Archive for the ‘Road’ Category

Flames Keep The Dream Alive in Washington

Posted 28 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Bourque, Calgary Flames, Hagman, Ovechkin, Road, Stajan, Washington Capitals, White, Win
Flames Capitals Hockey

After a dismal game in Boston yesterday, the Calgary Flames proved their doubters wrong by showing that they still do have something left in the tank by beating the league-leading Washington Capitals 5-3 this afternoon.

Finally showing the ‘desperation’ that a team in their situation should, the Flames scored 3 goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, and added 1 more before the first period was finished. The 4-goal cushion was enough for the flames as they held off the potently offensive Capitals on their way to another much-needed win. Rene Bourque was definitely the player of the game, scoring the 5th goal to re-establish a 3-goal lead and adding 2 assists in the game. Always one to show up for a game, Alex Ovechkin scored the Capital’s first goal early in the 2nd period and added an assist for his 100th point of the season.

As the regular season winds down, the Flames and Capitals are in such different positions that it’s not surprising the future President’s Trophy winners didn’t show up for the first 2 periods of this game. The Capitals clinched a playoff spot a couple weeks ago, and are pretty much guaranteed to finish with the best record in the NHL – barring any major screw ups. By contrast, the Flames have been hanging onto a thin, splintered rope with one hand for the last 3 weeks. They should have been climbing that rope, but they seemed content to hang out hoping that someone would pull them up.

Today’s win (and Colorado’s loss) now leaves the Flames 4 points back of the Avalanche for 8th spot in the West with 6 games left. The Avalanche have one game at hand over the Flames, so it’s an understatement to say that they must win their final 6 games if they have a hope of squeaking into the playoffs.

The Flames now return home for a game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday.

Sens steal Flames mojo, But I’m not worried

Posted 09 Feb 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Hagman, Loss, Ottawa Senators, Road, Stajan
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The Calgary Flames have got to be getting frustrated. They are playing well; they are getting consistently excellent goaltending; and they are seeing some added chemistry from their new players. But they aren’t getting any lucky bounces these days. This evening, the Ottawa Senators stole the Flames mojo as they bounced their way to a 3-2 win.

Though the Flames controlled the play for much of the first 2 periods, the Sens had the help of 2 lucky bounces to score 2 of their 3 goals at Scotiabank Centre tonight. The first Sens goal banged off 2 Flames players on its way from Alex Kovalev’s stick to the net. Jarkko Ruuto was the recipient of the 2nd lucky bounce on Ottawa’s second goal. The puck took a fortuitous bounce off Adam Pardy and right onto Ruutu’s stick in front of a “Kiprusoff-less” open net. The only Sens goal that was far enough from garbage to be considered a legitimate goal-scorer’s goal was the game winner by Jason Spezza.

Bad bounces and mojo aside, the Flames new line combinations seem to be getting something going. The newly formed top line of Hagman, Stajan and Iginla scored both Flames goals and converted for a total of 6 points. They seem to have found some chemistry and are playing very well together. The addition of Hagman and Stajan has taken some pressure off Iggy, since all 3 of them can score a goal at any time.

Despite the loss, the Flames return from their 3-game mini-road trip with 3 points. They are busting out of their slump and they are starting to play consistently good hockey. Though they’ve lost more games than they’ve won recently, they are actually playing well. Now they need to get some bounces and mojo going their way.

A good road win

Posted 06 Feb 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Giordano, Kotalik, Road, Win
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Note: This was supposed to be published last night, but my computer and internet voted 2-1 against me on that plan.

Three of the newest Flames had points tonight as Calgary rolled through Florida and won the first game of their 3-game road trip. Ales Kotalik scored his first Flames goal on the powerplay with an assist going to Niklas Hagman. After the Panthers tied the game with a bouncing goal, Ian White set up Mark Giordano for the game-winning goal on the powerplay. The Flames played a tight game and held the Panthers to only 13 shots on net as they won their 2nd consecutive game with relative ease. The 13 shots against is a season-low for Calgary.

The new Flames (soon we’ll be able to call them just the “Flames”) seem to be gelling after a couple days together. They are finding line combinations that work and certain players are finding chemistry together. Matt Stajan has a lot of creativity and has been playing very well with Jarome Iginla and Niklas Hagman. Even Kotalik seems to be playing with some enthusiasm since coming to the Flames.

All the pessimists have cooled down over the past 2 games, and the general feeling of optimism is coming back to Flames fans. I suppose it’s natural now that the team has won a couple consecutive games afer losing so many in a row.

I wouldn’t say that Flames head coach, Brent Sutter, was happy with the game, but he did admit that it was “a good road win” since his team only allowed 13 shots on Miikka Kiprusoff. Let’s see if the Flames can get another good road win in Tampa tomorrow night to keep this streak going.

Flames win in Vancouver while overcoming a laser

Posted 10 Jan 2010 — by admin
Category Bourque, Calgary Flames, Lundmark, Road, Vancouver Canucks, Win, shootout

Despite the fact that some idiot in Vancouver thought it would be a good idea to shine a laser in Miikka Kiprusoff’s eyes all night, the Flames won 3-2 in the shootout, regaining their lead atop the Northwest Division and proving that they are the tougher team, mentally and physically.
Flames Canucks Hockey
Anyone who watched tonight would agree that this was one of the best games so far this NHL season. The Flames and Canucks both came out hitting, and played a very physical game to decide who would end up in 1st place in the NW division. The Canucks ended up with the short straw, after their captain gave up 3 goals in the shootout following an exciting game at GM Place. This was the first time in a long time where the Flames scored on all of their shootout opportunities, and they needed all 3 goal to secure the win.

This is a rivalry that is slowly proceeding towards “primary rival status” for the Flames. Calgary is one of the few teams in the NHL that has 2 legitimate rivals, and since the Edmonton Oilers have tanked this season, the Canucks have emerged as the primary rival for the Flames. It is well known that the Flames and Oilers had a great rivalry throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but since then the Canucks have emerged as the stronger team, they seem to be making a case to earn the distinction as the Flames’ primary rival.

Each time that the Flames or Canucks have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals (or won the cup, in the Flames case), they have played each other in the playoffs. Whether they like it or not, the Canucks and the Flames seem to be linked somehow. Their link extends to the playoffs, but it also seems to be evident in the regular season.
Flames Canucks Hockey
Tonight, the Flames and Canucks engaged in an epic battle that included 2 fights between Brandon Prust and Rick Rypien. It was evident from the beginning that the better goaltender would win, and tonight that goaltender was Miikka Kiprusoff. Kipper stopped 19 of 21 shots in regulation and one shot in the shootout. Canucks Captain , Roberto Luongo allow 2 goals in the first 3 periods and let in all 3 shots in shootout. Jamie Lundmark scored the winner for the Flames in the shootout as well as his 2nd period goal that tied the game at 2-2.

Rene Bourque opened the scoring for the Flames 9:36 into the 1st period on a nice drive to the net. He shot the puck over Luongo’s glove hand to take the 1-0 Lead. The Canucks answered with goals from Mikael Samuelsson in the first, and Daniel Sedin in the 2nd to take a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period.

The game went back and forth in the 3rd before Prust and Rypien’s second fight of the night. Seconds after the major penalties were assesed to the 2 fighters, Lundmark slipped a sneaky shot past Luongo to tie the game at 2-2.

Both teams pressed for the winning goal but Kipper and Luongo wouldn’t let anything into the net before the Shootout. Nigel Dawes and Kyle Wellwood both scored in the first round of the shootout. Olli Jokinen scored in the 2nd round before Ryan Kesler was stopped by Kiprusoff. Mayson Raymond scored in the 3nd round of the shootout but it was all for naught as Lundmark beat Luongo to win the game for the Flames.

Calgary has played 5 games in the past 7 days, winning 3 of those games. They continue at home next week against Colorado, Pittsburgh and Nashville.

December Hasn’t Been Friendly to the Flames

Posted 28 Dec 2009 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Commentary, Road, Win

I’ve taken a bit of flack from my friends for not updating my blog for 3 weeks, but really, if I could have chosen a better 3 weeks to take a mini-break from the Flames (because I was sooo busy!) this would have been it. Since my last post 3 weeks ago, the Flames have gone 3-4-2 and dropped from first in the NW (2nd in the West) to 6th in the West and only 1 point ahead of Vancouver in the race for 2nd in the NW (is this really a race?!!).

The Calgary Flames have had a dismal December, going 4-6-2 after dominating their opponents during the month of November. They weren’t able to score when they needed to and they gave points away to teams that they should have beaten. Sure, they beat the league-leading, San Jose Sharks 2-1 on December 5th, but that was the last good game they played. It’s no secret that the Flames have December issues, and they need to either get over them, or get onto January.

The Flames have 2 more games before we put up the 2010 calender, and they really need 2 wins. They play the LA Kings on Wednesday and follow it up with the annual New Year’s Eve Battle of Alberta vs. the Oilers on Dec 31. Both games are at home, which would normally be good news to Flames fans, however, the Saddledome has been a curse for the Flames this year. The Flames need to find a way to win at home after going 9-7-2 at the ‘Dome so far this season (their road record is 12-5-3).
Flames Oilers Hockey
Tonight was a good start for the Flames, but the majority of us fans don’t seem convinced that it’s anything to get riled up about. Calgary played a decent game and beat Edmonton 4-1, buoyed by Rene Bourque’s 3 goals. They seemed to get back to “Sutter basics” in the win, playing like we expect them to and frustrating the Oilers for the majority of the game. They handed the Oilers their 7th loss in a row (yes, I’m smiling as I write these words) and moved back into the win column for the first time since December 17. But we’re still skeptical. December isn’t over and we’ve still got 2 games left.

Miikka Kiprusoff rebounded from the 4-goal, first period debaucle against the Canucks last night with a solid performance in net for the Flames. He stopped 34 of 35 shots in the win, including at 5 ‘great’ saves. Kipper has been one of the few Flames players to have any consistency throughout December. The rest of the team has gone cold, and there has been little to get them back into the groove.

The Calgary Flames are now at a point where they need to make a move. Their consistency issues are still a problem and they need to find a solution soon. If Iggy et al aren’t going to score on a consistent basis, the secondary scorers need to recognize when it’s time to step up and start putting pucks in the net. It seems that Kipper is set for another Vezina run this season, but the rest of the team needs to do their part now. This kind of December play won’t be tolerated very long in Calgary.

Kings Send Flames Home With a Loss

Posted 08 Dec 2009 — by admin
Category Flames, Glencross, Los Angeles Kings, Loss, Road

Flames Kings Hockey
The Los Angeles Kings have surprised many people this season by fighting their way from the NHL’s basement into playoff contention. They continued their fight at home against the Calgary Flames tonight, and gained another 2 points as they sent the Flames packing after beating them 2-1.

Tonight’s game marks the end of the Flames’ season-high, 6-game road trip, which came at a time when the Flames were playing their best hockey while occupying the visitor’s bench. The 11-day road trip was overwhelmingly successful as the Flames took 8 of a total 12 points, beating San Jose, Detroit, Nashville and Columbus along the way. Miikka Kiprusoff registered 2 shutouts and the Flames outshot their opponents 16-8.

Tonight, the Flames played incredibly well, but were stopped by a hot goaltender (Jonathan Quick) and some stingy forechecking by the Kings. Rookie Scott Parse opened the scoring for the Kings with a Bobby Orr-like goal. The Flames tied it up just over 6 minutes later when Curtis Glencross backhanded a shot into the Kings net.

The dagger in the Flames back came while killing a penalty. With Craig Conroy in the box for tripping, the Flames couldn’t get the puck out of their own end and it turned into a shooting gallery. While Calgary scrambled around the ice, the Los Angeles powerplay unit fired shot-after-shot at Miikka Kiprusoff, eventually beating him on a redirect in front of the net.

The Flames had plenty of chances to tie the game in the 2nd and 3rd periods but could not beat Quick. The young Kings goalie was “in the zone” tonight and seemed to get a pad on everything that came his way. Even when the Flames had 2 or 3 chances to whack at a rebound, he still managed to keep the puck out of the net.

The Flames return home tonight and will have a day to rest before playing the Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday.

Flames Set 2 Records in Nashville

Posted 30 Nov 2009 — by admin
Category Nashville Predators, Road, Shutout, Win, record

The Calgary Flames set two team records tonight when they stomped on the Predators 5-0 in Nashville. The Flames put together a complete team effort to bowl over the previously hot Predators and finish the month of November in historic fashion.Flames Predators Hockey
Miikka Kiprusoff recorded his 2nd shutout in a row as the Flames completed their biggest November in franchise history by taking 22 of 28 points in the month. They also set a team record by getting points in 10 straight road games.

After a scoreless first period, David Moss scored the eventual game winner on a breakaway 1:32 into the 2nd period. About 3 minutes later, Nigel Dawes scored his 4th goal in 4 games on a nice feed from the corner by Jarome Iginla. Adam Pardy scored his first goal since opening night, Curtis Glencross added a short handed empty netter and Jarome Iginla sealed his status as “Captain Fantastic” by scoring his 13th goal (and 20th point) in the month of November.

The story told by the scoreboard sometimes doesn’t jive with what actually happens on the ice. However, tonight was not one of those nights. The Flames dominated the Predators all over the ice, and earned the 2 points. They took away space from the Preds and capitalized on 2 powerplay opporunities. They successfully killed off 3 penalties and were solid in front of Mikka Kiprusoff, helping him get his league-leading 3rd shutout of the season.

The Flames actually received some praise from their head coach, Brent Sutter. “We did a real good job of playing smart hockey,” he said. “Our puck management was very good. We were able to capitalize in the third period and get three goals. I would say it was a very good effort on everyone’s part.”

The Flames remain in 1st spot in the Northwest Division, two points ahead of Colorado. They also moved 2 points ahead of Chicago to take over sole possesion of 2nd place in the Western Conference. The Flames next game is on Thursday in Phoenix.

November is Friendly to the Flames

Posted 29 Nov 2009 — by admin
Category Flames, Iginla, Northwest Division, November, Road
NHL Coyotes Flames 20091125

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.

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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.

Flames Win in Toronto for First Time Since 2000

Posted 14 Nov 2009 — by admin
Category Iginla, Phaneuf, Regehr, Road, Toronto Maple Leafs, Win

I suppose that Flames fans should be happy that they won tonight, taking their first 2 points away from Toronto since 2000. But after the way they played, I’m not sure we can be so happy. Sure the Flames took 5 of a total 6 points on their 3-game road trip through the eastern conference, but they didn’t finish on a high note.

The Leafs out-hustled the Flames for much of the game, including the entire 2nd period and much of the 3rd period. If it wasn’t for the continued stellar play of Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 38 of 40 shots, the Flames could have easily lost to the 2nd worst team in the league tonight.

I don’t mean to put down the Toronto Maple Leafs – their fans and media have done that enough already – but the Flames should have dominated the Leafs tonight. The final 5-2 score doesn’t do the game justice, and could have easily been the other way. The Flames were lucky to get the win tonight, and should be happy with the 2 points.

The game’s highlights were 2 goals from Jarome Iginla, including the game winner, and a +4 rating for Robyn Regehr who struggled at the beginning of the season with his plus-minus rating. Regehr’s defensive partner, Dion Phaneuf was also +3 tonight, which seems to indicate that the two seem to have found a way to play together.

Eric Nystrom, Dustin Boyd and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for the Flames who are now 12-4-2 on the season. Francois Beauchemin and Matt Stajan scored for the Leafs who fall to 3-10-5.

The Flames return home for games against Colorado (Tuesday) and Chicago (Thursday) next week.

Kipper Shuts Out the Canadiens

Posted 11 Nov 2009 — by admin
Category Iginla, Montreal Canadiens, Phaneuf, Road, Shutout, Win

The Calgary Flames had not won a game in Montreal in 9 years, but that changed tonight when Miikka Kiprusoff shut out the Habs for his first shutout and 10th win of the season. The Flames goaltender has been the team’s best player for the past few games and made some spectacular saves to maintain the 1-0 win tonight.

Jarome Iginla scored the only goal of the game with 5:05 remaining in the first period. It was his 5th goal in 4 games, which gives him 9 on the season. Iginla, nicknamed “Mr. November” by some fans has a history of playing well in the second month of the season. He’s leading the team on and off the ice and

The Canadiens have now lost 3 consecutive games on home ice and their fans are not too happy. They gave it a good effort tonight, so their fans have to recognize that much. It was also a very entertaining game to watch. In fact, tonight’s game was one of the most exciting games I’ve seen between Calgary and Montreal since Game 6 of the 1989 Stanley Cup finals.

Sure that’s setting the bar high, but this game was really that good. There were fights, hits and scoring chances galore. Both teams played with energy and tenacity, and never let up. The best 2 minutes of the game came while Brandon Prust and Maxime Lapierre were in the penalty box. The 2 minutes of 4-on-4 play that followed was unbelieveable! Both teams had 2 good scoring chances, including Scott Gomez who had a breakaway on Miikka Kiprusoff. Habs goalie Jaroslav Halak played awesome and kept his team in the game right to the end.

The notable player for the Flames tonight was Dion Phaneuf. He brought a physical presence to the game that is reminiscent of years past. He laid 2 solid hits on Habs players in the first and second periods and hit everything in green (yes, the Habs were wearing green!) pants.

The Flames look to extend their winning streak to 5 games when they visit Buffalo on Friday.