Flames Hockey

By Ian Waldbauer

Tonight’s 5–4 overtime Flames victory over the New Jersey Devils was strange, considering the two teams are heading in completely opposite directions.

This season has been one of disappointment for the Flames so far. Already talking about rebuilding and reshaping for next season weeks before the trade deadline, this certainly isn’t where the team planned to be last fall. After a coaching change that placed Head Coach Darryl Sutter behind the bench, the playoffs seem more distant than ever before and trade winds continue to swirl around stars such as Jerome Iginla and Roman Turek. Success starved fans are already worried it could get even worse before it gets better.

The Devils however, are in the midst of a season of redemption. After last year’s hiccup that saw the team underachieve (if making the playoffs can be considered underachieving), they are once again sitting pretty among the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Goaltender Martin Brodeur sat on the bench tonight, but has returned to outstanding form after somewhat of an off-year last season. Coupled with the Devils’ outstanding defence, even the team’s lack of scoring prowess doesn’t prevent them from being viewed as one of the favourites to come out of the East.

This is why tonight was odd. The Flames came into the game after squeaking past the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, a night which saw them come from behind in the third period to beat the Sharks for the first time this season. They came from behind twice tonight as well, before Martin Gelinas scored the overtime winner.

To continue this uncharacteristic trend, the team is hoping for continued production from its key offensive players, especially Iginla, who as of late has regained the scoring touch that he carried with him last season.

Tonight’s game marked the beginning of Flames coverage by the Gauntlet, coverage that will span the remainder of the season… so enjoy.

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