Well maybe not the return, but possibly the “Coming out Party” of the Mac. Calgary’s back-up goaltender Curtis McElhinney started tonight’s game after Kiprusoff was sent back to the hotel with the evil flu bug. In a huge statement game for the Flames, after two disappointing home losses, the Flames squeaked out an overtime win over the Dallas Stars on the shoulders of a 38 save performance from the ‘Mac’, not to overlook an impressive performance by Jarome Iginla.
McElhinney turned away 30 Stars’ shots through two periods as the Flames net minder kept the visiting team in the game. Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and Dallas managed to get two behind Curtis in the first 10 minutes of the third period. Then with McElhinney on the bench Daymond Langkow slid the tying goal past Marty Turco with 49 ticks left, and sent it into overtime.
Then, a break for the Flames; a very questionable delay of game penalty call on Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman. Iginla subsequently rifles a shot through the glove of Marty Turco and the Flames come out with a much needed road win. There are many things about the delay of game penalty that are not right. The call should be similar to the icing rule, in that the team that throws the puck over the glass should not be able to change and the face-off gets put in their zone. Giving someone a 2 minute penalty for throwing the puck out of play, and the fact that probably 70% of the time it is accidental, is a little severe and should not cost a team a game. Something that the rules committee has been looking into, that is for sure.
That being said, the Flames took advantage of the fortuitous break and won a game they probably should not have. McElhinney did his best to shut up his critics, and for now he has. He did what he had to do; he stopped all the pucks he was supposed to. His rebound control was not great, but the defence did an adequate job of helping him out, something they need to do in order to win games. He is not Kipper, but he possibly has the ability to spell number 34 when called upon, and he came a long way tonight in proving that.
Jarome Iginla was the other reason for the Flames 8th win of the season. A factor on all three goals for the Flames, the Captain was 100% for shooting tonight; 2 shots, 2 goals. Both shots just happened to be laser beams that Turco had little hope on, although he managed to snag a bit of the overtime winner as it whizzed by his arm. Iginla also set up the tying goal with hard work down low. Sutter wanted for the “Compete” level to be higher, and Iginla delivered what Sutter demanded.
Into St Louis tomorrow night for a match up with the Blues, who are 2-5 at home this season, while the Flames are now 3-1-1 on the road. The back half of back-to-back games has never been kind to Calgary in recent years, but maybe the emergence of a solid #2 keeper can help turn that around.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
check out: http://calgaryontheflames.blogspot.com