In a game the Calgary Flames desperately needed to win, they actually came through and delivered beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Curtis Glencross had a hat-trick and former Maple Flake Matt Stajan scored the other goal as the Flames dominated from start to finish despite loads of penalty trouble. Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was again on top of his game, helping lead the Flames back into a tie for the 8th playoff spot in the Western Conference.
After one of the most jaw-dropping half-week periods Flames history in which 4 roster players were shipped to different addresses and 6 new players were brought on board, the Flames looked composed, energetic and looked, if I can say it, good. Mind you, it was against the Hurricanes who occupy 15th place in the Eastern standings and 29th place in the overall ledger. All debates aside though, a win is a win, and the Flames terribly needed one.
Looking back at Monday’s game I have a feeling like that might have been the most awkward contest to play in for anyone in a Flames jersey. Amid immense speculation that two of their roster players had already been dealt, the team laced up and took the ice as a team (Or so it looked). Jokinen and Prust were told immediately following the game that they were no longer apart of the Calgary Flames; big shocker.
So tonight’s game, against Carolina, might have been a little easier to prepare for as two of the forwards were not mentally in New York already. The Flames came out strong and were all over the Canes for most of the game. They out shot Carolina 39-28 despite conducting a parade route to penalty box, including a 5 on 3 to finish off the first period.
Overall, the Flames played a lot better and the new additions did not look to bad.
Matt Stajan scored a highlight reel goal on a give and go play with Iginla. Iggy’s return pass went into Stajan’s skates, but was able to kick it up to his stick and pot the goal all in one fluid motion. Possibly the start of some much needed chemistry? Maybe, but I did not hear chants of “Mat-thew, Mat-thew” resonating throughout the Dome walls.
Jamal Mayers, who I figured to be window dressing in the ‘Dion Deal,’ was actually quite impressive tonight as he inserted himself in a good dust-up (although he did take the instigator) and proved effective on the penalty kill.
Ian White had a couple of decent shot blocks and played composed throughout the game. It was strange watching a #3 not make so many mistakes; a nice change.
Hagman did not do a whole lot, but he showed spurts of energy and I am sure his offensive prowess will come out soon.
Kotalik, in his first game as a Flame, was immediately inserted into Phaneuf’s spot on the powerplay. He never really was able to release a great shot as the Hurricanes aggressive penalty kill was all over him every time he was loading his cannon. He had 5 shots on net and I had no qualms with the way he played and he gives the powerplay a little more creativity despite the fact it went 0-4.
Chris Higgins was given a lot of time on the penalty kill unit (4:44) including time when the team was 2 men down. He played smart and fit right in with the team.
All in all, it was a good start to the new era of Flames as 6 new players, including 5 new forwards (6 if you count Backlund), played for the team tonight. This was the most energy this team has shown in a long time.
They go into Florida this weekend for back to back games with the Panthers and Lightning. I am sure these games will be the number one sports story down in Florida this weekend as I do not believe there is any other event going on down there…but I could be wrong.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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