I confess that I didn't watch the game tonight too closely. I don't hate Minnesota, so that natural angle wasn't available to pique my interest. Practically the whole bloody Flames team is signed again for next year, so it wasn't like it was a night for goodbyes. Sure, it may be Craig Conroy's last game, but noone thinks he'll disappear from sight. And while all the conjecture about Jarome Iginla being traded this summer is probably just starting, I don't think it will happen (and don't want it to, quite frankly).
From what I did see, they did play pretty well, again, and had no finish, again. They had not one but two five-on-three power plays (and I can't remember the last time they had one), but didn't score on either of them (now that looked more familiar!). They had a lot of pucks bouncing over sticks, or hitting the outside of the net, or smacking goalie pads dead center - darned bad luck seemed to be with them all year. Couldn't just be a lack of skill, could it?
It was nice to see Mikael Backlund play quite a bit. He didn't look out of place with Iggy and Rene Bourque, and they were amongst the fowards with positive Corsi. Of course, the Wild had noone healthy, and their good line (Mikko Koivu et al) played against Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman and Ales Kotalik (who, not coincidentally, were the forwards getting their heads kicked in tonight). Wait a second - the Wild were missing Havlat, Latendresse, Nolan...who else? Oh yes, Dubielewicz had to come into the net for Backstrom during the third period. And the Wild still won. And I'm still trying to write about this game?
I guess it's fitting that, as Peter Loubardias said, the Flames finally have a three-point game when the extra points won't help them anymore. And even more fitting that they finished below .500 at home for the year, because they lost the final game in a shootout. Sad but fitting that Iggy didn't score in the shootout. Predictable that Kipper's pokecheck in the shootout didn't work tonight. Ironic that instead of shooting first like most home teams, they went last and allowed the home fans to see only two Flame shooters.
On the bright side, the Canucks are losing 4-0 tonight, although they now have a ridiculously long 5 on 3. Why do I care? Don't know, although thought it was really funny that I look up to see a Canuck on the ice and my wife, who doesn't care about Vancouver one way or the other, says "he dived". Even she knows the Canucks are despicable poor-sports.
In this year of the Flames dropping into the ranks of the non-playoff teams, possibly for the first of multiple times, I have to now take my joy in the pain of the Canucks. Yes, that's really sad. And that says everything that needs to be said about this game and this team.