Maybe they were listening when everyone in the hockey world was laying into them for the horrible moves they made at the trade deadline and the atrocious game they followed with that night. The Calgary Flames (32-24-9) were a team that could not score. They have suddenly turned on the afterburners with ten goals in 2 games.
Leading the way is Jarome Iginla who recorded his tenth career hat trick in today’s game and added as assist. Rene Bourque is so far earning that giant contract extension recording 5 points in the last two games. Matt Stajan has 3 points in the last two as well. The newly formed top line of Bourque-Stajan-Iginla combined for 10 points in today’s afternoon tilt. Hey Brent, keep this line together!
Vesa Toskala, the Flames new back-up goaltender, recorded his first win in his first game wearing the red, yellow and black. It took the former back-up a little longer to record his first ‘W’; then again the Flames rarely hung 5 goals on an opponent while he was in net. Nevertheless, Vesa must be applauded for today’s performance as he played well in relief of his Finnish buddy Miikka. I know I laid into the Flames for making this move and I am still not a huge fan, due to Vesa’s horrible numbers, but hopefully that was simply the Leafs and not Toskala himself. One can hope, right?
This is a welcome sign for the Flames who have not had a reliable back-up goalie since…well, it has been a while. And no, Cujo was not reliable even though he stole that game versus the Sharks. He was quite possibly the most awkward and nerve-racking goalie to watch in the history of the game.
Iginla recorded his 30th goal of the season in this game. It marked the 9th straight season in which he has had thirty or more goals in a season. He now has 62 points this campaign and moves into 20th in the league in scoring. The Flames will need ‘Olympic’ Jarome to keep up his strong play if they have any chance of spring time success.
This Flames team has turned into a social chemistry experiment in a manner of speaking. Much like in the Olympics where teams were given little to no time to gel as a team, this Flames team, which includes 8 fresh faces (9 if you include Backlund), has been given the monumental task of climbing out of a non-playoff seed into the elite eight in less than a month. Not to mention the colossal pressure that Calgary has on them if and when they make the playoffs.
The Flames have now won 3 of their last 4 games and are playing better. Each and every game becomes the biggest game of the season; not to sound to cliché.
Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings is, well, one of those ‘big’ games. The Flames are 1-1 against the Wings this season and have out-scored them 4-3 in those two games. Kiprusoff recorded one of his 3 shutouts he has this season against the Wings back in November when he faced 40 shots on goal.
I am sure the Flames will try their best, but as Sean Connery so elegantly put it,
“Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and (frank) the prom queen.”
The Flames have tried their best all year and maybe that has been the problem.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
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