Amazing, simply amazing. I don’t know who said what in the locker room, but it has certainly worked! The Calgary Flames have won three straight games and it has brought them to a tie with the Colorado Avalanche for the 8th seat in the Western Conference.
When Detroit started to pull away, Calgary fans (including myself) thought it was over and the Flames wouldn’t make the playoffs. Little did we know it was a blessing in disguise. Why was it a blessing? Because when Detroit went up, Colorado came down. And if you look at things, Colorado has dropped 4 straight games and this has allowed the Flames to get even.
Last night before the Flames/Avalanche game had started, 2 points separated the Flames and Avalanche who are battling for 8th, but so much was in Calgary’s favour. The feeling that they had just beat Phoenix and Washington, two of the NHL’s finest had to give them confidence going into it. The fact that Colorado had been losing so many games going into this contest had to give them the mentality that “These guys are weak, we can beat them.” Lastly there was one more thing going for them, Miikka Kiprusoff.
I’m sorry if I highlight his play a bit too much, but you have to give credit where credit is due! Miikka Kiprusoff has played one of his best seasons this year, that’s for sure. His great play helped him get a bronze medal with Finland at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. With that all behind him, his focus was back on the Calgary Flames and guiding them into the playoffs. He had just come off an amazing performance against the Coyotes and was ready to go back at it again with Colorado. I think it’s safe to say he did not disappoint.
He delivered a .972 save percentage in this crucial game against the Avalanche to help guide the Calgary Flames’ to their third straight victory and to get them on even terms with Colorado for the 8th seat. What a great story it has been for this man, come playoff time he could be a true threat for other teams.
Before we I go too far ahead of myself let’s recap how the Calgary Flames took advantage of a struggling 8th placed team in Colorado.
Just like in the Phoenix game, the first period would go scoreless. Craig Anderson turned away 9 shots thrown at him to keep Calgary from getting on the board. Meanwhile, Miikka Kiprusoff turned away all 13 shots he faced to keep the scored deadlocked at 0-0.
In the second period the scoreless game would be no more. The Calgary Flames broke the deadlock making the score 1-0 in their favour. Nigel Dawes scored at 2: 28 on a great rush to give his team the lead. The assists came from David Moss and Craig Conroy. With that the Flames had momentum on their side and they’d keep it that way. The Flames and Avalanche wouldn’t put anymore points on the board during the second as it would wrap up with the score 1-0 for the Flames.
In the third period Calgary would add on to their lead making it 2-0 for the Calgary Flames. At 2: 11 Rene Bourque scored to give the Flames some great chances for a win. The assists came from Cory Sarich and Mikael Backlund. With that the Flames knew they had this game under control.
Colorado would get one on the board in the third though. T.J. Giliardi beat Miikka Kiprusoff to end his run for the shutout and cut the Flames lead to just 1. The assists came from Chris Stewart and Paul Stastny. That’s all they’d be able to do though as the Flames won the game 2-1 and came on even ground with Colorado in the Western Conference. Both of them now sit with 89 points a piece. Only difference is Colorado has a game at hand which will temporarily keep them in 8th place.
As mentioned before, Miikka Kiprusoff played a key role in their win. He turned away 35 of 36 shots to help the Flames in their push for the playoffs.
Things are looking better and better for Calgary with each game played. Now all they have to do is pray on the losses of the Colorado Avalanche and they are going to be playing in the post season. With the way Colorado has been playing, the prayer might not even be needed. Still to the lord we will pray!
With that the Flames have just 4 more games left in the regular season. 4 games that for their sake, they better win! They have some opponents that will test them, but other that can be easy wins for them.
If the Flames do make the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs I think they can be one of the underdog teams to really look for. The list of underdog teams to watch would have the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and if they do make it in, the Calgary Flames. While everyone will be betting on teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, etc. for good reason, I think these three squads could pull off some upsets this year.
You ask why Calgary? A team that’s barely getting into the playoffs? No way they’re going to be a team to look out for this year.
To that I say, “Ha!”
Remember who is between the pipes for these guys, Miikka Kiprusoff who was arguably the best goalie in the NHL this season (along with Ryan Miller). The Flames also have one of the best defenses in the NHL today. Although they don’t play like it all the time, they truly have a solid blue line. Don’t forget that they can bring it on the offensive end of things too. They have a really good first line playing for them which should help them pick up tons of goals and some great secondary scoring.
Calgary Flames’ next 5 opponents of the NHL season:
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)
Things are wrapping up for the Flames and they obviously have 3 tough tests before them with the 4 games left on their schedule. They do have the right motives and thought process for some of these games though. When it comes to San Jose they can think, “We’ve beaten them before, we can beat them again.” With Chicago it would be something along the lines of “If we can beat a top team like that, we can be the rest of them. Let’s go show them what we’re made of.” With Minnesota it’s the revenge angle as they have fallen many times to the Wild earlier this season. When it comes to the Vancouver Canucks, nothing even needs to be said. These two teams absolutely despise each other and will not hold back, ever.
With the season winding down, our playoff chances are looking pretty damn good. Let’s hope it stays that way and that Colorado’s losing ways continue. So to the Sea of Red I say this, Get ready to cheer your brains out in these last few games! Let the Flames know they’ve got our support! Go Flames Go!
This article was originally posted on The Sports Dossier under the name "Locking Horns With The Enemy: Calgary Flames beat Colorado Avalanche 2-1." Check out more great pieces from our talented staff of writers.
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