scored a goal banging in a loose puck that Kipper would like to have back.

That meant OT, a hard earned point for a Flames team who were sucker punched by unbelievable referees. Since OT solved nothing the shoot-out was necessary.

With no Bertuzzi and Red Wing fire power the gut feeling from the first period debacle returned. However, Calgary has a weapon in goal by the name of Kiprusoff. The shoot-out unfolded as such:

Datsyuk – Score
Cammalleri (0 for 4) – Score (1 for 5)

Zetterberg – Goes fivehole, beauty save
Iginla (0 for 4) – Post (0 for 5)

Hudler – Kipper big save
Jokinen – Cruise down slow, amazing top shelf goal glove side…..

Flames win, in the shoot-out, in Detroit, with the injured line up, after losing four, despite referee assistance for Detroit, and without Iginla recording a point. A step in the right direction for the club, and a great confidence booster. Stanley Cup parade route now back into planning stages……

Notes: Despite all the hoopla Jarome Iginla went penaltyless and pointless. He hit the post in the shoot-out and is now 0 for 5.