Picture it: a post-holiday family dinner discussing the finer points of the Battle Of Alberta when suddenly the Edmonton Oilers fan begins to get vehemently animated and persistent over the reasons why the Oilers would win, as the Flames fan sits across the table with a smug, knowing grin on their face.
Yes, this was my family dinner tonight while talking with my younger sister about the up-coming game in Calgary. I knew better.
Dubnyk’s record was 9-15-2 with a 3.38 GAA and .892 save percentage while Berra held a record of 5-8-2 with 3.09 GAA and .900 save percentage. It all seemed so obvious to me because stats don’t lie…do they?
I sat down in front of my tv with an air or arrogance around me, prepared to have my little sister eat her words. The first period started and I saw fire in the eyes of the Calgary Flames. I figured it would be over soon enough and the Flames would be celebrating their win.
But when the ref called off Mark Giordano’s goal in the first period, it was a game changer and a pivotal moment in this Battle Of Alberta. That call would haunt me for the rest of the game and it hung over my head as I realized this wasn’t just a battle but a war.
When Ryan Smyth scored for the Oilers, I shook my head and tried to move on, but the waved-off Flames goal kept lingering in my mind.
Paul Byron played a physical game tonight and seems to be growing into his position on the team. He does what’s expected of him and goes above and beyond with each passing game.
Reto Berra seems to be growing in his NHL experience as well. He made a few shocking saves that kept the Flames in the game all night long.
Mark Giordano, like usual, stood in front of the line, playing over 25 minutes during the game, and he led a lot of the plays in the Oilers end. The Flames had the effort, but it just wasn’t enough to get past the Oilers.
Edmonton’s defense was better tonight than I have seen in a while, and Dubnyk didn’t allow anything into the net, not even rebounds.
The Flames didn’t lose for a lack of trying, they lost because of a few bad calls on the ice that ultimately tipped the hockey scales in the Oilers favor and they couldn’t seem to shake it off. With an empty net goal by Smyth, the final score was 2-0 for the Edmonton Oilers.
My 1 Star
Reto Berra. I know that it’s still hit/miss with our goalies this season, but Berra did a great job of keeping the Flames in it tonight. And he didn’t take any penalties. After all was said and done, Berra skated off the ice with a .963 save percentage and stopped 26 of 27 shots. He made it through two power plays without letting any goals in and he looked unshakable tonight. I believe all the experience in net that he’s been getting so far is doing him well because he seems to be coming into his own lately.