The Flames took a big two points tonight in an OT win over the Sharks. In the final seconds of OT Matt Stajan blocked a shot and got the puck to Blake Comeau and hustled up the boards to create a 2 on 1. Comeau made a nice pass and Stajan made no mistake sealing the win for the Flames.
The game did not start well for the Flames. They came out flat and the Sharks were up 1-0 on a goal by Logan Couture before one minute had passed. It looked grim for the Flames and the first period was no indication of a team that looked destined to take the Win.
The end of the first got scrappy and a 5 min boarding call on Curtis Glencross and game misconduct at the end of the first seemed to seal the Flames destiny. All was not sunny for the Flames and they had a mountain to climb to start the 2nd period right away. A fight erupted between Ryane Clowe and Guillaume Desbiens to end the first as well. The Flames took that event on the upside by getting the better player in the box with Desbiens.
Outshot 10 to 8 and out chanced for the period and staring into a 5 min PP to start the 2nd period it looked grim.
The Flames looked notably better in the 2nd period and they battled to kill off the monster Sharks PP and succeeded. This really was a turning point in the game as the Flames a minute later had their most anticipated prospect in long time head in and score the games tying goal.
Sven Baertschi drove to the net, positioned himself perfectly and when Roman Horak's rebound came before anyone knew what was happening Sven had lifted it into the net. His second goal in just 3 games. It was the icing on the cake of a great PK that had just finished and energized the Flames further.
Calgary continued to hang on and the Sharks did roll forward to try and get the go ahead goal but they were denied. They were out chancing the Flames but late in the 2nd period Jarome Iginla gave the Flames the go ahead goal on a nicely executed play by Mark Giordano.
Giordano rushed deep into the Sharks zone, put on the brakes and made a perfect pass to Jarome who was sitting in his office around the O-zone face-off circle LW side waiting and his slap shot connected for the Flames go ahead goal to end the 2nd.
This is a notable goal for Iginla as it was his 30th of the season and makes him only the 7th player in NHL history to achieve the feat of 30 goals in 11+ straight seasons. Jarome now joins Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Jaromir Jagr, Marcel Dionne, Mike Gartner and Phil Esposito.
Logan Couture would take advantage of a Flames penalty late in the 2nd period and pot a PP goal early in the third to tie the game up.
A cautious third period illustrated both teams positioning until OT hit and the flood gates opened. Matt Stajan, as many know, has been seeing time on the top line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay. A result of the injury to Mike Cammalleri. Stajan has had a tough season for the most part, soldiering away down on the third and fourth lines for the majority of the season.
He has been the butt of many jokes and frustration as the highest paid 4th line player in the NHL. Recently in the last month he has come to life. His work ethic and hustle has jumped and due to the rash of injuries he has found a chance to work himself up to the first line and he has certainly made the most of it with 5 points in his last 4 games.
Tonight he really put the exclamation mark on his rising performance for Flames nation by getting a solid game winner. A highlight reel worth watching again just as much for the good solid work of Stajan as it is for Brent Sutter's ultra rare celebration.
The game gave the Flames that key extra point and also an even more important little detail.
The way they got that extra point is part of the tiebreaker method this year. The Flames did not win this game in a shoot-out, they won it in OT and this is what is used as a tie breaker this year. An important little detail.
If there is a tie for the final playoff spot the team with the most regulation and OT wins will take higher position. If the playoffs began today and all teams had played their full 82 games the Flames would take the final spot because they have 30 ROW wins (Regulation and OT wins).
This tie breaker may come into play given the game of inches and single points the Western Conference race is shaping up to be.
There are 12 games left for the Flames. A possible 24 points. 16 should be enough to get them in. That is a 94 point cut-off. It is as simple as 8 wins. The Coyotes are up next and the Flames have to keep rolling.
Brent Sutter flashed another all too rare smile in the post-game interview when asked about Sven Baertschi going back to Portland. "Never" he joked with a smile but fact is there is no way the Flames will burn a full year of young Sven's entry level contract at this point.