Flames show resiliency in comeback
Here I was all ready to write a blog about how the Flames were blown out in Montreal. How Kipper was pulled for the 2nd time in less than a week, and how despite hitting numerous posts, the Flames were still unable to find the back of the net.
But wait...there’s more to this game than meets the eye – unfortunately it’s not a two tonne semi trailer that turns into an ass kicking robot.
Tonight was not unlike a playoff game in 2004 when the Flames were down 4-0, at home, to the Vancouver Canucks and stormed back to send it to sudden death overtime. That was until Brendan Morrison crushed the hearts of Flames fans, temporarily, with a goal in triple overtime to send the series back to Vancouver for a game 7. Just replace the Canucks with the Habs and Morrison with Pernell Karl Subban, and you have tonight’s game in a nutshell.
The turning point in the game, and I have to hand it to the coach here, was pulling Kiprusoff after the fourth goal. It seemed to awaken the team, somewhat, and the goals started going in. We all know Alex Auld – heck the Flames known him quite well from his time in Vancouver (he was in the net for game 7 in 2004). He is good, but he is no Carey Price. If you get quality shots to the net, chances are that you will beat him eventually. This is Auld’s SEVENTH team since leaving Vancouver in 2006 (Florida, Phoenix, Boston, Ottawa, Dallas, NYR, and finally Les Habitants). The Flames were fortunate to draw Auld tonight, and that’s the honest truth. If Price were in net from the beginning, I fear that the result would have been much different.
This Flames team showed resiliency. It showed pride. It showed desperation. They could have rolled over and played dead down four goals. No one would have been surprised as they’ve done it before this season in games against the Caps and Canucks. But the January 17th version of the Flames seemed different, and it showed as it clawed its way back to even the score less than three minutes into the third period (four goals in less than 10 minutes of playing time).
The Flames are, believe it or not, playing inspired hockey right now. They are 6-2-3 in their past 11 games and have secured points in five straight contests. Since firing Darryl Sutter, which is a game removed from when this streak began, they seem to be a more energetic hockey team.
So what does this mean? Will they make the playoffs? Well, not so fast. It’s one thing to take points off of Eastern conference teams, but it’s an entirely different animal to beat divisional and conference foes. The Flames MUST, and I stress MUST, beat the teams they are chasing or this valiant last-ditch-throw-everything-you-have-at-them effort is all for naught.
Minnesota, Dallas, Vancouver (Yikes), Nashville, and St. Louis round out the month of January, where they are 4-5 against these teams so far this season. Four of those games are on home ice. The time is now if there ever was a time. Optimism is scarce in this town and scarce in any blog I have written about the Flames lately, but if this game taught us anything it is that this Flames team still believes in something.
Whatever that something may be.