The Flames continued their push for the NHL playoffs with a game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Now one of the biggest surprises of this year’s NHL Regular Season has been the play of the Phoenix Coyotes. They currently sit 4th in the Western Conference, a seat no one expected them to hold. Hell, barely anyone expected them to be near the playoffs. Instead they find themselves fighting for top spot in the Western Conference. How’s that for a shocker?
So the Flames were indeed going in to play a top team of the west, so why were their confidence levels high? Well the Calgary Flames generally have their fair share of luck against the Phoenix Coyotes. They generally perform well when playing the Coyotes and usually leave the game with a win. Exactly what they did against them last night, went in with 2 points on their minds and left with exactly that.
This game was mainly a display of great goaltending from two great goalies, Jason LaBarbera and Miikka Kiprusoff, but in the end one let up and the other team’s offense took advantage of that.
Let’s check out the scoring from this great game of NHL hockey.
The first period would not contain any scoring in it. Both teams managed to keep it at a deadlock. Goalies did great in the first period. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 9 shots thrown at him, while LaBarbera stopped all 11 shots he faced. With that we went on to the second waiting to see which team cracks that all important, first goal.
14: 23 into the second period, Calgary would finally break the deadlock in this one and score the game’s first goal. The young and talented, Rene Bourque put the puck past LaBarbera to make the score 1-0 for the Calgary Flames. Boy where they ever glad to see that puck in the back of the net. The assists came from Ian White and Jay Bouwmeester. With that the second period finished with the Flames up by a goal and Kiprusoff holding on to a shutout performance.
With the start of the second period, Calgary would add on to their lead. They scored another one early on to make it 2-0 for Calgary. Ales Kotalik scored the goal for Calgary at 3: 46. The assist came from Mikael Backlund. The Calgary Flames certainly had to like their position in the hockey game, up 2-0 with the seconds slowly ticking away. The win seemed almost certain.
Phoenix would respond with a goal of their own though. Miikka Kiprusoff’s shutout performance ended. At 13: 08 Lee Stempniak beat Miikka Kiprusoff to cut it to a 1 goal lead for the Calgary Flames. The assists came from Wojtek Wolski and Matthieu Schneider. However, the Coyotes couldn’t manage to do any more than that. The final score, Flames 2, Coyotes 1.
With that the Flames playoff dreams became that much brighter. The win moves them within 2 points of the Colorado Avalanche and looking at how Colorado has been playing, that’s a really good thing. Colorado has dropped 3 straight games I believe and only has 1 game in hand on the Flames. Realistically speaking, with the Flames being much hotter than the Colorado Avalanche we might just see one more Canadian team in the playoffs.
Miikka Kiprusoff got the job done tonight, despite not posting a shutout, he played an amazing game finishing with an incredible save percentage (as mentioned before). He really stood out in this one and showed why exactly Calgary can prove to be that underdog team to look out for come playoff time.
Only five more games are left for our Calgary Flames, 4 of which are not going to be easy to get through. It’s well documented how tough they rest of the Flames schedule is going to be and it is indeed true. But they have proven they can take down the top teams no sweat. However one of the weaker teams they have struggled against recently has been Minnesota and they have a game against the Wild in these final 5 games of the season. Although I’m sure they can beat the Wild, the doubts remain in my mind about that one.
Calgary Flames’ next 5 opponents of the NHL season:
Friday vs. Colorado Avalanche (4/2/10)
Sunday vs. Chicago Blackhawks (4/4/10)
Tuesday vs. San Jose Sharks (4/6/10)
Thursday vs. Minnesota Wild (4/8/10)
Saturday vs. Vancouver Canucks (4/10/10)
That’s right, you are not misreading things. The Calgary Flames next game is against the 8th place, Colorado Avalanche. I can not stress enough how important that game is. Not only do you gain 2 points, but at the same time you keep them from getting 2 points which will move you into a tie for the 8th seat. Things could not be any sweater than that. And the meeting with that Avalanche opposed to this one was a win for the Calgary Flames so things could be good.
2 games I’m kind of worried about are the meeting with Vancouver and Minnesota (as previously mentioned). They do not fair too well against either one of those teams, but for the sake of making the playoffs the Flames MUST pull out a win in those games. With how tight the race for 8th place is, one loss could prove very costly. I think the more beatable team out of those two would obviously be the Minnesota Wild. Vancouver leads the northwest division after all. Even though I think they can beat them too, that one can probably look past.
So Calgary Flames fans, things are red hot with heat in Flames nation, wouldn’t you agree? Let’s hope our teams stays red hot, or else we might have to deal with a Stanley Cup Playoffs not including the Calgary Flames and I know NO ONE wants that. So with that I’m out. I only have 3 words left for you, Go Flames Go!
This article was originally posted on The Sports Dossier under the name "Dancing In The Dessert: Calgary Flames beat Phoenix Coyotes 2-1." Check out more great pieces from our talented staff of writers.
If you're a writer who thinks they have what it takes to write about NHL, NBA, MLB, MMA, NFL, World Football, Pro Wrestling and more, then apply to TSD. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk business