Last Friday, the Flames and Oilers played at Rexall Place and the hosts, though they’d spotted the Flames a few leads, fought back every time, including a determined third-period effort that saw them pull level with their hated rivals inside of six minutes to go. But then Nikolai Khabibulin dashed his own team’s hopes of heading to overtime by mishandling a soft dump and allowing a Flames forward to poke the puck into the net inside of a minute to go.
A devastating loss? Maybe. But what the hell, right? It’s early yet and the Flames are a very good team.
So then what are we to make of tonight’s 4-3 shootout loss to those same rivals in the same building, especially since it came about in a very similar way. Tonight, it was the Oil that found themselves up 2-0 and dominant through the first period, and the Flames that scrapped and gritted their way, partly through the energy gained from an inspirational donnybrook between Jarome Iginla and Ethan Moreau, back even. And this time, it was the Oilers that got the late lead off a fortuitous bounce and fancy move from Ales Hemsky.
But once again, the Oilers proved why they’re going absolutely nowhere this season. The Flames pulled the goalie and used their time out with less than a minute to go, and the game looked all but lost with three ticks on the clock. That’s when Dion Phaneuf slid a puck across the blue line to Jay Bouwmeester, who fired out of desperation, and saw his shot get tipped (just under the crossbar, as a review showed) past Khabibulin by Rene Bourque. With 1.6 seconds to go.
In overtime the Flames took an early penalty and tried to give the game to the Oil, but even that wasn’t enough. They went on to lose in the shootout, 2-1, which seemed appropriate enough given the way they frittered away their opportunities in the dying minutes. They simply didn’t deserve the win.
Didn’t the Oilers say something about needing to win more at home? Was that just me that heard that?
Oh well, there’s always next year.
Anaheim 6, Boston 1
As I write this, Boston’s hospital waiting rooms, beds and hallways are simply loaded with all those people that broke their ankles jumping off the bandwagon, pulled their hamstrings climbing back on, and then shattered their kneecaps jumping off again after tonight’s dismal performance. They were simply dissected tonight by the lethal play of the Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry line.
Buffalo 2, Phoenix 1
After last night’s game, they go and pull this? Move ‘em to Hamilton.
Ottawa 3, New York Islanders 2 (OT)
True story: While flipping through the channels during an intermission, the words “Ottawa at New York Islanders” popped up on my channel guide. I said, “Oh, ew,” and changed it immediately. I guess Okposo’s goal was a beauty. Someone will post the youtube tomorrow. It won’t be me though.
Pittsburgh 5, Philadelphia 4
Great game. Not that you’d know it from all the finger-biting that went on at the end of the game.
New York Rangers 4, Washington 3
The Caps mounted a valiant comeback, but Marian Gaborik’s pretty good at this hockey thing and scored twice in the third period. Oh yeah, and Ovechkin’s scoring line: zeros and a minus-1. What a stiff.
New Jersey 4, Tampa Bay 3 (SO)
One New Jersey fan on Twitter had the guts to call this a “Huge win. Huge win.” I swear. That was actually said. About a win over Tampa. In a shootout. In October.
Detroit 3, Chicago 2
I meant to watch some of this game, and instead I watched none of it. I’m very disappointed in myself and have no further thoughts on the matter.
Nashville 3, Colorado 2
The Avalanche are an all-time 0-1736-12 in Nashville. You can look that up.
Los Angeles 6, Minnesota 3
I guess the good news is that the Wild are scoring more often. The bad news is they apparently have to give up their ability to defend even a little bit. It’s not unlike the Little Mermaid in that way.
San Jose 6, Columbus 3
The Heatley-Thornton-Setoguchi line simply went off tonight. A combined 4-6-10 and PLUS-12. If you add in the points by Danny Boyle, which all came when the above trio was on the ice, you can bump it up to a 5-8-13 and plus-14. Hachie machie!