The past week in Flames games has been like Christmas for a lot of fans. Each new game was a gift and each gift was opened with excitement and hope that we could cross off another win on our previously written list of anticipation. Win, win, win – it’s all we wanted and pleaded for. The franchise record on October 11th was like getting a gift that we didn’t even know that we wanted. Even Don Cherry said, on Hockey Night In Canada during Saturday night’s broadcast, that he’s happy the Flames are doing well so far this year, in part thanks to Joey MacDonald.
Last week, the Flames hosted the Habs. With a beauty play in the first period, Monahan opened the scoring and set the tone for the rest of the game. Baertschi followed up Monahan’s lead with another wrister in the first period to take us into the second period with a score of 2-0. During the second, we netted another goal as Glencross deflected a shot by Wideman and the Flames had a comfortable 3 goal lead. Subban would pot one late in the second period to start the third period at 3-1 for Calgary. The Canadiens held on and scored another goal in the third but it wasn’t enough for the win. Thanks to an ill-timed penalty by Subban, the Flames were well on their way to starting their season off with a bang as they took another win at the end of this game with a final score of 3-2. MacDonald made 33 saves on 35 shots on net, and his credibility had gone up a little in my mind.
Calgary Flames Goaltending – MacD gains a fan
Because of the stunning goaltending by MacDonald in the game at the Saddledome against the Devils, I officially climbed on the MacD train. When the Devils opened the scoring with the lone goal during the first period, my first thought was, “yeah, here we go – this is the one we’re going to lose.” I’m a lifelong Flames fan, this has happened every year for a long time. About five mins into the second period, during a Devils penalty, hope swelled inside me again as Wideman’s slapshot paid off and the Flames got the ball rolling by tying the score. The Flames answered every goal the Devils would throw at them. When the Devils took another one goal lead, the Flames tied the score shortly after. It all came down to the desire for the win in the third period. With the score still tied at 2, Monahan finished the game much the way he started – with another goal. The Calgary Flames made franchise history on October 11th as they made their best start in the club’s history with the win against the Devils. After that game, Calgary was still undefeated in regulation time in their first five games.
And then it happened – the game that would put our history-making night to rest. Penner and Palmieri would drive home two goals in the first period to put the Flames down 2-0 to start the game. But they wouldn’t go out like that and Stempniak closed the gap by one goal to end the first period. In the second period, Selanne restored the Ducks 2 goal lead. The third period was all Calgary Flames as they tried to fight back for the two unanswered goals. They closed the gap and the Ducks were ahead by only one goal as time ticked down on the clock. As they fought for the last unanswered goal, their play improved tremendously, but time was not on their side. It was the first loss in regulation this season.
Admittedly, the game against the Ducks was a bittersweet disappointment. It was tough to lose after setting a new franchise record, but, at the same time, it was a well played game by the Flames even though they started out looking shaky and uncomfortable. All good things come to an end and it was destine to happen. I am not bitter about it. Instead, I’m proud of this team for their effort, heart, and brilliant play so far this year.
There is a little fear in my mind that Calgary will fall back into their old ways of starting off strong only to fall apart as the season moves forward. But, at the same time, this is a new team and I’m still hoping for the best. There’s too much talent and skill on the Flames team this year to let me down as long as they can keep playing the way they have. It’s a great time to be a Flames fan. With great conversations flowing, me and my fellow Flames fans are enjoying every second of each game because we haven’t been able to get this excited about our team in a really long time.