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Flames @ Red Wings Post-Game


Scoring Chances

As Robert intimated in the comments last night, Colorado fans may crow about such victories, but I'm going take the two points and slink away, happy to have had the grace of god (or favor of the Devil) enough to have escaped with a victory. Despite the Red Wings lacking a bunch of regulars, they still managed to spend most of the night in the Flames end of the ice. An inexplicable "goalie interference" call, a quick whistle, some good goaltending and some nice bounces at the other end gave the Flames the 'W'. So while it's something to be thankful for, it's hardly worth celebrating.

Besides Kipper continuing to play up to his once forgotten standards, perhaps the most comforting part about last night is the fact that Detroit wasn't miles ahead in terms of even strength scoring chances (13-11). The final differential wasn't as pleasing because the refs spent the rest of the evening "apologizing" to Detroit for the botched no-goal by penalizing the Flames. And yes, I'm whiny and bitter even after a shut-out victory.

The match-ups were split between Datsyuk versus Langkow and Zetterberg versus Iginla. Langs actually played the most of any forward at ES last night (15+ minutes) so I'm guessing that's the match-up Brent Sutter was most worried about. Ironically, both top units got killed in terms of possession, but won on the scoreboard thanks to some opportune bounces and mediocre goaltending from Osgood. On the back-end, Giordano and Bouwmeester mostly played with Langkow et al (and against Dastyuk, Holmstrom, Bertuzzi) and fared pretty well, all things considered. In fact, I would suggest that Cory Sarich would have struggled in the same circumstances given his rather shakey play thus far this season. He's at the bottom end of the Flames scoring chance +/- and I think a game like this would have buried him even further. 

While the Flames have been steadily improving over the last few weeks, these are the types of performances that suggest Calgary is still not quite at the level of an elite team. Sure, they won, but getting out-classed in terms of possession and scoring chances by a team hobbled by injury isn't a sign the Flames have taken a real step forward. The goal for the Flames at this point shouldn't be hanging on by their fingertips against a Red Wings team lacking Hudler, Filppula, Franzen, Williams and Kronwall.

That said - first place in the division baby!