alot has been made about the changes the flames have made since the blowout in the sharktank, the cancelled bay-area excursions, and subsequent "mini-training camp." since that *ahem* bitch-slapping, the flames have gone 9-3-2 and have solidified their play; the defensemen are moving the puck up-ice with more consistancy, and the forwards are forechecking and backchecking [well, everyone excpet bertuzzi, who apparently skipped backchecking class].
to say that tonight's game is the first 'true test' of the flames newfound resilience would be unfair, since they've played a couple of cup contenders in the rangers and wings since the bay-area-blowout a month ago. the hawks have been undenyably strong, of late, are well rested, and the flames will have to battle hard to outscore them.
glencross, primeau, prust and vandermeer are all still on the shelf, which leaves the flames with the same lineup from the past two victories. during these two games, jamie lundmark has somehow managed to settle bertuzzi --i'm not sure the reason why-- who has looked better than "not very good," to the point of "quite effective" at certain points. sure, i'm the first to give bootuzzi a bad time, but let's acknowledge that the breakaway moves leading to the overtime winner against the wild didn't beat backstrom when on his breakaway in the second period. still, kudos to bert for potting one when it really mattered, and i will totally admit to grinning like a fool as he pulled himeslf out of the net, stood up, and said "fuck yeah" while his teammates crowded around yelling ecstatic obscenities... :P
let's hope similar celebration ends tonight's tilt...