Posts Tagged ‘Northwest Division’

Final Game Plan: Smash Henik Sedin #ABS

Posted 10 Apr 2010 — by admin
Category Northwest Division, Sedin Sisters, Vancouver Canucks

The Calgary Flames play their last game of the season tonight in Vancouver, and there’s really only one thing that matters now: keep Henrik Sedin off the scoresheet. The Canucks pretty boy is in the race for the Art Ross Trophy, trailing Alexander Ovechkin by one point. They both have one game left, so it’s now up to the Flames to keep little Sedin from getting any more points.

Normally I would be cheering against Ovechkin because – as much as he’s an amazing hockey player – I just don’t like him. But when it comes down to Ovechkin vs Sedin (and all those smug Canucks fans) I’ll take Ovechkin any day. I’ll be so happy if Ovechkin finishes ahead of Sedin so all those “Sedin should win the Hart Trophy” idiots can stuff it. The term “Anything But Sedin” has been floating around for a while now, and tonight it’ll be the only thing that matters for me.

At the end of the day, this final game of the regular season has little significance for either team. The Canucks will finish 3rd in the West while the Flames will miss the playoffs. But there is a little pride on the line tonight.  The Canucks would be more than happy to win the final meeting with Calgary to tie their best ever record with 49 wins. The Flames would be happy to take the season series 4-2 while sending the Canucks into the playoffs with some bruises to tend to, no hardware coming… and none expected.

So the game plan is simple. Skate hard, don’t allow any defensive breakdowns and hit anything that has a #33 on it. The rest of it will work itself out. 

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.

90956022JG007_CALGARY_FLAME

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 1 Win Away from Home-Ice in the Playoffs

Posted 06 Apr 2009 — by admin
Category Los Angeles Kings, Northwest Division, Playoff Race, Win, home

Other than the fact that the Flames are back on a 1 game winning streak and now in sole possession of first place in the NW division, I can’t really take too much pleasure in a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings tonight.

Sure, the Flames regained a bit of their scoring touch. Sure, they outshot their opponents 38-24. Sure, they won 4-1 moving them 2 points ahead of the Canucks atop the NW division. And sure… they gave themselves a chance to secure 3rd place in the West with a regulation win in Vancouver tomorrow night… but it was against the Los Angeles Kings. Dare I say it… the “lowly” Los Angeles Kings.

A smashing victory is to be expected when you play a young team that is currently tuning up their golf clubs to get ready for the next 6 months on the golf course.

If the Flames had lost tonight (like the Canucks did in Edmonton last night) I would be very concerned and would seriously consider sounding the “we’re going out in the first round, again” alarm…

…But I’m not.

Despite the fact that the Flames had 2 five-on-three powerplays and still did not score a powerplay goal, it was good to see Jarome Iginla light-it-up with his game-winning 34th goal of the season. It was also nice to see Mike Cammalleri team-up for 2 assists to get himself back on track. This is necessary heading into the post-season as it gives the Flames’ big guns some more confidence.

What was even more enjoyable as a Flames fan was to see the Flames players with smiles on their faces while they sat on the bench. They actually seemed to be having fun again while they were leading.

There has been too much seriousness in the Flames team lately and not enough confident play; not enough of what the Carolina Hurricanes have in their dressing room. In the past 10 games the Flames have been lacking the “we’re unstoppable” attitude which has caused them to lose too many games. And the Flames only have 3 more games to get their confidence back before every win counts.

Some highlights in tonight’s game included David Moss’ 20th goal of the season (way to go Mosser!!) and Jim Vandermeer’s first-ever goal as a Calgary Flame.

The Flames now head to Vancouver to take on the Canucks for the NW division title and home-ice advantage in the playoffs. A regulation win will give the Flames 1st place in the NW division for the playoffs. Puck drop is 8pm tomorrow night.

Thank You Lowly Colorado…

Posted 05 Apr 2009 — by admin
Category Northwest Division, Playoff Race, Vancouver Canucks

…For knocking off the Canucks 4-1 tonight.

I love how every sports broadcaster calls them “the lowly Colorado Avalanche” since they’re not making the playoffs. They do that to every team that is “mathematically out of the post season”. But lowly doesn’t mean they can’t stun the beloved hometown boys and *almost* shut them out… which the Avalanche almost did tonight.

Thanks to Colorado’s win tonight, Flames fans can breathe a little easier as we host Los Angeles tomorrow night. But remember that the Kings aren’t lowly. They are a dominating team (much like San Jose and Detroit) that the Flames must be ready to face. They will surely come out energized and ready to play.

After tonight’s action the Flames sit in 3rd in the West, tied for points with the Canucks, but with 1-game at hand, and a 2-win advantage over the Canucks. This should make for a good end to the season.

Playoff Race: What’s The Difference?

Posted 16 Mar 2009 — by admin
Category Flames, Northwest Division, Playoff Race

What’s the difference between 5 wins, anyway?

The way the standings sit right now, for the Flames, the difference between 5 wins means missing the playoffs or winning the Northwest Division title.

If that doesn’t seem right, allow me to explain. The only team that has secured a playoff spot as of today is Detroit. The Red Wings got their 101st point (and 9th consecutive 100+ point season) with their win in Columbus last night. Mathematically, the 9th Place team (Nashville) cannot catch Detroit, even if they won every single one of their last 13 games to finish their season.

The Flames, with 86 points would need 7 more wins to reach the 100 point plateau and secure a playoff berth. A combination of Flames wins or Nashville losses would make that number decrease.

The Vancouver Canucks beat Colorado last night, moving them to within 5 points of the Flames for the lead atop the Northwest Division. To guarantee 1st place in the NW, and secure 3rd place in the West heading into the playoffs, Calgary would need 12 of 13 wins to finish the season. Again, a combination of Flames wins and Canuck losses would achieve the same result.

But it’s interesting to see how things shape up each year. After a 7-game, make-or-break road trip and 13 games remaining in the season, the difference between missing the playoffs and being top in the NW is 5 wins. Ten points.

Since the probability of the 7th-9th place teams winning all of their next 12-13 games is pretty slim, the realistic numbers look a bit different. Realistically the Flames need about 5 more wins to secure a playoff spot, and about 8 wins to finish in 1st in the NW division.

Oh what a difference a road-trip win in Toronto and Atlanta would have made!

Roberto Luongo, Captain Canuck

Posted 30 Sep 2008 — by admin
Category Goaltender, Northwest Division, Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

canucks_team_photo
I’m sure you all remember the photo of the 2007 Vancouver Canucks playoff team that were passed around the internet shortly after they made an early exit in after the 2nd round. It featured a photoshopped Canucks team photo that left one player in the middle of the bench all by himself. The player was their best player in the Playoffs, and the main reason they made it to the 2nd round. The player was Roberto Luongo.

Well, now it’s official. The best player on the Vancouver Canucks has been named their Captain. Though he won’t be able to wear the ‘C’ on his jersey because of NHL rules, Luongo will be the Captain of the Vancouver Canuck. I guess it makes some kind of sense that he will be their new Captain after Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison and Trevor Linden all left (or retired) after last season. The ‘nucks don’t really have much leadership left on the ice or in the dressing room. Short of them going out and poaching Ryan Smyth from Colorado, they don’t really have much choice.

It will be interesting to watch how it all works itself out during the season, though. According to TSN.ca there have only been 6 other Captain/goalies in NHL history. A quick Wikipedia search shows that Luongo will be the 5th goalie to be awarded the ‘C’ (but not be permitted to wear it).

I’m sure Luongo feels proud to be the team captain. But he’s also got to be pretty pissed off about where the Canucks have gone since he came to them 2 years ago. They were a top contender in the NW division, and have now regressed further back than Luongo’s Florida Panthers ever were. If I was him, I’d be saying, “When is somone actually going to give me a team?”

Flames Head to Playoffs on a Win

Posted 05 Apr 2008 — by admin
Category Northwest Division, Road, Vancouver Canucks, Western Conference, Win

Calgary……7
Vancouver1

Jarome Iginla netted his 50th goal of the season as the Calgary flames rolled to a 7-1 victory in Vancouver for their final game of the season. Iginla double, and triple-shifted with almost every line on the team, and eventually got his 50th on a close-in shot. He added 2 assists to bring his season total to a career-high 98 points.

The win puts Calgary temporarily in 6th spot in the Western Conference, pending the result of the Minnesota-Colorado game tomorrow night.

After the game, the Canucks held a skate-around ceremony for Trevor Linden who is expected to retire soon. Calgary Captain Jarome Iginla lead the whole team (some of whom came back onto the ice from the dressing room) to shake hands with Linden.

Scoring Summary

1st Period
CGY: Moss A: Nystrom
VAN: Ritchie A:Rypien
CGY: Huselius A: Lombardi, Regehr
CGY: Nystrom A: Moss

2nd Period
CGY: Boyd A: Iginla, Hale

3rd Period
CGY: Tanguay A: Langkow, Iginla
CGY: Iginla (50) A: Nystrom, Primeau
CGY: Nystrom A: Primeau

Avalanche Beat Flames in Overtime

Posted 26 Oct 2007 — by admin
Category Colorado Avalanche, Loss, Northwest Division, Western Conference, home

Calgary…..2
Colorado3


When are the Calgary Flames going to stop letting the Colorado Avalanche come back late in the game to steal points?

With a 2-1 lead, and less than 5 minutes left in the game, the Calgary Flames self-distructed and handed 2 points to the Avalanche by letting them score to tie the game, and once more in overtime to win.

Except for the last 5 minutes of the game, the Flames dominated the Avalanche, hitting them, outplaying them, and outshooting them 41-22. They were far more cohesive as a team but could not make it count in the end.

It was unfortunate that 2 questionable calls went against the Flames, and cost them the regulation win. Midway through the 3rd period, Alex Tanguay shot on the puck on net and it trickled through Avs goalie Jose Theodore and crossed the goal line. Referee Michael (Mick) McGeough blew the whistle right as the puck was about to cross the line… so the goal was waved-off. This would have put the Flames up 3-1 and given them some insurance, but instead it killed their confidence.

A few minutes later, as an Avalanche powerplay expired, Colorado’s Brett Clarke shot the puck towards the Calgary net as Marek Svatos appeared to trip Robyn Regehr. With Regehr on the ice, Svatos jumped on the rebound and was able to bash the puck past Miikka Kiprusoff. The goal tied the game at 2-2. It was an ugly play that tied the game and swung the momentum in Colorado’s favour.

In Overtime, with Dion Phaneuf trapped in the offensive corner, Colorado’s Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth broke out on a 2-on-1. Kiprusoff played the shot, but adrian Aucoin was unable to stop Sakic’s tape-to-tape pass to Smyth, who deflected the puck into the net.

It was a tough loss for the Flames, who have now dropped 6 straight games to the Avalanche. The single point keeps Calgary (13pts) ahead of Colorado (12pts) in the NW Division.

The Flames host the Nashville Predators next Tuesday and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday before heading out on the road for 2 games.

Keenan’s post game comments (on NHL TV)

Scoring Summary

1st Period
COL: Sakic A: Wolski, Brunette
CGY: Tanguay A: Langkow, Aucoin

2nd Period
CGY: Lombardi A: Moss, Hale

3rd Period
COL: Svatos A: Clark, Cumisky

Overtime
COL: Smyth A: Sakic, Clark

Another Win for the Flames in Vancouver

Posted 01 Apr 2007 — by admin
Category Road, Vancouver Canucks, Win, division, home

Calgary…..3
Vancouver..2


Seeing the Colorado Avalanche so close behind has scared the Calgary Flames into playing their best hockey of the season.

Daymond Langkow had a goal and two assists, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves as the Flames moved closer to clinching a playoff spot with a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Kristian Huselius had a goal and an assist, and Craig Conroy also scored as Calgary remained seven points ahead of Colorado for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Flames have won six straight since Colorado closed within four points two weeks ago, and can clinch by beating the Avalanche in Calgary on Tuesday, one of two remaining head-to-head matchups.

“The big thing is Colorado is right there so it feels like playoff time already,” Conroy said.

The Flames had lost five of six before the recent turnaround. They were also one of the worst teams on the road, but have now won a season-high four straight away from home.

“We knew we were in a tight spot and battling for a playoff position, and fortunately we were able to pick up our game,” Langkow said. “It’s because we’re playing a lot better defensively.”

Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund made it close as the Canucks outshot Calgary 18-3 in the third period before losing in regulation for just the second time in 15 games (11-2-2). Still, they remained three points ahead of Minnesota atop the Northwest Division.

“Obviously they’re battling for their lives right now and I think we came out a little flat to start the game and they were hungrier than us,” said Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo, who made 15 saves.

Morrison ended Kiprusoff’s shutout bid 6:37 into the third, and Naslund pulled the Canucks within one by scoring a controversial power-play goal with 3:54 left.

With the puck lying on the goal line during a wild scramble, Naslund appeared to miss it with a lunging attempt with his stick. It went in as he jammed at it with his glove. Replays showed the puck didn’t go over the line until a diving Kiprusoff hit it with his blocker.

The Flames goalie made up for it by robbing Daniel Sedin from the top of the crease with 6.8 seconds left to preserve the win.

“It was pretty tough third period, we took too many penalties,” Kiprusoff said. “We can’t do that this time of year but have to be happy. It’s a big two points for us. Every game for a long time now has been big, and we still need to win.”

Both teams were missing key defensemen. The Canucks continued to play without top-three defenders Sami Salo (groin) and Mattias Ohlund (elbow cut), while second-year Flames standout Dion Phaneuf missed a second straight game with the flu.

Their absence certainly didn’t take any emotion out of the game. Calgary captain Jarome Iginla and defenseman Willie Mitchell dropped the gloves for a spirited scrap during a post-whistle line change just 2:34 in, sparking a melee that featured lots of pushing and left the ice littered with equipment.

“That’s why he’s our captain,” said Langkow, who opened the scoring a minute and a half later. “It was definitely an emotional boost for us.”

Langkow set up Conroy for a tap-in on a short-handed 2-on-1 1:31 into the second, and Huselius made it 3-0 on a power play at 3:58, setting up Iginla in the slot.

“The first 25 minutes we had some pretty bad breakdowns in our own zone and it’s tough to come back from 3-0,” Luongo said.

Kiprusoff continued a stellar stretch at the other end. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner has stopped 175 of 184 shots during the six-game winning streak. He got a shoulder on Naslund’s shot during a 2-on-1 and stopped Daniel Sedin in tight early.

Kiprusoff also got help from defenseman Andrei Zyuzin, who got a stick on Naslund’s wraparound toward an empty net. Matt Cooke beat him from in close midway through the second but hit the post with a shot.

Scoring Summary

1st Period
CGY: Langkow (32) A: Huselius

2nd Period
CGY: Conroy (13) A: Langkow, Regehr
CGY: Huselius (33) A: Iginla, Langkow

3rd Period
VAN: Morrison (20) A: Cooke
VAN: Naslund (23) A

Calgary Still Can’t Win on the Road

Posted 15 Dec 2006 — by admin
Category Loss, Road, Vancouver Canucks

Calgary……1
Vancouver..3

The Vancouver Canucks took a stand against Calgary, helped by the fact the Flames were playing on the road.

Henrik Sedin put the Canucks ahead late in the second period and Brendan Morrison added an insurance goal 8:40 into the third to lift Vancouver to a 3-1 victory over the Flames that was viewed by some Canucks as a must-win game.

Mattias Ohlund also scored and Roberto Luongo made 21 saves as the Canucks won consecutive games for the first time in more than three weeks, and beat a Northwest Division rival for just the third time all season (3-8-1).

“Our players didn’t shy away from the challenge,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “Since (Wednesday) everybody mentioned this was a must game, a statement game, an important game. They knew we had to find a way to win this and they took the challenge head on, played one of our best games of the year.”

Matthew Lombardi scored for the Flames, who won a franchise-record 10th straight home game on Tuesday night, but have lost five straight on the road. The Flames have five more away games before going home.

“I don’t think we kept it as simple on the road as we have to keep it,” coach Jim Playfair said. “We turned a lot of pucks over and gave up too many quality scoring chances. It’s about working hard and sticking to our system.”

The Flames did enough to generate eight power-play chances in a penalty filled game, but couldn’t beat Luongo, who was at his best with his team short-handed.

Playing for the 31st time in 32 games, Luongo won a matchup of the NHL’s busiest goaltenders. He got a break when Dion Phaneuf hit a post and more help when Willie Mitchell kept Daymond Langkow from shooting into an empty net on a power play rebound. He made several sparkling saves against Phaneuf, Langkow, Tony Amonte and Jarome Iginla.

“Louie was as big part of it, but the penalty kill was really sharp,” Canucks captain Markus Naslund said. “It wasn’t a pretty game, but we needed it badly. We struggled against our own division and this was a key win for us.”

Luongo also got a lot of help from Mitchell and defensive partner Kevin Bieksa, who teamed up to keep Calgary s top line of Langkow between Iginla and Alex Tanguay off the scoresheet after the trio combined for 31 points in six games.

Langkow’s point streak was snapped at nine games.

Calgary scored a short-handed goal one minute into the second period after a soft back check from Naslund allowed Lombardi to gather a loose puck inside the Vancouver zone and cut unchecked to the net.

“I hesitated because I thought he was going to pass it to the guy coming late and then I got caught flat-footed so I take responsibility for that,” said Naslund, who made up for the mistake by setting up Ohlund’s goal 1:44 later.

Henrik Sedin put Vancouver ahead on a 2-on-1 pass from twin brother Daniel, a rush that was set up when Jamie Lundmark missed the net on a 2-on-1 break at the other end. The goal, with 2:29 left in the second, was Henrik’s first in 13 games.

Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started 27 of 29 games, was equally sharp with 23 saves. He went sliding to rob Daniel Sedin on a rebound, then stopping his shot from the slot as the Flames killed a lengthy 5-on-3 early in the third period.

“Luongo made some very timely saves as far as power plays and I thought Kipper did too in the third to give us a chance,” said Iginla, who failed to score a goal for the first time in seven games. “We can be better than that, we can skate better than that and we can move the puck better than we did.”

Morrison finally doubled the lead on a 3-on-2 rush, one-timing Matt Cooke’s cross-ice pass from the high slot into the top corner past Kiprusoff’s glove. Morrison’s sixth point in four games put the Canucks over the two-goal mark for a fourth straight game, something they managed only twice in the previous 16.

Game Highlights from YouTube

Scoring Summary

1st Period
No Scoring

2nd Period
CGY: Lombardi (10) A: Friesen, Ference
VAN: Ohlund (4) A: Naslund, Kesler
VAN: Sedin (4) A: Sedin

3rd Period
VAN: Morrison (8) A: Cooke, Mitchell