One of the consequences of writing about hockey is you begin to plan your pieces while the game is playing. Watching the contest this morning, I was prepared to positively gush about the Flames effort and performance...until about the 10:00 mark in the second period. That's when Huselius and Nash started going all Harlem globetrotters on Calgary, culminating in a 9-0 scoring chance run and three straight Columbus tallies. My evaluation of the club obviously soured at that point.
Of course, things would change again at the 10:00 mark of the third period, when the Jackets went into "prevent defense" mode and the Flames managed to even the score. Calgary continued to dominate into the over time, so it was nice to see them skate away with a shoot-out victory (for a change).
Iginla and Jokinen played about 40 minutes of "#1 line" hockey I thought, which is perhaps another step in the right direction. They ended up under water in terms of possession and scoring chances, but that's often what happens when you play Rick Nash on home ice with Jamie Lundmark on your line. Jokinen is gradually becoming the player I thought he was, meaning, a forward who at least creates some havoc in the offensive zone, even if he's not without his flaws. His improvement has occured in lockstep with Jarome looking more and more like the elite power forward we'd come to know and love and that probably isn't a coincidence. I'm guessing they could start holding their own in all measures of performance if, say, a Bourque-like forward was added to the mix (*hint hint). It's instructive that Brent Sutter chooses to place Boyd over Lundmark on the left hand side when things get serious and the bench shortens.
- Aside from his great feed to Dawes for the GTG, I thought Moss really struggled. He bobbled the puck a lot in bad areas and made some questionable passes and decisions. Still not up to snuff I'm afraid.
- Kristian Huselius always seems to show why I liked him as a player whenever the Flames make the trip to Columbus. He was deadly.
- Rich Nash is frighteningly good.
- Nigel Dawes might be the best value addition of the off-season.
- Calgary's PK gave up a lot of quality scoring chances the last two games. It's amazing the Flames escaped with just 1 PPG against.
- McElhinney had a couple of tough sequences and the Methot goal was probably stoppable. That said, he made some nice saves on close in chances and actually got some goal support.