Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flames Burn Oil - Hartikainen's First NHL Goal.

The parade to the Calgary Flames' tomb, has been cancelled.

All the Oilers had to do was, hammer in a couple of nails, say some prayers and allow the grave diggers to pile on the dirt.  Instead, those damned Oilers decided to play God by resuscitating the play-off hopes of the Calgary Flames last night in Edmonton.

With the score at 4-1, it seemed as though the lowly Oilers had finally broken the 8 game losing streak. However, without a microcosm of quit in their veins, the Flames stormed back in the third to tie the game and then win it all in the shoot-out.

It was our night to give the Flames their eulogy, and then promptly laugh as they eternally rot in the depths...south of heaven.

But, what the HELL happened?

(Explitive), I don’t know what happened,” defenceman Ladislav Smid said during the post-mortem. "We just let them back in the game. There’s no excuses. It was 4-1. We should be able to manage the game. We probably should have stayed back more than we should have. It’s sad to see everyone with their heads down like this, because it was a hell of an effort.

An excellent effort indeed.  

The Oilers had the early jump and took the Flames off of their game by winning loose puck battles, utilizing physicality and scoring some timely goals.  

For the first time in recent weeks the Oilers looked VERY good. 

"This is one we really wanted. Everyone in this room wanted this one. It’s tough to swallow.” said Jordan Eberle.

In the third.

After Ryan Jones netted his 17th goal of the season, the momentum quickly shifted in favor of the Flames. 

Steve MacIntyre sat in purgatory for 2 minutes, and on the ensuing power-play Jarome Iginla put the Flames within two.  At the 6th minute mark, former Oiler, Curtis Glencross pounced on Jim Vandermeer's turn-over, and waltzed in alone to make it 4-3.  Finally, the beloved "Steady" Steve Staios rattled the twine against his old club with minute and change left in the game, to summon overtime.  When extra time solved nothing, Alex Tanguay completed the comeback with a shoot out goal.

5-4 Flames.

The loss now becomes the Oilers 9th in a row and the squad can notch another "valiant effort point" on the chalk board.  Clearly, this club has a lot to learn as the kids head back to class.  

"There is lots to fight for." said Renney.  "This is about securing your NHL opportunity and continuing to work on our identity as a team.  This is about making sure that our opponents have respect for us in terms of how hard we play.  That has to translate into winning at some point in time."

"We didn’t have the requisite intelligence that goes with it,” said Renney.  

"They gave it everything they had."

On the bright side.

Temmu Hartikainen, is becoming a fan favorite who is known for his strong puck handling abilities and one who isn't afraid to drive to the net.  The Fin muscled his way around Cory Sarich and wristed his first NHL goal past fellow country-man, Mikka Kiprousoff.

“It was nice to score against him,” Hartikainen said. “He’s a good goalie and he’s a big NHL star in Finland, everybody knows him.
“It’s good to get my first goal against him.”
"It's a great feeling, now I can tell my kids I scored a goal in the NHL, and hopefully, I’ll score a lot more,” said the 20 year-old.
Hartikainen became the 9th Oiler Rookie to post his first NHL goal for the 2010-11 season. 
Finally, Devan Dubnyk received full marks for his absolutely ridiculous, highlight reel save he made against the aging Ollie Jokinen in the first.  Dubnyk found himself out of position and managed to dive across the crease to harness in Jokinen's wrister to keep the game squared at zero.

Paajarvi earned his 12th goal of the season while Colin Fraser potted his first in 50 games.

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