I haven’t written anything since the blowout loss against Chicago last Saturday, but the Flames have been on a tear so it’s time for a little summary. The Flames played 5 games last week, taking 9 of 10 points and heading into Grey Cup Sunday on a seriously high note.
Last Saturday, the Flames put together a near-perfect game as they dominated the LA Kings on the way to a 5-2 win in Los Angeles. They completed their California tour with a disappointing 3-2 shootout loss in Anaheim. The Ducks played a solid game and were backstopped by an incredible performance from J-S Giguerre, who has been fighting for his starting role again. The always reliable Teemu Selanne scored the winning goal in the shootout with an absolute beauty over Miikka Kiprusoff’s shoulder.
Returning home, the Flames beat Phoenix in a sleeper 2-1 game that didn’t get exciting until the end of the 3rd period. I was happy that I only got home in time to watch the 3rd period, as it looked like a good game to me. Speaking to other fans, I realize that it was one of the most boring game they’ve watched all season.
This weekend was very busy for the Flames who played on Friday in Detroit and Saturday in Columbus. Miikka Kiprusoff registered his 2nd shutout of the season while backstopping the Flames to a 3-0 victory in Detroit, then had a night off on Saturday. Kipper’s win gives him a total of 14 on the season, one short of Martin Brodeur for the league lead.
Curtis McElhinney, who rarely sees icetime as the Flames backup goalie, came out strong in the first period in Columbus, slamming the door on the Blue Jackets for the first 20 minutes. After Olli Jokinen gave Calgary an early second period lead, the Flames broke down, allowing Columbus to score 3 goals in the 2nd period. It looked like the Columbus was going to walk off the ice with a 3-1 win, but with about 10 minutes left in the game, the Flames turned on the jets, scored 2 quick goals and sent the game to overtime. They had all the opportunities in overtime, but needed the shootout to win the game. McElhinney stopped enough pucks to give his team the win, which was sealed by Jamie Lundmark’s goal in the 4th round of the shootout.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla is known for having a slow start in October before turning it on in November. This has given him the nickname “Mr. November”, and this season he has been true to it. He’s been called “Captain Fantastic” this year as well, after he scored several key goals, leading his team to eventual victories. Iginla’s consistent play this month has been a key factor in their success. He’s making a great case for inclusion in the “Who Will Captain Team Canada in Vancouver 2010” list. Team Canada GM, Steve Yzerman, was in LA last saturday when Iggy scored a hat-trick in the win.
The Flames have traditionally ridden the coat-tails of their captain on the way to putting up solid numbers in November. For the past few seasons, the Flames have ended november at, or near the top of the division. This season is no different, and the Flames have battled their way ahead of Colorado to take 1st spot in the NW and 2nd in the West. So far they’ve taken 20 of 26 points in November, and the play their final November game tomorrow night.
The Flames continue a tough roadtrip in Nashville tomorrow, then head West to Phoenix, San Jose and Los Angeles to round out their season-long 6-game road trip. I suppose it’s not a bad time for them to be on the road, where they’ve gone 9-1-3 so far this season.