So, I did it again – I threw my superstitions out the window before the game started. I sat down after the puck drop, I didn’t have my pregame coffee, and I didn’t wear my jersey. It seemed to have worked last game, so I took a chance and did the opposite of everything I usually do during game day.
With Smid taking an early penalty (which was completely accidental, but a penalty nonetheless), my hopes dwindled in the first few minutes of the game. All I wanted was for the team to come together and win it for the captain. Yes, it was the return of Mark Giordano after being on the IR list with a broken ankle and missing 18 games.
It was obvious to me at the beginning of the game just how very valuable Flames captain, Giordano, really is. Under the bright lights of the Saddledome, the Flames started to look like a team again. Their penalty kills were impressive, the defensive plays were nod-worthy, and the offensive drive forced the puck into the Coyotes zone more often than not.
Even though Keith Yandle got the first goal to start the game, the Flames were not deterred. The Coyotes are a gritty team, but Calgary stood up to everything that Phoenix threw at them. The Flames smart plays and great passing efforts are what made the game so exciting. With seven seconds left in the first period, Hudler carried the puck into the Coyote’s zone and passed to Stajan. Matt Stajan then tossed it over to Brodie, whose shot on goal found the back of the net. The period ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Flames dominated the second period early after a back and forth with the Coyotes to start. Backlund stepped up his game and found himself in the right place at the right time. With a perfect feed from Hudler, Backlund got the Flames second goal of the night. And the goals didn’t stop there.
The Flames carried the puck around the Coyotes net, passed it back to Brodie on the blue line, who then passed it over to Giordano. A hard shot on net was deflected and it was 3-1 for Calgary. Welcome back, Gio! We’ve missed you.
In the third period, there was a moment of weakness when the Flames looked a little lost and I was convinced the 3-1 lead was about to be abolished. But, no, the team got it together and gave the fans one last surprise before the end of the game. Not even three minutes into the final period, Stajan carried the puck down the ice during a penalty kill, faked out Greiss, and then passed to Stempniak, who scored the final goal of the night and put a smile on the face of every Flames fan.
The Calgary Flames won with a final score of 4-1. At this rate, I will no longer be taking part in any of my personal superstitions because NOT being superstitious seems to be working.
My 1 Star
I’m giving out two today because I think both players are completely worthy. Let’s face it, Giordano looked great in the line up and on the ice for his first time being back since his injury. Not only did he come back early, but he had over 20 minutes of ice time and worked hard to achieve a goal and an assist. Flames fans were impressed with his ability to get the job done. Then again, that’s why he’s the captain – and rightfully so!
Matt Stajan. I’ve never been a huge fan of Stajan but he definitely deserves my 1 star because of his great offensive play during this game. With two assists and some great plays under his belt, Stajan thoroughly impressed me. He created some great scoring chances and worked hard to help his teammates to get what the Flames have been needing for a while now – a second consecutive win.