The Flames returned home, after their longest road trip of the season, to face the much improved Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday night. The Flames did not disappoint their fans as they played a solid game and won 3-1 for their second consecutive win at home, after losing 4 of their previous 5 on home ice. The old cliché of ‘having their best players play like their best players’ was evident tonight as the Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Rene Bourque and Miikka Kiprusoff were all in top form.
This might have been Olli Jokinen’s best game as a Flame this season. He was flying out there as he contributed with one laser of a goal and one sweet dangle through the Atlanta (Peace up, A-Town) defence. Not to mention he had 4 shots on net, was a +2 on the night and logged more ice time than any other Flames forward (20:26). His confidence is clearly growing in each game and his chemistry with Iginla and now Nigel Dawes seems to be getting better with each outing. Iginla could have had a bundle of goals tonight but was shut down by Thrasher Goaltender Johan “Moose” Hedberg all night. His patent “leg kick” while flying down the right side of the ice was in full effect tonight, but he could not find the twine. He did chip in with two assists including setting up the eventual game winner. He also managed to draw a few timely penalties which helped kill time off the clock, because clearly the Flames are unable to score a goal with the powerplay (0 for last 16).
As mentioned earlier, it seems Iggy and Olli have found a line mate in Nigel Dawes. Dawes, a top prospect coming out of junior, never really found a spot in the NHL. He struggled with consistency in New York and really did not have time in Phoenix to do much of anything. Now it seems he is comfortable and playing well with the added responsibility in Calgary. Already on pace to shatter his career high in goals (14), assists (15) and points (29) in a season, Dawes is giving the Flames the exact kind of support player they wanted when they signed him in July. He has great speed and is able to slip in and out of the tough areas with minimal detection. Another gem signing by Darryl Sutter only a year after he snagged Glencross and Bourque out of heap of available players.
A few ‘notable notes’ from tonight’s contest was Glencross’s spirited fight in the third period; good to see the energy always riding high with him. Regehr was back after missing one game with an undisclosed injury. Conroy, however, was not in the line-up tonight after colliding with Oscar Moller of the Kings on Monday. Cory Sarich also missed his 8th straight game. Coming from an interview on the Fan960 with Coach Sutter, when asked about Sarich, he said, “You will have to ask Darryl about Cory.” Since when does the GM decide when the player is ready? Wouldn’t the Coach be in charge of that? Or better yet, maybe the team Physician?
Just ‘spitballin’ here but I think he is being shopped around and will be dealt before the deadline. It makes sense with his salary, the need to clear space for Bourque and other UFA/RFA’s this summer, and the emergence of Aaron Johnson and Staffan Kronwall on the backend.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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