Last Week's Results: Last week, we asked how many points would the Flames have to get on their current 8 game in 14 day stretch to get back into the playoff bubble. 39% of votes chose that the Flames need 11-12 points and 31% chose 13-14 points. Therefore the magic number for most Flames fans was at least six wins during this stretch. So far, the Flames are 3-1 for a total of six points. They're on the right pace! The Flames sit 5 points out of a Wild Card spot heading into Friday's action.
Week 6: About Last Night...
Thursday night's game against San Jose was arguably the most entertaining game of the season thus far, and has the potential to keep that position by the season's end. The Flames escaped the SAP Center with a 6-5 shootout win off the backs of some big performances and an all around team effort.
Despite a stellar first period in which the Flames took a 4-1 lead (thanks to some shaky goaltending from Alex Stalock) the lead slowly slipped away through the course of the game until the Sharks finally took the lead with 14:05 left in the 3rd period.
Now if this had been the same Flames team we had seen for a good portion of the early part of the season, they would've likely been so discouraged that this game just slipped away and the Sharks probably would've won. However, that didn't happen and now we're talking about what an exciting finish this game had. There were some crucial moments in the following twenty or so minutes of hockey that helped lead to a Flames victory. Let's go over a few.
Kris Russell ties on the PP with 11:52 to go
The Flames finished the night 2/5 (40%) on the powerplay and this goal tied the game at 5-5. After Sam Bennett had attempted to wrap the puck around the Shark net, Russell walked into the slot, found the loose puck and deposited it under Stalock's pad. This goal was critical in stemming San Jose's momentum as it was the they had scored two goals and had taken 9 out of the 11 previous shots on goal as they barraged Karri Ramo. The Flames managed to hold fort the rest of the way but not without some tense moments.
Flames kill off full 2:00 minute Sharks PP 5 on 3 late in the 3rd
Heading into this penalty kill I didn't give the Flames much of a chance to kill it off. Not only did the Sharks have the league's 3rd best powerplay, but the Flames had the leagues worst penalty kill (now 29th) that had also allowed two goals on the night. Not to mention also that they were killing their 8th and 9th (!) penalties of the night, a situation that is most un-Flames like. To cap it all off, the Flames had an ice cold Jonas Hiller entering the game after Karri Ramo had just left the game with an injury. But through some very brave shot blocking and strong goaltending, the Flames managed to pull it off and escaped the 3rd with a 5-5 tie.
Jonas Hiller robs the Sharks TWICE in OT
Hiller was spectacular during his entire relief effort tonight but he made two huge saves in OT to keep the game alive. Following a little bit of luck on a post shot by Logan Couture, Hiller proceeded to rob Patrick Marleau with a great pad save then less than a minute later laid out for a spectacular glove save on Justin Braun to save the game. He made all these saves while still being cold and was pretty much the only reason the Flames pulled the win out.
Jiri Hudler wins the game in the Shootout
Jiri Hudler continued his resurgence in this game notching an assist and depositing the Shootout winner in Round 4 to give the Flames the victory. Hudler has 5 points in his last 5 games and finally seems to be starting to round into last years form or at least typical Hudler form again. Joe Colborne also scored in the shootout for the Flames while Hiller stopped 3 of 4 Shark shooters. Hiller has struggled in shootouts, going 5-12 dating back to his days in Anaheim so this win was big for him too.
Anyways, here's this week's question: Which moment above was most crucial to the Flames' victory?
Remember to vote, and to keep suggesting ideas for the new questions in the coming weeks.
Go Flames Go!