Game 45 Recap: Flames Win in OT, Cammalleri Returns

CALGARY AB - FEBRUARY 20: Mike Cammalleri #13 of the Montreal Canadiens and Robyn Regehr #28 of the Calgary Flames shake hands following the Flames 4-0 victory over the Canadiens in the 2011 NHL Heritage Classic Game at McMahon Stadium on February 20 2011 in Calgary Alberta Canada. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)


Let's face it. Last night's bore-fest acted as background noise for a lot of the watching at home crowd as many of us were glued to the twitter machine sharing our thoughts instead of yearning for more pucks on net.

However, if you happened to be one of the lucky one's to miss the first 57 minutes of the game, you'd of thought you missed a crazy one! The final 3 minutes of regulation and the subsequent overtime were excellent. The Flames couldn't muster anything on a late power-play and the OT was filled with some back and forth action.

It really appeared in OT that the difference in the game was going to be the Ducks ability to control play with their top line on the ice as they managed a couple decent scoring chances with some sustained pressure.

Jarome Iginla had a chance for 502, but Jonas Hiller made an excellent cross-crease save on the wide-open opportunity. Back the other way, Ryan Getzlaf had an equally excellent attempt thwarted by Miikka Kiprusoff. The ensuing play went back into the Ducks zone and the rest is history. Mark Giordano kept alive a Lee Stempniak shot and Blair Jones pounced on the rebound for his 1st goal as a member of the Flames. And, it was a big one.

All that said, the big news on the night was - of course - the return of Michael Cammalleri to the Flames. More on that after the jump.

I think the bottom line for most on the issue of winner/loser of this trade is that the Calgary Flames came out with the better player in Cammalleri. But, Bob McKenzie broke down the trade for TSN and points out that the goal totals are a lot closer than we think.

Flames fans are remembering the Cammy that netted a career-high 39 goals alongside Iggy during his time in Cowtown. He achieved that with an also career-high 15.3 sh% which has steadily dropped since that time. It seems that Cammy has been used in Montreal by Jacques Martin/Randy Cunneyworth the same way Calgary's first line is used - matching power for power (perhaps that's another reason Martin was shown the door). But, unlike the Flames top line, Cammalleri and co. were actually able to generate decent possession stats despite also matching up against the other teams best. It's not out of this world, but Cammy tops the team in Corsi Rel QoC while his line had the most difficult QoC.

In Rene Bourque, the Montreal Canadiens are getting a very tempting package. Some Flames fans will argue that even when Bourque was producing and driving possession, it was a matter of Daymond Langkow doing all of the heavy lifting and Bourque tagging along for the ride. Others, like myself, point more to the signing of his long-term deal as what seemed to change the player. Either way, we've seen the good in Rene - the heavy-hitting, possession driving, goal-scorer - and we've seen the bad - the extreme laziness and turnover machine. I've always maintained that given the right situation, Bourque could return to his old self and challenge the 30-goal mark year-in year-out, but after another year of his enigmatic and lazy side... I was starting to wonder. In terms of possession, Bourque seems to line up against the other teams second-best and doesn't fair entirely well. For a better look at Rene, go to Robert Vollman's black box on FlamesNation and check out the even-strength scoring numbers. 46.1% in corsi events and an even worse 44.8% in even-strength scoring chances... OUCH.

So, the Flames may have gotten the better player, but should Bourque find the muster to return to his physical, goal-scoring self - the Habs will have gotten the value.

And, if you didn't believe that Flames management was really gunning for the playoffs this year - well, now you know for damn sure. Whether you're on the tear it down, the re-tool or the win at all costs bandwagon... it doesn't matter - either embrace the goal of 8th this year or be disappointed when we're not selling at the deadline.

Are the Flames chances of making the playoffs any better with Cammalleri? Well, from yesterday? Yes. Without Tanguay? I'd say no. If Tanguay, Smith and the other injured players all come back - I think they can make a real run at the playoffs. If not, Jay Feaster might look even worse than he did last year when they missed out on the post-season.

Three Stars from Last Night:

1. Miikka Kiprusoff

2. Blair Jones

3. Mark Giordano

- My final thought on Michael Cammalleri. There are only a handful of players in the NHL right now that you can almost count on like clockwork to score when they're open in the slot. Cammy was one of those players when he was here. If he can return to near that form, then the Flames have to be happy. But, I also don't think he achieves that goal without playing with Jarome. So, let's find a dance partner for Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross so that Iggy and Cammy can play together again.

- The Flames have won 3 straight and have barely gained a sniff on 8th. They sit 3 points out with many teams having games in hand.

- Darryl Sutter and the LA Kings are in Calgary Saturday night for his much-anticipated return to Calgary. Doubt he'll make himself available to the media. The Flames trail the Kings by 3 points. This is a very big game and the kind the team needs to win at home if they have actual playoff aspirations.

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