Well, they did it. The Flames managed to hold serve and dig themselves out of the 2-0 hole. Calgary probably had their best game yet, out-scoring and out-corsi-ing the Hawks best players yesterday by a generoous margin at ES.
Most of that had to do with Jokinen and Iginla, who finally looked like $12M worth of difference makers last night. Somewhat propehctically, I noted in the pregame post that "I don't think they've given the Hawks their best shot yet. Calgary's top 6 forwards haven't really done anything at ES in this series...". Ye-haw.
The challenge, of course, is to do it again, but in Chicago. In order to pull off the upset, Calgary will have to win one in the enemies barn. The bad news is, they haven't done that yet this year. The good news is they were damn close a couple of times already and that was without Iginla skating around, snorting flames. So it doesn't look like the impossible feat that, say, winning in DET did a couple of springs ago.
- Both Conroy and Langkow were felled at different intervals of the contest. No one really knows yet the extent of their injuries or whether they'll be back in the line-up for Saturday. Ditto Bourque. One wonders when this stupid injury crap will end.
- Peter Mahr on the radio this morning said that Robyn Regehr is still weeks away from being game ready. As he put it "late second round".
- As noted by Ro in the gamethread, last night was a game of firsts for Calgary: first play-off goal(s) by Jokinen, first time winning back to back games since early March, and the first time scoring more than 4 goals on Khabibulin. Huzzah!
- Also noted late in the comments by Daveyt, the missed "hand-pass" call was actually correct. The NHL rulebook stats that:
A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the Referee, he has directed the puck to a teammate.
Clearly, Langkow did not purposefully direct the puck to Nystrom, so the non-call on the ice was the right one.
- Jordan Leopold caught some flack early in the series and rightly so - he was struggling a bit. However, he's been full value in Calgary and one of the more valuable assets in the absence of Regehr. He played 18 minutes at ES last night, mostly against the likes of Kane, Toews, Havlat, Sharp and Bolland and ended the night +3. Dion Phaneuf also had a good game last night, leading the club in ice-time and ended up with 2a and a +2 rating. Solid.
- The only sore spots for me was the pairing of Aucoin+Pardy, which was vicitimzed a couple of times by the speedy Hawks. Aucoin was sheltered relative to the guys I mentioned above and still got scored on twice at ES.
- Special mention for Eric Nystrom who moved up the depth chart in the absence of Rene Bourque and probably had his best NHL game to date. I'm sure his dad is proud.