With only a dozen games left, and the Flames by my count only capable of losing four more, the upcoming schedule can’t get any more favorable for the Flames. Or to put another way, the chances of the post-season rest squarely on the final 12 games as the Flames only play teams they’re racing for the final few playoff spots.
One of those teams is SJ now sit tied with 78 points in the Western Conference. Calgary needed a win just to stay in contention with the likes of LA, Colorado, SJ, and Phoenix.
The FLames, despite missing 7 regular forwards, need unsung heroes to step up, and they’re getting help the right times.
SJ opened the scoring in the first minute of play using their speed to keep the Flames hemmed in their own zone.
The first and second periods were filled with powerplays for both teams. Calgary couldn’t score o ntheir early chances. SJ for their part received a 5 minute powerplay after Glencross was called for boarding (almost 30 goals but sometimes he just does stupid things).
Calgary used the momentum from the penalty kills to propel their push back. Who else but Svensational (sorry I had to) Baertschi jumped on a loose puck and scored his second in three games. Things look really good for the young prospect (or rather, the Flames when he makes the club next year).
The crowd was abuzz fuelling the playoff frenzy at the ‘Dome. The buzz was whipped into a frenzy when Giordano jumped into the play from the penalty box and passed to Iginla for a one-timer and the temporary lead.
Jarome Iginla scored his 30th goal which gives him 11 consecutive 30 – goal season. This puts him in very elite company with the likes of Gretzky, Esposito, Hull, Dionne, and Mike Gartner.
More penalty trouble gave SJ the tie early in the third period. Calgary tapered off and could barely muster a shot on goal in the third period.
Extra time was necessary; OT is unfriendly to the Flames, they’ve only one once in OT prior to this game. When a shoot-out seemed inevitable, a defensively zone face-off turned into a 2v1 with Blake Comeau, back in the lineup after missing a few games due to a shoulder injury, setting up Matt Stajan for the eventual game winner and 2 points.
Up next, Phoenix, yet another must win game, and preferably in regulation time. We’ll see if Leland Irving comes up or if Karlsson gets the nod (perhaps in Edmonton on Friday).