A milestone win for Miikka Kiprusoff as he takes the franchise title for most wins by a Flames Goaltender from Mike Vernon. Kipper turned in a solid performance facing 36 shots and delivering a 0.972 SV%
A much better game for the Flames but don't crack the champagne. They were playing a vulnerable Habs team that was missing a lot of its major pieces: Mike Cammalleri, Andrei Markov and Jaroslav Spacek. The team is clicking but they did not strike me as a well-oiled machine, not yet.
Most importantly the effort across the team from player to player was there. There is a lot of positives to take away from this game. A lot of things to build on as the Flames head into Toronto to face the Leafs.
(1) Kipper played a good game. If the sit-down in St. Louis stirred him to step up earlier in the season it will have been worth the loss. He will likely get the start again in Toronto and how he performs will be something to watch. I don't really fault him on the first goal which was an one of those odd goals that came off a broken stick play.
(2) Sutter threw a new line combination on the ice that looked good. Rene Bourque, Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman. On paper this is exactly the type of line that should work well. Stajan as the playmaker to feed both Bork and Hags as the natural snipers. So far, so good.
(3) The Flames PP converted twice and in these earlier days is in the top 5 in the NHL PP% wise.
(4) David Moss continues to look like he belongs on the first line for effort but he does have that lack of finish, multiple chances were there but he did snag a goal nonetheless.
(5) Rene Bourque is on and so is his trademark snipe of a shot notching 2 goals.
(6) This Derek Smith kid is notable to me as a 5-6 D man. Positionally he is looking fairly good for his role.
(7) Alex Tanguay with 2 assists is on game as well.
(8) Jay Bouwmeester looked more aggressive, for him anyway. His style is not to throw the body but he was going hard into the corners and also standing up to forwards coming into the zone. Taking a hand of his stick and doing a one hand press into the chests of Montreal forwards. Don't recall him doing that much last year.
In conclusion it looks like the early disaster in St. Louis might be a good thing. It provoked a early closed door team meeting of the team and it certainly got a better effort out of everyone right across the board but again don't crack the champagne. My view is that they were facing a very vulnerable Habs team down several roster players.
In short they should have won this game.
A better test will be in Toronto against another bubble club. Not a game to miss and win or lose look for the full effort again for whole game, that is the key this season.