Brendan Morrison scored 2 goals, one on the powerplay and one short-handed, for the Flames tonight as they celebrated goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff’s 34th birthday with a win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Flames relied on their goaltender again tonight as they blew a 4-1 lead and needed the shootout to beat the Oilers at Scotiabank Saddledome. Kipper stopped all 3 shots in the shootout and Alex Tanguay beat Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to give the Flames the win in their 3rd match against the Oilers this season.
Morrison opened the scoring with a powerplay goal early in the first period but the lead lasted less than three minutes before Kurtis Foster tied the game with Jarome Iginla watching from the penalty box. Late in the period, Jay Bouwmeester scored his first goal of the season on the powerplay with a helper from Alex Tanguay. J Bo found himself beside a half-empty net with the puck on his stick and wasted no time firing it past Khabibulin to give the Flames a 2-1 lead. The elation on J-Bo’s face was evident afterward as he made the first step towards earning his huge salary for the Flames.
From that point, the Flames took control of the next 20 minutes and wreaked havoc on a young Oilers team. After a defensive breakdown, Mikael Backlund fed Curtis Glencross with a pass that left him with a clear shot. Glencross, who has struggled to avoid the posts and crossbar this season, made good on this opportunity and notched his 2nd goal of the season. Morrison scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway while the Flames were killing a penalty. He showed his speed by blowing past the Oiler defenceman and picked the top left corner of the net to put the Flames up 4-1.
It looked like the Flames were in the clear at this point, but we all know that it takes 60 minutes of hockey to win a game. Late in the second period, Jordan Eberle continued his goal-scoring streak against the Flames with a shifty backhander that squeaked past Kiprusoff. It was his 3rd goal in 3 games against the Flames and it seemed to give the Oilers some jump.
In the 3rd period, the Oilers came out gunning and the Flames sat back and let them play their game. Instead of shutting the Oilers down and putting the game away, the Flames collapsed in their own end and gave up two 3rd period goals to Magnus Paajarvi and Tom Gilbert. It was a reminder for Flames fans that the old consistency bug is still present on the Flames bench and there is still work to do.
The Flames woke up after the third period and dominated the play in overtime, controlling the puck for the majority of the time and out-shooting the Oilers 4-1, but they couldn’t beat Khabibulin. In the shootout, Kipper stopped the first two Oilers shooters (Hemsky & Eberle) before Alex Tanguay buried a hard shot past the “Bulin Wall”. Dustin Penner needed to score to keep the Oilers alive, but he wasn’t able to beat the birthday boy. Kipper stopped Penner with a flash of the pad and gave the Flames the win.
Overall, the game was exciting to watch but the 3rd period should have been much different. The Flames should never have let the Oilers back into the game with a 2-goal lead. The 17-10 shot differential in the 3rd period (favouring the Oilers) tells a part of the story, but the score sheet tells the important part. The Flames gave up 2 goals late in the game and handed the Oilers a single point in a game where they should have walked away empty-handed. Let’s finish off with a quote from Brent Sutter from after the game:
“Let it be a good lesson for us. It’s a 4-1 game and you give up a bad goal, you have to regroup. We got off track.” -Brent Sutter
So what did you think? Is this little breakdown a good thing for the Flames, or does it expose our Achilles Heel? Will they get a serious talking-to after the game and bring the consistency back for Thursday’s game against the Avalanche?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
Editor’s note: this is my 500th post on Red Mile Blog so I’m glad I get to say we won tonight!