The Calgary Flames have been the masters of their own destiny since their losing skid ended in mid-December and they began an unbelievable push for the post-season. When everyone had them pegged as last-place finishers and called for the “blowing up” of the team, the Flames proved their heart and did what everyone said was impossible. They won two out of every three games (or at least got enough points to put themselves into the playoff hunt again) and put themselves back into a playoff position with about 10-15 games remaining in the season. At one point they sat as high as 5th place in the West. Unfortunately, the Flames miraculous run ended tonight when Chicago and Anaheim both won, officially putting them out of the post-season for the 2nd year in a row.
Despite the bad news about the playoffs, the Flames went out on a high note tonight. Jarome Iginla, who was honoured in a pre-game ceremony for notching his 1000th NHL point, had his 12th career a hat-trick and added an assist in the Flames 6-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers. As he’s done so many times in the past, Iggy lead the team on the ice and on the score sheet and treated the fans to a great night. Iggy’s 4-point night ties him with Lanny McDonald in the all-time NHL points race.
Not to be outdone, Miikka Kiprusoff tied his own record with the win tonight. Kipper’s 36th win of the season gives him 262 with the Calgary Flames, which ties Mike Vernon’s record for the all-time wins in a Flames uniform. Miikka has a chance to surpass Vernon’s record when the Flames close out their season in Vancouver on Saturday.
There were other positives to offset the negative tonight. The Flames had goals from Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque, who reached a career-high with 27 goals. Greg Nemisz also notched his first NHL point with his assist on Curtis Glencross’ 24th goal of the season.
Though the Flames season is now officially over, I don’t feel as bitter as I did at the end of last season. Sure, I’m sad that they won’t have a chance to play for the Cup, but I am proud of the way the Flames played in the last half of the season and I can see a lot more positives than negatives. There is a lot of work to do in the off-season, but I’m definitely not ending this season with a sour taste in my mouth. How ’bout you?