The Flames did what they had to do tonight beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. In the process they once again pulled within two points of the Detroit Red Wings for 8th place in the West.
Driving the Flames to victory was Niklas Hagman who had his coming out party wearing the red, yellow and black. Calgary also had two point nights from Iginla and Bouwmeester for the Flames who have now won three of four.
For Hagman, it was his second goal as a Flame and his first in 13 games. However, it wasn’t just the goal that made Hagman stick out tonight. He was all over the ice outworking the Ducks players on every shift. There was one shift, late in the third, where he single-handedly created three or four scoring chances simply by churning his legs. This was the Hagman everyone expected to see when the Flames acquired him from Toronto and helps justify the clearance sale that Sutter had in late January. That is of course if Nikky continues his strong play.
Bouwmeester, who has gone pointless in his last seven games, notched two assists for only the fourth time this season. Clearly struggling to find points this year, he turned his game around and looked much better tonight. Not sure if it’s the system that Jay is having a hard time adjusting to, but this season’s version of Jay Bouwmeester isn’t what most Flames fans expected when the Flames acquired him last summer.
Looking into the past, he played his entire career in Florida where he was given the chance to ‘free-wheel’ most of the time and structure was not so much of a concern. Now, under Brent Sutter, his game has taken a step back as he adjusts to the system, or at least that is what it seems like. I was looking forward to seeing him lead the rush up the ice on most nights, yet fans have rarely seen that this year. Tonight was the Jay we all thought he was and it was a breath of fresh air for many disgruntled Flames fans.
With nine games remaining the Flames travel out East for a three game road trip against the Islanders, Bruins and Capitals.
The Flames know what they have to do; win or don’t bother coming home.
On a side note, this past Sunday was the first day of Spring and a sure sign to tell it is Spring is if the ‘Leafs’ are out, and they certainly are this year.
Unfortunately, that line won’t be as funny if Iginla and Kipper are joining Kessel and Kaberle on the first tee this year.
This has been,
Newman on the Flames
Read more: http://calgaryontheflames.blogspot.com/