So what did the Flames do right over the weekend? How did they win? Simply put, they played the system. No matter how bad the system, if the players believe in it, they will be successful. The forwards seem to have their legs.
The best line of Hagman, Stajan, and Glencross seem to really have their acts together right now. They are beginning to work as a unit. I like the cycle they are doing. They are forcing the issues, and are getting their scoring chances.
On the defence, Adam Pardy is developing into the defencemen he is capable of being. He has taken the chance and is running with it. He has been a rock in these last two games. Sometimes, adversity brings out the best in players, and it looks like it has brought out the best in Adam. It is great to see; I have seen Adam play since he turned pro, and it is great to see him live up to his potential. What I liked most about Pardy's play in the last two games is that he seemed to get better with each period. His minutes went over 20, compared to the 8 minutes he usually plays. He is grabbing the chance and running with it.
Of course, the top 2 have been very good. I still think that Gio will be the Flames' leader for many years to come. I am so happy this kid is signed for the next 4 years, because he is going to be a good one. Jbo is leading the team, he is doing the little things right. Jbo's offensive numbers might not be as good, but he is doing things that don't appear on the score sheet.
Shall we talk about the penalty killing? Because the Flames have been doing this very well. They have been outstanding. I give much of the credit to the unsung hero Cory Sarich. He has been a stalwart in the back line. He has lifted up his play tenfold. He has been very responsible in his own end. Not only has Glencross been good playing on the 5-on-5, he has been great working on the penalty kill.
I mentioned the system in this road trip. The Flames have the players coming down to the zone again. I like their covering their zones and playing the percentages covering their men. The players are beginning to buy into this, and Jackman seems to the main reason. He is teaching the younger players. Backlund and Pardy are listening, and they are getting the vets to listen. Yes, I am seeing these players become a team, and the role players leading this team.
The goalies came to play on the weekend. And again, it seems that Karlsson motivated Kipper. Karlsson was outstanding in Ottawa. He was especially steady in covering the angles and gave out very few rebounds. He played like a vet. It is so nice to have a back-up that the Flames can win with. He is a very important asset to have down the stretch. Kipper promptly plays “anything you can do, I can do better” and was outstanding in the Flames' victory over the Leafs. He made several saves and really came through. He was the old Kipper that the Flames fans know and love.
The Flames offence is struggling right now, but there were some positives. Stajan looks like he is improving his play. The second line was very good, and Hagman was snapping out of his slump. Iggy is his old self, the leader on this team. Let's hope Feaster does not change his mind, and keeps him.