Flames Escape Hurricane of a Finish
Well that was different...
Scoring seven or more goals for the first time since Valentines Day last year when they beat the Avalanche 9-1, the Calgary Flames squeaked by the just as desperate Carolina Hurricanes 7-6 on Tuesday night in Calgary.
The offence came alive scoring two in the first, two in the second, and adding on three in third, including Jarome Iginla’s empty net goal which proved to be the eventual winner.
The line of Iginla, Jokinen, and Brendan Morrison combined for 10 points on the night and were the driving force behind a much needed win – regardless of how ugly it got in the dying seconds.
The Flames also threw the 10,000 pound gorilla off their back when Mikael Backlund scored on the power play halfway through the third to break a string of 27 straight chances at home on the man advantage without a single goal – a streak that dates back to October 26th.
Iginla now has six points in his last three games and is showing definite signs of turning on the afterburners, as he always does, and silencing his critics that say he has no gas left in the tank.
The Flames are now 4-1-1 in their last six games and sit only four points out of a playoff spot.
Things are getting better, aren’t they?
Well, in an effort to put a more positive spin on things, as I have been quite angry over the past little while towards the boys in red, I thought I would look at all the good things the Flames have going for them at this point in time instead of harping on the negatives as I tend to do.
The obvious positive is that the team is winning again and seemingly turning it around in time to stay in arms reach of the 8th and final playoff spot.
Scoring is up over this six game span, having potted 22 goals – an average of 3.67 goals per game, which compared to 2.14 average they had in the previous 21 games is a vast and noticeable improvement.
The penalty kill has been perfect tin five of the six games, and the only setback came during the final two period collapse in Vancouver on Sunday night where they allowed a couple PP goals.
The play of TJ Brodie. Simply put, he has the poise of a veteran and looks to be cementing his skates in the Flames line-up for the foreseeable future. This is what everyone saw in the pre-season last fall, before he was sent down to the minors for more professional polishing. In 12 games this season in Flames threads he has a goal and three helpers, and with Mark Giordano out for an extended period he will be leaned on heavily to help this power play find itself again. I for one am excited to see him try.
The topic of Brodie brings me to my next point: the influx of youth in the Flames line-up for the first time in a LONG time.
Brodie (21), Backlund (22), Comeau (25), and Horak (20) are now regulars in the Flames line-up. With the likes of Byron (22) having the odd cup of coffee with the big club, and Leland Irving (23) now backing up Kipper, the youth movement of the Calgary Flames seems to happening just as advertised by GM Jay Feaster. I don’t think I’m alone in this either when I say I would rather see these young players go out and give it everything they have, rather than watching over the hill senior citizens hit the ice and go through the motions like we have been so used to seeing the previous umpteen season in Calgary.
Further to that notion, over the next month, the Flames and their fans will get a glimpse into their future when Max Reinhart and newly minted Michael Ferland do their best to make the Canadian Junior squad. Not to mention the we will get the pleasure of watching the number one prospect in the system Sven Bartschi play for Switzerland and another heavily skilled prospect in Markus Granlund play for Finland.
Markus imitated his older brother Mikael Granlund, who is property of the Minnesota Wild, when he pulled off this ridiculous goal (scroll to about the .25 second mark):
So yeah, things aren’t all doom and gloom in Flames land as much as I make it out to seem sometime. There a lot of positives to look at and a lot of things Flames fans can look forward to in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
Not to say that this team will change its image overnight, as reconstructing this sinking ship will take time, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.