After a spectacular Heritage Classic event, where the Calgary Flames went on to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 (or as some ‘for sale’ tickets online stated, the “Montreal Canadians vs. the Edmonton Flames”…blasphemy!), the Flames are set to face the Boston Bruins tonight.
The Flames were yet again spectacular in their defeat of the Canadiens, firing as much as the could at Carey Price and taking advantage of every opportunity. This is not to say that the Canadiens didn’t have a push-back of their own; in those cases, Miikka Kiprusoff stood brilliantly.
Kiprusoff has received some heavy criticism all season, even during the recent playoff push by the Flames, for reasons unknown to me. But during the Heritage Classic, there was no doubt that Kipper still had that game in him, and was able to record his fourth shutout of the season.Another player climbing his way out of the doghouse was the seemingly possessed Rene Bourque. Fans have been wondering all season what happened to the forechecking wonder that we all appreciated last season. Bourque has been slow, lacking offense, and routinely making terrible choices. After a few concussions and the loss of linemate Daymond Langkow, all were wondering if Bourque would return to form.
Well, the Heritage Classic was a positive sign. Looking like a beast, Bourque set an outdoor game record with eleven shots on net, scoring on two of those shots. He looked energized and basically, how many of us have been waiting for him to look like all season. Yes, it’s just one game, but who knows? The entire team seems to be heading in a positive direction.
Top Bourque’s two goals off with a shorty from Anton Babchuk, an Alex Tanguay goal off a beautiful feathered pass from Jarome Iginla, and some frozen beer, and that was the Heritage Classic, whose sponsorship revenue exceeded that of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (take note for once, Bettman).
As it stands right now, the Flames are in 6th place with 70 points, tied with the Nashville Predators who are in 5th. With 61 games, the Flames are still leading the Western Conference for number of games played, even after a relatively lax week. Tied with 68 points include Minnesota, Dallas, L.A., Anaheim, and Chicago, and all have either one or two games in hand. A valid point is that they’re only games in hand if they’re wins, so we’ll all still be rooting for a few losses to help out the Flames.
Facing the Boston Bruins tonight, the Flames need to take as much advantage of this non-conference rival as possible, which won’t be easy against this strong Bruins team. However, as the title states, the Flames just need to stay the course, and they’ll come out with a win more often than not.
Fortunately, I’ll be attending the game tonight. It’s rare to see an Eastern team at the Dome, so it should be an exciting event. The winner will be showered with praise. The loser will be taunted and booed until my throat is sore. I’m a hardass.