With next year’s entry draft probability effectively a crapshoot, the Flames winning games here and there isn’t so bad. It’s been a see-saw first few games for the club with their hot and cold play game in and game out. Versus Nashville last night the team pulled together a solid outing and backstopped by exceptional goaltending by Ramo, came out with a shootout victory.

Tonight, they were cold, and as a result were badly outplayed. If you thought St Louis was bad, here was a Stanely Cup contender that was showing the Flames youth the ropes. A total of 50 shots were thrown on goal compared to Calgary’s 20.

The goaltending rotation continues, tonight Jonas Hiller looked for his first win as a Flame. Although quality scoring chances by Chicago’s top line were suppressed, Calgary can consider themselves lucky stone-hands Dan Carcillo couldn’t find the handle on not one but TWO wide open nets.

Special team won this game, along with Hiller’s 49 save performance. Calgary took SEVEN penalties (a couple weak ones) to Chicago’s ONE. Being in the box should kill you, but in Calgary’s case it seemed to merely kill Chicago’s momentum. It took until the third period and yet another powerplay for a questionable goal to get past HIller.

Calgary never really had puck possession (corsi lovers eat your heart out) for the entire game. AT time it was like watching a firedrill in the defensive zone. Yet, somehow, the Flames thought the strategy tonight was: how many mistakes can we make and maybe beat Chicago? Turns out many, but it didn’t matter because OT is somehow the Blackhawks achilles heal.

The Flames look exciting 4v4, Paul Byron certainly doing is his fair share to turn the tide. He had two breakaways and was thwarted on both attempts. He was, however, on the ice when Mikael Backlund weaved down the wing and snapped home a wrister that beat Crawford gloveside. Win Calgary.

Some thoughts:

– Bouma and Engelland out with injuries which meant McGrattan and Diaz factored in. (David Jones hurt too, but who cares.)

– Jonny Hockey with only 10 minutes of play. It will take extra time for him to acclimatize to the NHL game. He does have flashes of brilliance when he has the puck and was on the ice for Wideman’s goal.

– Wideman played just over 25 minutes. He coughed up the puck a few times but the fact is the team is better with a Wideman that can produce.

– Sean Monahan is coasting, although he was 75% in the face-off dot.

Road trip continues Friday in Columbus.