Game 53 Recap: The Hockey Gods Just Weren't on the Flames Side


I just watched the CBC TV movie Don Cherry: Keep Your Head Up, Kid - hence the terrible headline. Obviously Cherry has a great story, but at the end of this one my only thought was that it was awful and one-sided storytelling, like it had been written by his son.

Ding Ding Ding! Tim Cherry penned it. Yikes. Anyway, for any of you who haven't seen the movie - every time something doesn't go his way, he says the Hockey Gods just weren't on his side, or if it does go his way, the hockey gods were on his side. Which, of course, is totally laughable. I'm a big Coach's Corner fan even though I don't agree with a lot of Cherry's antics and enjoyed the movie nonetheless.

And, let's be honest - the hockey gods may not have helped the Flames with the end result, but the disallowed goal in the first had the hockey gods smiling down on the Flames as Jay Bouwmeester pushed Corey Perry right into Miikka Kiprusoff, keeping it a scoreless game and preventing the first from being a total runaway. To be fair, Perry was absolutely on his way right through the crease, but he surely wouldn't have knocked Kipper over.

Bottom line in this one: any time you have 4 chances in a shootout to end it - you've got to end it. The Flames had no shortage of chances to get the extra point but couldn't beat Jonas Hiller when it counted.

Those damn hockey gods made Hiller play so well in the SO. Damn you, hockey gods!

- The Flames tend to play a better attacking game when they're down so I wasn't at all upset with them falling behind in the first. But, they ended up getting dominated in the second despite being down, which is a testament to Kipper, as usual, who's pretty much kept this season alive by himself.

- Part of the nice thing about this ROAD game was that Bruce Boudreau was matching lines which I'm sure he felt was to his teams benefit... and the best part was that it benefited the Flames as well. Being as Brent Sutter tends to pick the wrong line matches, or he just doesn't do it at all... this led to the first line not being dominated by the other teams first line for once which led to more opportunities for the Flames best scoring line.

Three Stars:

1. Miikka Kiprusoff: I probably don't pick him enough. Not a great EVSV% but his work on the penalty kill saved the game.

2. Mark Giordano: How on earth this guy plays a positive game with Scott Hannan as his partner, I'll never know. But, he did tonight. HIs work as the only D on the 1st PP unit has been excellent as well. The Flames power-play has been getting more than enough chances of late.

3. Jarome Iginla: Big power-play goal and part of the top line that generated a pile of scoring chances and actually didn't give up too many on the other end. A nice change. The Captain has been playing a little bit stronger on his skates of late.

- The Flames are now 3 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot.

- The current road trip will see the team go to San Jose on Wednesday and Phoenix for Thursday in a back to back. Expect Leland Irving to get the nod in Phoenix.

- Jay Bouwmeester is having a very strong season for the Flames. Don't let the -12 fool you. His partner is basically a replacement level player and he's on pace for his highest point total as a Flame. Sure, he can't pass worth a lick and he can be a bit of a bonehead sometimes - but outside of Kipper, he's been the most important player on the team. He's not getting caught up the ice, leading to odd-man rushes and he plays against the other teams best every single night. His game has improved and he should be getting recognized for it.

- Minnesota maintains the 8th playoff spot after last night. They currently have a .557 points percentage and are on pace for 91 points. In order for the Flames to finish with 91 points, they need to go 16-9-3, roughly.

- ROW or Regulation and Overtime Wins is the first tie-break and, unlike last year, the Flames are looking solid here with 22. Tied with Phoenix and only Dallas has more. Something to keep an eye on as the season moves forward.

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