Wednesday night, Jonas Hiller led the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 OT victory over the really good hockey team in Chicago. And while it's neat to see a team that is, ah, "scrappy," pull a win out of a lopsided game against a superior opponent, you'd think that getting outshot by nearly Colorado-like proportions (nearly, but not quite!) would be concerning for a team that most are predicting to miss the playoffs by a fair margin.
In fact, that's what their coach said as well:
"Good ending," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "That's almost like a golf game. Our drive went in the woods, but we took a stroke and we found a way to [make] par." [NHL.com]
See, here's the problem:
Result: 2-1 to Calgary (OT)
Yes, that's correct: more shots on goal in five minutes of OT than they had in the first 20 minutes of the game. That's obviously not the way you want to play, as everyone knows.
"Tonight, we definitely played how we want to play," Hiller said. "Everybody was working hard [and] doing everything. We were blocking shots. We were tight in our own end. We didn't given them too many great scoring chances and when they had them, there always seemed to be a stick there. I think that's the way we've got to play." [NHL.com]
Well, you know a goalie has to say those things, right? Keep the old morale up and all that. And yes, smartypants, I know the Flames are aware that this constitutes a weak effort that was saved by miraculous goaltending. I'm sure everyone knows they didn't give their best effort on this occasion, that they got outworked, and
"It was [Hiller] in net, he was great for us," Backlund said. "[It's] another night we had great goaltending. We are fortunate to have great goaltending on this team. It's always tough when you're up 1-0 and you let one in late, but everybody kept going, kept working and believed that we could still win it. I think that's why we came out with the win." [NHL.com]
Anyway, my point: the 50-18 shot totals reminded me of another date that I'd like to take a look back at:
Result: 4-3 to Dallas
And how did the Stars respond to a game they pulled out of the fire?
"They were shooting the puck a lot and that was fun for a little while, but then it gets tiring," Lehtonen said. "It's fun if it goes well. If things don't go well, it can get ugly. I had no problem getting all those shots tonight, when I was feeling good and things seemed to just hit me. That was fun." [NHL.com]
"I felt like we played defense the whole game," Roussel said. "We didn't have much energy. Our goaltender played unbelievable and he kept us in the game. We got some lucky goals and some great bounces. The boys played hard, but they obviously dominated us and we'll take the two points." [NHL.com]
Postgame quotes are postgame quotes, sure. But I think you'd always want to see your team aspiring to better things than a 50-18 shot massacre that wasn't. Good luck to Calgary in figuring out how to set their sights a little higher in the future.
It seems like the Stars, for their part, have done just that. After looking overwhelmed during just about all of the first period last night, Dallas stepped up and started staying out of the box a bit more while at least not completely capitulating during 5-on-5 (thanks in large part to Lehtonen). They stayed in the game, generated scoring chances, and found themselves with a win that may not have been earned for all 60 minutes, but it's sure as Benn a far cry from the "stolen" effort in Chicago last year. That, I think, is progress.
* * * * *
Friday has arrived, and none too soon. What are you weekend plans? I'd recommend a good hike, a bike ride, just anything that gets you out and about, really. Also, fun game last night.
Stepneski Recap Central is here for you with a nice Crosby quote: "To not even get a point out of that, I think it's a little frustrating." Yeah, I can see how that would be frustrating. [Stars]
The hockey gods smiled upon the Stars last night, says Mike Heika. [DMN]
Pensburgh recapped the game as well from a #sadpenguin perspective. Best wishes for Dupuis, who deserves better this season after what he went through last year. [Pensburgh]
Mike Heika notes that the Stars are trending up in the faceoff department, although Seguin's going 1 for 8 in the circle last night wasn't super encouraging. Brandon Sutter was a beast, though. Anyway, the Stars are better at faceoffs now, is the thing. [DMN]
Here's an interesting take on the Stars, with some notes on their lack of physicality and their high penalty minutes this year so far. Not sure where the Jordie Benn snark is coming from here, though. [Give Me Sport]
The Ducks have been finding success with dumping the puck into the offensive zone instead of carrying it in as frequently as many elite teams are trying to do. Anaheim Calling takes a very deep dive into how Ryan Kesler and company have executed this strategy. Whiteboard pictures with numbers and circles included at no extra charge. [Anaheim Calling]
How bad have the Oilers been this season? Well, kind of the worst. And everybody is getting sick of it. Seriously, that game last night was just depressing. It was like watching an actual coyote hunt in the real world, which they don't usually do, being scavengers, right? Although I suppose one could argue that scavenging was exactly what they did last night. Yeesh. [Puck Daddy]
TSN has been doing more of these stats pieces lately that provide a good and simple perspective on how a team is performing in specific areas. Here's one on Ottawa, Erik Karlsson, and exiting the defensive zone. [TSN]
I hate publicly financed sports arenas so very, very much. Columbus has the latest example of why it's usually a gigantic rip-off of taxpayer dollars. [Columbus Dispatch]
It's looking like Daniel Alfredsson may be fated for retirement after all. That's bad news for the Wings, who just saw their other potential leading scorer for this year get signed by Boston for $600K. [Detroit Free Press]
Wayne Simmonds is the new Milan Lucic, everybody. A timely look at the "league's top power forward," which I guess means that Benn is no longer considered as such. Good. [The Hockey Writers]
Buffalo's hysteria over its recent franchises' history of failure saw another blip on the radar. Or, another brick in the mosaic, if you will. It's funny that the "no goal" slogan is just taken at face value when Hull's tally was a goal according to every objective measure one can find, including the NHL rules in place (continuation) and the call by the officials on the ice and after consideration. But no, let's keep the narrative of "foot in the creasess!!" because that's easy. You'll never heal that way, Buffalo. [Buffalo News]
How about some NHL '94 treatment of actual goals? They even did it for Jagr's first goal with the Stars! [NHL Video]
What happens when an OHL team's owner more or less demands that his son play when he's not qualified to be there? The 18-year-old player has to take the high road and retire. [THN]
Finally, Razor takes us home with his postgame video blog called Curio Emporium (seriously, that's what it's officially called and everything) on his way home: