Secondary scoring is key in Flames 2-1 win
In the Calgary Flames 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, it wasn't the top line making waves - it was the depth players.
Eric Nystrom and Jamie Lundmark scored for the Flames and the third and fourth lines made huge contributions on both ends of the ice.
Dustin Boyd had two assists in the win.
"We needed a game like that. We've given far too many chances, far too many goals. Tonight's penalty kill did a good job. That's almost better than scoring that goal, having the PK kill off those penalties," Nystrom smiled after the game.
"I think everybody just played the right type of game tonight, from the top guys to the bottom guys.We were doing all the little things right - a lot of blocked shots, got the puck behind the defense and forechecked hard. That's the type of hockey we need to play to be successful."
Many thought it would the top line stealing the show again as both Olli Jokinen and Jarome Iginla have been red hot lately. Nystrom said that while the top line is the main key in producing offense, the secondary scoring is equally important to take the pressure off of Jokinen and Iginla.
"The first line can't score every goal and for the most part they have been. Olli has been on fire and those guys can score a lot. We need the depth guys to step up and I don't think we necessarily did on that road trip. It's good in a game like this to score a few goals and take the pressure off the top guys."
Nystrom said that being at home really helped the club, especially the last couple of days at the rink.
"We had two hard days of practice and I think that definitely energized the guys who haven't been playing that much."
While the Stars struck first in the second period, the Flames didn't give up. After the fourth line delivered a thunderous shift, slamming Dallas Stars into the boards one after another for almost a minute, the second line was able to come on and get the equalizer.
"Lundy scored a beauty," commented Nystrom.
Boyd made a great play at the Stars blueline, chipping the puck ahead to a waiting Daymond Langkow. The centerman saw Lundmark streaking in on the right and didn't think twice. Lundmark took the pass from Langkow and wired it over Turco's shoulder for his fifth of the year.
Lundmark credited his linemates on the goal, saying all he had to do was shoot and they did the work.
"Boyd made a great little shovel pass to Lanks and I just kind of took off the net. Lanks found me with a little saucer pass," said Lundmark. "I'm getting good opportunities and my linemates are definitely helping me out."
The game winner came in the third frame with Boyd making another heads-up play at the blueline.
Boyd stole the puck off a Dallas player and threw it up to Nystrom who had no one watching him. He skated in and went five hole on Turco, netting his fourth goal of the season.
"My eyes were like as huge as basketballs. I had a whole head of steam and knew if he could get it to me I'd be all alone. It was a great pass and luckily it went in," Nystrom said with a huge smile. "Boydie made a great play, kind of one-handed it under the guy's stick and I just tried to get a shot away quick and surprise him. It snuck between his pads."
Nystrom doled out compliments to Boyd, saying that his play all night fueled the team.
"He was force all night with his forechecking and physical play. I think that's why we were able to have a good line."
The playing style was drastically different on the road trip with all members of the team thinking defense first.
"We played a strong defensive effort in all three zones," Nystrom explained. "Everybody's got to buy into it, not just two or three guys. It was a good, stingy effort for us."
The club also made an effort to play a very simple game.
"It's nothing like brain surgery. You just got to get the puck behind the defense and get the forecheck going. That's how we generated most of our chances. We were physical, turned the puck over, we weren't making dipsy-doodle plays right at the blueline. In turn, we give up one goal against and score more than the other team."
Nystrom acknowledged the team was thinking about the Vancouver Canucks nipping at their heels. The Canucks are now five points behind the Northwest leading Flames.
"It's hard to ignore but at the same time it's in our own hands. We have to win games. If we just win, we'll stay ahead of them. That's what it comes down to. We can't be worried about them."
During the warm-up skate, several fans donned Dion Phaneuf masks as they crammed down in the lower bowl to watch the team. They were handed out as fans entered the building. After the game, Andre Roy entertained the media by strolling out of the dressing room in one of the masks, wearing Phaneuf's trademark Red Bull hat and saying he was available for interviews.
Prior to the puck drop, the Flames honoured captain Jarome Iginla on becoming the club's all-time points leader. A video montage of his career highlights was shown to the C of Red. General manager Darryl Sutter presented the captain with a silver stick for his accomplishments.
It was Olli Jokinen and Jordan Leopold's first game in the Pengrowth Saddledome as a member of the Flames.
Every time Jokinen was featured on the Enmax Energy Board the C of Red exploded into cheers.
Jamie Lundmark showed some courage when he faced off with the pesty Steve Ott early in the first period. While Lundmark was outmatched, it was still a good tussle with both players landing some decent hits.
THE NUMBERS GAME
200 - Career wins for Miikka Kiprusoff
1 - Goal post for Olli Jokinen
36:15 - Time it took for Stars to accrue their first power play
5 - Goals on the year for Jamie Lundmark
THE BIG SAVE
THE BIG HIT
WHY THE FLAMES WON
UP NEXT: The St. Louis Blues are in town on Friday to faceoff against the Flames. Game time is 7:00 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.