Ragin' Stajan: Flames sink Sharks in OT
Matt Stajan stayed red hot for the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night potting the overtime game winner to give the Flames a gargantuan 3-2 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks.
Now maybe ‘red hot’ is exaggerating a bit, but given the centerman’s horrendous season thus far, I would say that ‘red hot’ might be just right.
The goal gives Stajan points in four straight games, something he hasn’t done since November of 2010, and points in seven of his last 10 contests. The point influx has come coincidentally at, or around, the time where he was promoted to center the first line with Iginla and Tanguay, but he has been working hard all year, so kudos to a guy who doesn’t have a lot of fans in this city.
The Flame, who have now won four straight, were also buoyed by junior sensation Sven Baertschi who opened the scoring for the Flames with a nifty roof job 5:46 into the second frame. The 19-year-old was all over the ice tonight and filled in nicely when needed after Curtis Glencross was ejected from the game in the first period for a marginal boarding call. The call just put a stamp on what was probably the worst officiated game ( both refs and linesmen) this season. The proverbial “REF, YOU SUCK!” chant came out tonight and it was well deserved. But, I digress.
Baertschi has been impressive in his three games with the Flames, and none more so than tonight. It’s a great sign of things to come for the Flames as he should figure to be a regular next season. It’s just too bad he will most likely be sent back to Portland in the next week once the Flames injured players start to heal. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I’m assuming since he was an emergency call-up from junior, that when a certain number of Flames players are healthy than they will be forced to send him back. Maybe someone can help me on this one.
However, depending on how Portland does in the WHL playoffs, we might just see the Swiss sensation back in Calgary sooner rather than later.
The Flames are now tied with not one, not two, but three other teams for the 8th and final playoff spot, and find themselves one point back of the Phoenix Coyotes, who just so happen to be in Calgary on Thursday night.
The Sharks hold a game in hand on the Flames, while the Avs have played one more than Calgary. LA and the Flames have both played 70 games each.
The Flames, as stated above, welcome the Coyotes into the Dome on Thursday night for the fourth and final meeting of the season.
The Flames are 1-0-2 against the ‘Yotes this season. The good news is that Phoenix will be in Vancouver on Wednesday night meaning they should be a little tired heading into the back half of back-to-back games. It will also be the first of back-to-backs for Calgary as they will travel up the QEII highway on Friday to tangle with the Oilers. A game in which you should see Leland Irving recalled from Abbotsford to give Kipper a night off, as Henrik Karlsson has lost his back-up netminding role.
· The Flames are 5-1-1 in March
· They have been outshot in 5 of the 7 games in March and in 16 of the last 18 games overall.
· The Flames rank dead last in Face offs winning only 45.6% of draws.
· They won only 42% of draws on Tuesday night vs. the Sharks and Jarome Iginla, who takes a lot of draws despite playing the wing, was 0-for-7 on the night.
· Going back the last couple of seasons here is where the Flames rank in face-offs:
· 2010-11: 24th – 48.2%
· 2009-10: 28th – 48%
· 2008-09: 10th – 51.3% (funny enough the last time the Flames made the playoffs)
Winning face-offs means more time with the puck, which means more shots on goal, which means more scoring chances, which means more goals, which usually translates into more wins.
It’s not a hard thing to spot, yet the Flames have had trouble winning draws for the better part of three seasons.