Curtis Glencross assisted on Rene Bourque’s first period goal and added the shootout winner to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win in Dallas tonight. After Alex Tanguay’s first round goal looked like it could possibly be the winner, Mike Ribiero beat Miikka Kiprusoff to tie it with only Glencross remaining. Scoreface made good on his attempt and secured the extra point for the Flames at a time when every point is crucial.
Calgary jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period with goals from Bourque, Kostopolous and Babchuk. As is often the case with 3-0 leads in the first period, the Flames got a little lazy and seemed to forget that there was still 45 minutes of hockey to play. As Bourque watched from the penalty box, Jamie Benn scored a late goal to send the Flames to the dressing room with only a two-goal lead.
The 2nd period wasn’t the Flames best period of hockey. Many of the tweets I read were of the “this period can’t end soon enough” type. It took only 5 minutes for Mike Ribiero to score his 14th of the season if it wasn’t for the play of Kipper, the Stars could have had a few more. Luckily, though, the Flames escaped the second with a 3-2 lead.
The 3rd period began with more pressure from the Stars, but it was evident that Brent Sutter had some choice words for his team in the intermission. The Flames had some more jump to their step, and despite giving up a 3rd goal in the first six minutes of the third, they had their own chances to finish the game. They had numerous chances to beat Kari “I believe Lehtonen is Finnish for sieve” Lehtonen but he was up to the challenge. After a horrible first period, Lehtonen kept his team in the game and gave them a chance to take a point away.
The Flames ended up the night in 5th place in the West, but there isn’t any breathing room now or anytime soon. With only 2 points separating 4th from 8th place the race in the Wild West looks like it will be a good one for the rest of the season. Games-at-hand don’t appear to be a factor for the Flames making the playoffs (since they are now far enough ahead of 9th-11th place Minnesota, Anaheim and Nashville), but they will affect the where Calgary ends up in the standings if they don’t start losing.
Here’s where things sit in the west right now: