Destiny, or rather first place in the NW division, is now completely in the Flames’ hands. They can win the next two games and clinch first. Or they can crap the bed and flounder to 5th or even 6th place virtually assuring a first round exit.
A number of factors were up-against the Flames coming into their one game homestand versus the LA Kings. They fielded another short roster due to cap problems, they were missing three starting defencemen, and their top players were putting up numbers similar to a pylon playing with Evgeni Malkin (even a pylon gets 15 points a year with Malkin).
This Just In: Powerplay Absent
Calgary started with the usual average first period. No big hits, an OK fight, no real good chances, near misses in their own zone, and of course, blown opportunities on the power play.
Iginla, Cammalleri, and Jokinen have a combined seven goals in the past 10 games. The Flames tonight had a lengthy 5v3 PP, but all they can muster is passing up top and waiting for Phanuef to shoot from long range with nobody infront.
SOMEBODY SEND THIS TO THE FLAMES. Top PP’s pass the puck QUICKLY and shoot often. You do neither. It’s real simple, quick puck movement and quality shots with traffic.
The top line generated some pressure that we’re used to seeing early in the second. They were rewarded with a garbage goal courtesy of Daymond Langkow.
Second period shots by LA 15 minutes in 2. Total goals, 1. A split second of sleepy hockey and LA tied in thanks to Simmonds who had a first period fight with Warren Peters. Simmonds made Dion Phaneuf look like a little ringette girl (no offence to ringette) later in the second but Kipper came up huge.
Good news for Flames fans, if the second goal is any indication of the return of Iginla and Cammalleri then Flames fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Jokinen is still MIA, but Iginla wired his 36th of the year home and put the home squad up by one.
The next goal was a weird one, both how it went in and who scored it. Playing 4 on 4 Jim Vandermeer found extra room to break towards the net, and since he hasn’t scored as a Flame ever, tried to pass it to nobody even though he was practically in the crease! The pass to nobody ricocheted off a LA defender and found the back of the net.
Another player who found the back of the net was David Moss ten minutes later for his 20th of the year (any incentives with that milestone?) Matt Pelech collected his first NHL point on the play and later recorded his first fight.
The only poor element in the third was yet AGAIN, the 5v3 powerplay which barely registered a shot. The Flames dominated regular strength yet crap the bed when it comes to the man advantage. IT’s more than confidence as coach Keenan might say, it’s about fundamentals…..
Notes: One more win for the division win which could come as early as tonight against the Vancouver Schmucks and the Sedin Sisters.