My friend, Clint Hagmaier, and I made a friendly wager during the Flames @ Penguins game on Saturday, March 5th. The wager was a guest post for the others website and, as we all know, the Flames won. Both teams fought hard and did a good job that day, but a wager is a wager and I present to you a game recap from a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. Thank you, Clint, for being such a great sport!
(FYI, I'll be doing a guest post later on for www.letstalkpens.com anyway.)
Featured Menu Item: Flame(s) Broiled Penguins
By: Clint Hagmaier/@coachhagmaier2
The Flames were lit on Saturday afternoon against the Pittsburgh Penguins! I never thought I'd be saying those words. While there is always a chance, really what were the Vegas odds of the Flames beating the Penguins on the road in an afternoon game? If you are a gambler and you placed your bet on the Flames to win, the best line was +375. Meaning that a $100 bet on the Calgary Flames profited you $375. Now that's a lot of Timbit's and coffee!
Unfortunately for this writer I decided to gamble as well. So I reached out to my friend Traci Kay, you know her, you love her as a writer for this site www.matchsticksandgasoline.com. Knowing that this was the last meeting between the two teams and that Traci not only a writes about the Flames, but that she's a huge fan as well! I said, "Hey let's make a friendly wager!" The bet was that if the Penguins won Traci would have to do a guest spot on one of the sites I work for at letstalkpens.com and if the Penguins lost I'd have to write for her site. As you all know your favorite team melted the icebergs that the Pens were standing on. So congratulations Traci and to the Flames fans that follow her! Your team won and here I am keeping my word.
I'll absolutely give credit to the Calgary Flames they had a game plan and stuck to it. That game plan, which was to play a physical game, exposed the weakness in Pittsburgh armor. The Penguins fast paced/up tempo puck possession style was disrupted every time a Flames player took the body on the forecheck, through the neutral zone, and in every corner thus making it difficult for the Pens to find the flow that they enjoy so much. Also, what was fun to see as a coach and hockey fan was the patients the Flames had while on the attack. Calgary cycled and moved the puck quick, creating excellent opportunities in prime scoring areas. This was evident in the Mark Giordano goal when the Flames forced a turnover at their own blue line and made some excellent quick passing to find their captain joining the rush late. But neither team was opposed to enjoying a little puck luck either.
For example, Joe Colborne, who started off the scoring for the Flames scored a sweet redirection off of his skate. Now I'll call it puck luck, but the reality of it is, good things happen when you go to the net. Colborne did exactly what he had to and got to a dirty area in order to get a fortuitous bounce. At the other end of the rink in the defensive zone was ex-Penguin and my favorite Flame Deryk Engelland. "Engo" made life hell for the stars of his former team, contributing 6 hits, 2 block shots and chipping in with an assist, 2 shots, and a plus 2 to round out his afternoon. Truth be told, I very much miss Mr. Engelland playing in my hometown black and gold. The other player that stood strong in the Calgary D-zone was standing between the pipes and his name was Joni Ortio.
Wait! Who? Flames fans, do you even know who this guy is? The '91 birth year from Turku, Finland who's played in 10 games and boasts a 3.16 GAA, played a solid game denying the likes of Crosby and Malkin on multiple occasions. The Flames win also goes down as Ortio's first win of the season. Nothing like getting that first W against a top end team. So kudos to you Mr. Ortio!
The Pittsburgh team didn't come to play and after getting a quick start on a Crosby goal, eased off the throttle. That's not to take anything away from Calgary's game, a team that has nothing to lose, had everything to prove and did just that as they ended their losing streak Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The Flames took it to the Penguins on the road and that kind of heart shows me that my favorite team in Alberta has a lot of potential for the future. Don't worry Calgary, I know your team had an off year, but they are still growing. They are young and promising. They are just a 1 or 2 pieces away from being a post-season mainstay.
Please allow me to thank Traci Kay and all of M&G for allowing me to be a guest and talk about my favorite Canadian team. Even though I lost the bet, I still feel like a winner getting to contribute to such a great fan site.
And Traci, we look forward to you hopefully making a guest appearance anyways during the Stanley Cup Playoffs on my site at Let's Talk Pens.