The Calgary Flames rolled into New York tonight to face off against the New York Rangers for the only time this season. Despite playing a very energetic game and getting 32 shots on net, they couldn’t beat Rangers goalie Martin Biron more than once. Biron was on fire tonight and had an answer for almost everything the Flames shot at him.
The lone Flames goal came from Jarome Iginla, who scored his 6th goal in 3 games to tie it at 1-1. Iggy’s goal came three minutes after Brendan Mikkelson deflected a Brian Boyle pass into Calgary’s net after a sloppy line change lead to an odd-man rush. Mikkelson had a great effort to get back and stop it from being a 2-on-0, but he was unlucky and deflected the attempted pass into the net.
The Rangers capitalized on a 2nd period powerplay to score the go-ahead goal, which also ended up being the game-winner. Dan Girardi slapped a shot from the point and it deflected off Rene Bourque’s stick and squeeked past Miikka Kiprusoff.
Overall, it was a very physical game, with a couple fights and lots of big hits. The hit that everyone is talking about tonight, including the NHL, is Mark Staal’s head-shot on Matt Stajan. Staal took advantage of Stajan who was looking the other way after delivering a pass. Staal came from the opposite side and rocked Stajan. The open ice hit was directly on Stajan’s head (though it did include a lot of body too), and Stajan wend down in a heap. Stajan needed help off the ice – he had an obvious concussion – and did not return to the game. There was no penalty on the play. Here’s a photo of the moment of impact.
Of course, the talk is about whether it was a malicious head shot and whether there will be a suspension. Staal does not have a history of such hits, and it looked like he attempted to get low enough to deliver a non-head-shot, but he ended up hittting Stajan right in the head. The replay shows that he hit him with a shoulder to the head, had a bit of an “elbow follow through” and that he left his feet. Based on that, I don’t see why he shouldn’t get a suspension, though it will probably be in the 2-3 game range.
Did you see the hit? What’s your take on it? Suspension? No suspension? Leave a comment below.