The Calgary Flames have had hardly any help from their bottom six most of the season. Outside a couple contributors (Ryan/Dube) they haven’t had much, and to say it has been very concerning is an understatement. However, in the past two games that seems to be coming to an end. San Jose was pummeled 6-2 in their own building by the Calgary Flames Monday night, as the Flames win their second in a row. Not only that, their second win in a row where they largely dominated their opponent. I did think they played a bit better in Vancouver, as they had some trouble and got hemmed in several times by the Sharks, but they still largely played well.
Calgary started their scoring in short fashion with a power play goal from Milan Lucic. A goal that was basically the exact goal he scored against the Vancouver Canucks just the other night, with him getting in front of the net and just guiding the puck in off a pass from Backlund. It was a damn good play and that marks the second game in a row we’ve seen Lucic find the back of the net. Considering even with extremely low expectations for him, I’ve been disappointed with his play at large, it nice to see him contribute. 35 seconds after Lucic made it 1-0, Tobias Rieder scored his second goal in two games and put the Flames up 2-0. However, the Flames sure as hell weren’t done there as they continued to swarm Aaron Dell and eventually after some solid stops by the goaltender Zac Rinaldo made it 3-0 with his third goal of the season.
Under ten minutes into the game, the Flames were dominating and up 3-0, taking it to the Sharks every chance they got. Considering we haven’t seen that killer instinct all that much this season, this was a treat to watch. Too often the Flames looked stale, and it usually felt like they didn’t show up. That’s luckily starting to end, as there seems to be a fire that has finally lit up behind them, and is sending them on the upswing. I don’t know if they’re banding together due to the injuries or what, but whatever they’re doing is working.
Having said all that, the Sharks wouldn’t fall apart just yet and gave the Flames a nice scare, and it’s one that we’re all too use to at this point. Karlsson scored shortly after the Flames made it 3-0 and then early in the 2nd, Brent Burns scored, bringing the Sharks just one back of Calgary. Early this year, this would have been the time the Flames would have panicked and then crumpled, giving the game away to the opposing team. Not tonight. Jankowski, who’s been much better as of late, got his third goal of the season in the 2nd Period, just five minutes after Burns got the Sharks back into the game.
The 3rd was a hell of a period, and there were times when I thought the Sharks we’re going to start making another comeback, but David Rittich came up BIG, with several wonderful saves, including one of the left pad and the Flames took it to San Jose with two more goals. One from Backlund, who snapped a 13-game goalless drought and one from Tkachuk, which was just a beauty. If you haven’t seen Tkachuk’s goal yet, please go look at the video. It’s one hell of a goal, displaying the hands that chucky has.
Depth scoring came up BIG for the Flames. Lucic (3 points) looked good and not only was he bringing the rough stuff, he contributed offensively. I don’t know if it’s going to last for Lucic, and I would bet it won’t, BUT it’s nice to see him contributing more than hits. Jankowski (2 points) is finally starting to look like his old self. He’s never been the most consistent, but I’ve had high hopes for him. He won’t likely be a top six center, but if he can become a quality bottom six scorer, I’ll be happy. And it’s hard to forget Dube. While he didn’t get a point, I thought he was one of the best Flames players on the ice. He’s looking like he’s starting to get very comfortable with the big club, and I could easily see him at one point, finding his way into the top six. He’s shaping up to be an excellent player.
The top six looked damn good too. Once again, Monahan, Gaudreau and Lindholm, dominated the ice. Neither got a goal, but I’m betting the flood gates are about to open for that line. They looked GREAT out there, and for the second game in a row, reminded me of just how good they can be. And the Backlund, Mangiapane and Tkahuck looked solid too, despite have a bit of a mental lapse in the 3rd, that nearly gave San Jose a goal. If not for Rittich standing tall, they very well could have. Speaking of Rittich, it seems as though he’s returned to form. For the past two games he’s come up big and has played excellent, which is only going to benefit them down the road.
Calgary is in a very good position to start building off these two big wins, and rise up the standings. Their next two games are against two weak teams in Anaheim and LA, and there is no good reason why they shouldn’t come out of those games with a big W. They’re going to have some tougher games coming up shortly after, against teams like Chicago and Nashville. Two teams right behind the Flames, looking for a playoff berth themselves, and against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. Arguably, two of the toughest teams in the league. Hopefully these two wins are the start of something big and not just a quick flash, that will be over before we know it.
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