If there is one thing that I have learned about the Calgary Flames, it is that they can win ugly, boring, exciting; basically they can win any way they can win. Tonight they won with defense, which usually means totally boring. But tonight, there was a touch of exciting, meaning I liked a couple of goals the Flames scored tonight.
Before I mention the goals, let's talk about a very good first period for the Flames. The Flames fired 15 shots at Pekka Rinne, who looked terrific in the first period. I really liked Rinne's ability to control rebounds, not giving the Flames a second chance. That was a major key in Rinne's success in stopping the puck the first time, and making sure there were no loose pucks. Pekka has a great glove hand, and he played the angles very well. He is a terrific young goalie.
Back to the first period. The Flames played a very safe first period, making sure there were no mistakes in their own zone. The main reason was that the Preds have to play the trap aka the defensive zone. So the Flames pretty much had to play the waiting game until the Preds made mistakes they could capitalize on. Well, they did exactly that, but they ran into a very hot goalie in Pekka Rinne. So basically, you have the boring first period, which the Flames did dominate.
The second period was the best period the Preds played this game. The problem is, Kipper was outstanding, continuously holding the Preds at bay. Kipper was on his game, forcing Preds shooters into bad angles. The Preds continued to work hard, they outworked the Flames at times in the second period. Meanwhile, the Flames continued to wait and pounce on mistakes. Well the first goal was a mistake, trying to knock the pass in front of the net instead of the man; as a result, Lombardi was left alone in front of the net, tapping the pass from Glencross into the net. The second goal was he result of Nystrom pouncing on a turnover and turning it into a two-on-one break, and Roy roofing the net, to put it 2-0 in the second period.
During the third period, the Preds continued to hustle, and it actually paid off in the third, as Dumont converted off a rebound. Kipper thought he had the puck, Dumont found it and popped it in the net. The Preds continued to work, but ran into a brick wall called Kipper. The Preds finally let frustration get to them, giving the Flames a two man advantage. When you give a good team too much opportunity, they will burn you. As a result, the Flames' Aucoin scored the final goal, to give the Flames a 3-1 victory.
The most impressive thing about the Flames this season is that there is always a player who steps it up. Tonight, the top two lines where held in check. What happens? The other players step it up. A very good sign for the fans in Calgary.