Shots don’t win championships

Flames 3 Red Wings 2
(Best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal tied 2-2)

Well, what you saw right there was a “goaltending and special teams win championships” game, and the latest chapter on the “give Kiprusoff a $7m/yr extension” DVD. It was, by no means at all, a great game by the Calgary Flames. But it also wasn’t all-world bad like Games 1 and 2, and the victory looks exactly the same in Peter Maher’s win column as either Wings triumph.

Over at my new favourite comedy site, the Lets Go Wings discussion forums (and yes Wings fans, Calgary Puck can be just as bad), the participants were throwing their virtual hands up in the air and declaring that referees Wes Macaulay and Brad Watson were clearly biased as the game was in Canada. Uh, no. There were a whole bunch of weaky calls on both sides, but nothing that isn’t normal these days, and the zebras were very consistent.

If it seemed there was bias, it was because of two things: 1. The Flames had two man advantages to Detroit’s zero, and capitalized on both. Langkow did everything he didn’t do in the first two games to score his goals: Get into position and do what he does best, which is get the puck to the net. 2. The Flames great penalty kill completely smothered the Wings’ anemic power play. They just had no answer.

Miikka Kiprusoff, meanwhile … well, that’s ’04 Kipper, no better way to describe it. The Flames were widely outshot, big surprise. But as shaky and hesitant as the Flames were in the third, Kipper was confident. I was never unsure that he was going to come up with the save. And I think the bench finally fed off that in the final four minutes, when three consecutive shifts of Flames kept the Wings nowhere close to the net. The other highlight in the third: The late penalty kill for the Warrener hook, when Lombardi, Stuart and Friesen all dropped to block shots. That’s the first time I’ve seen that in I don’t know how long, and the best evidence that this team really does want to win.

Aside from those I’ve already mentioned, I thought Primeau (13:26, +1) had a great game tonight with some more ice time and smart penalty killing efforts. Hamrlik stepped up big-time, doing 26:19 and playing in every situation.

On my favourite player, Bertuzzi: Obviously a great game from him. Two points, and he seemed to be buoyed by them and return to a more physical style of play that created chances and havoc down low. But two points or not, that’s two games and two losses with Toddster in the lineup. And I’m getting the feeling his ice time (he had 16+ minutes tonight) is only going to go up.

So it’s back to Detroit, and yet another opportunity for Jim Playfair and all the players to show they can take that home game on the road, without that bananas Sea of Red (which was particularly bonkers tonight) to back ’em up.

Of course it’s also another opportunity for Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to get their magic back on home ice, so let’s see what happens.

(For a look back at all the in-game fun, check out Leanne’s liveblog and corresponding comment string.)

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~ by duncan on April 20, 2007.

7 Responses to “Shots don’t win championships”

  1. so let’s see if i got this right, a player pretends he’s going to slash J.I. and he gets a penalty, shades of the gretzky era returning.Something about these Alberta players being fragile in the eyes of the refs. Oh well….. Unfortunatley I’m in a dumb position in this series, the wings being my favorite team and the flames my second favorite. Sounds like a win-win situation but…. Also as the past two days have afforded me the chance to watch the various playoff teams I hate to say it but neither detroit nor calgary have got the team to hoist the cup. Goaltending is probably better for Calgary but the kipper is not the best, only one of them.How’s that for a bunch of babble milroy, at the end of the day they’re fun games to watch. Later man, got three little punks to deal with, i’m getting to old for this.

    mick

  2. You better not corrupt those three little punks with Wings babble! Keep them innocent in their young Flames’ love!

  3. dontcha love the way mick calls him “the kipper” ??? awww !!! great post, duncan. as always… 🙂

  4. I think you’re underestimating Bertuzzi, I think he’s been a Flamekiller in the past and could continue to be one.

  5. dontcha love the way mick calls him “the kipper” ??? awww !!!

    And how he calls Duncan “Milroy”? Mick is The Legend, The Old Master. Actually, Kyle, I think that he would overrule us in the nickname kingdom.

  6. No question, he already has.

  7. I learnt from the best.

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