(Excuse the bizarre formatting up top- the editor is being finicky today) Last night we all expected a blowout game. Something embarrassing. And we got it- but not the way we were predicting. The Calgary Flames beat the Toronto Maple Leafsto the tune of 5-2, dominated them physically, and completely outshot them at 33-19. Most importantly, there was no collapse. At all. We outshot and outplayed the Maple Leafs in every single period.
After a very strong push to start the game by Calgary, Toronto managed to be the first on the board with Nikolai Kulemin scoring his tenth of the year. That would be their only goal until the third period. A minute after that first Toronto goal, Mikael Backlund scored his 4th of the year with the only assist going to Brendan Morrison. The Flames would continue to dominate that first period, but fail to score anymore.
Fifteen minutes in the second period was when the flood gates opened. Alex Tangauy scored his 9th of the year, 33 seconds later Olli Jokinen scored his 5th, and 24 seconds later Rene Bourque scored his 13th. It was a thing of great beauty and terror (the former for Flames fans and the latter for Leafs fans): 57 seconds for 3 goals. J.S. Giguere finished out the period, but he didn't look quite right in goal after that.
In the third Jonas Gustavssonwas sitting in goal, and looked a bit better, but still let in a goal by Niklas Hagman to start it off. Mikhail Grabovski scored on Miikka Kiprusoff, rewarding the only Leafs player who looked dangerous the whole night. And that was largely it.
So the real story everyone's talking about is the return of Dion Phaneuf, and Matt Stajanand Niklas Hagman playing against the team that traded them away for him. And wow- did that ever show up in the game. Hagman and Stajan both put points on the board, with the former looking pretty good all night. Stajan had an assist, but ended up a -1 due to his presence on the ice for both goals against. Phaneufs point total? 0.
A lot of people are taking this and rubbing it in Maple Leafs fans faces as evidence of Calgary "winning" the trade. and while I enjoy rubbing junk in Maple Leafs fans faces as much as the next guy, I would hardly take this as a vindication of Darryl Sutter's trade. I've mentioned this before, but the problem was not that we traded an A+ player for 2 C+ players and random junk that's lying around, it's that he wasn't shopped for a better return. At the end of the day- both teams "lost" this trade.
Notes and Observations:
- It was refreshing to see that the change of scenery did not fix Phaneuf's shooting capabilities. "High and wide" still holds true.
- Keith Aulie played 16 minutes for the Leafs. I don't remember a single one of them for a positive thing he did.
- After several games of either above or around 30:00, Jay Bouwmeester played only 22:36 last night, second on the Flames to Mark Giordano's 23:26
- I coulda sworn Gio had an apple last night- did that get changed?
- Bizarro psuedo-stat of the night: scoring in the opening frame was a "Nik" followed by a "Mik". Scoring in the closing frame was a "Nik" followed by a "Mik". The team order was reversed. (Nikolai Kulemin, Mikael Backlund; Niklas Hagman, Mikhail Grabovski).
- I really need to look up how many "Too Many Men" penalties the Flames have on the season. It seems like an absurd amount.