Well that’s a bit more like it. Calgary strung together a near 60 minute game to come out victorious against an Edmonton squad that hasn’t bested the Flames for points in ages. With the first win under the belt the team has a better idea what it takes to take two points, namely playing to their potential every shift (do you remember the ‘all out every shift’ campaign?….)
The talk beforehand was the potential benching of Sven Baertschi; a chance to see Calgary’s youth stacked up against Edmonton’s. That plot-line didn’t materialze, the young guns didn’t factor heavily in this game, Baertschi practically non-existant.
There were other gamers tonight that brought their hat and pail, the likes of Bouwmeester and Iginla for starters.
With Baertschi playing a quiet 5 minutes for the entire game, fans in turn had more of a chance to see the two latest Flames who played their first games–Hudler and Cervenka.
Both, somewhat surprisingly played on the wings with Stajan. The line was certainly effective but hardly displayed the skill many were hoping for. That will likely take a different centerman. Who knows when, but one should expect Cervenka down the middle and perhaps Baertschi on the LW on the third line.
It’s pretty interesting that the Flames have enough ‘depth’ to sit the likes of Baertschi, or to play Hudler on the third line. Unlikely scorers are getting ice-time, and in Hartley’s world he’s going to stick with the hot hand.
Lately that’s the top line lead by Iginla and with, still, Tanguay down the middle. Tanguay and Backlund have difficulty in the face-off dot, but they are still combining for goals. On that second line Lee Stempniak is turning into a welcome surprise off to a fast start. A 3 point night for him.
On the back, Wideman continues to lead in ice-time but continues to have the odd bonehead play in the defensive zone (and was largely ineffective on the PP). Stealing his thunder and returning, quietly, to some level of prominence was Bouwmeester. His playing time has steadily declined but today seemed to have the green light to continually jump in the rush which he did effectively. He was also solid on the backend with Giordano. Bouwmeester will likely never live up to his salary and the expectations that come with it, but more games like tonight will get fans off his back.
The Flames will get a 5 day rest as their next game isn’t until Thursday. In the meantime you can expect some more player movement as they figure out what to do with their new additions. That’s a good problem to have.
Notes: Begin and Jackman were healthy scratches. Expect Comeau to sit next. Butler on D sat as well, second game in a row for him.