Based on the general performance of the Flames during this season so far, I figured it would be too much to ask that my first article be about our win against the Vancouver Canucks. With Kiprusoff out because of injury, and Backlund side-lined also because of an injury, I knew that a win could be tough to come by.
When Vancouver scored the first goal of the game, I shrugged my shoulders, knowing that it would be a tough game to win against the top team in this division.
And then something happened that shifted my perspective. The Flames started getting physical. McGrattan started throwing hits, Bouwmeester had a good presence on the ice, and the Flames, in general, put pressure on Vancouver’s net. Cammalleri tied it up in the first period, just before Glencross was handed an interference call that was, in my opinion, not interference at all.
Period two started on the penalty kill, which didn’t give me high hopes. Luongo made a steller save that forced the play back into our own end and Vancouver scored again to give them a 2-1 lead. Not long after, from a nice feed from behind the Vancouver net, Stepniak tied the game at 2.
And then it happened – what everyone will remember from this hockey game, and possibly the shining moment from our entire season – McGrattan’s ten-minute misconduct salute. Sestito and McGrattan had been exchanging words all night and it finally came to blows. McGrattan won the fight and started to skate off the ice, barely out of breath. He lit up the players and then the fans when he stared intensely into the crowd and saluted all of us as if to say, “I got this, and that one was for you.” The crowd roared!
Although Danny Taylor looked a little shaky in net during the first period, he shined during the second and third periods. He seemed strong and focused for most of the game. In spite of the non-calls against Vancouver in the third period, when we were blatantly slashed and tripped, our team remained poised on the ice. As McGrattan and Sestito continued to beak at each other, Vancouver seemed to be getting frustrated. A powerplay goal by Iginla sparked us again as we put more pressure on the Vancouver net. In the last few minutes of the game, Cammalleri got his second of the night which led our team to a 4-2 win over Vancouver.
It was Taylor’s first win in the NHL, and Iginla has now surpassed Theo Fleury for 59th place in all-time scoring. It was a momentous night for this team, and I’m still glowing from the win. This is the team that I have been waiting all season to see and I will keep my fingers crossed in hopes that this same team shows up on Wednesday against San Jose.