Marty Turco has always been a prickly thorn in the side of the Calgary Flames. Against the Flames, he sports his best career Goals against average against any team in the NHL with a microscopic 1.78 GAA. Just phenomenal, given anything under 2 is considered excellence. The Flames solved him last meeting, scoring twice to the tune of a 2-1 home ice win. And with the division slipping away and the Flames falling into 5th place in the Western Conference, they needed to recall how to beat Marty Turco in order to keep pace. They didn’t exactly solve him, but Calgary’s netminder was a little better and their defense a little tighter and they eeked out a stingy 2-1 road win. Dare I say it was 2004-esque? Playoffs are official!
On The Line
You probably don’t need to read this to know, but Calgary has fallen to 5th in the conference trailing both the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vancouver Canucks by 1 point. With 6 games left, they need to win as many as they can if they hope to claim home ice advantage in the 1st round and maybe beyond. They can also clinch a playoff spot for the 5th consecutive season by earning just 1 point in this game. Dallas is hanging by a thread for their playoff lives, so expect them to be ready to go.
The first period didn’t start off too well for the road team, as just 3 minutes in to the frame Fabian Brunnstrom netted a breakaway tally – his 14th of the year, after Adrian Aucoin bobbled the puck trying to move it up the ice. The Flames pressed for the next goal and Bertuzzi had a great chance with a clear cut breakaway. He went to his favorite move – the backhand deke, but lifted the puck just an inch or two too much and hit the crossbar instead of finding the net. The Flames did tie the game before the end of the period when Jarome Iginla took a shot from the slot which clanged the iron, then slid to Turco’s skate, then finally across the goal line to send the game to the intermission dead-locked at 1 goal apiece.
The Flames turned up their game in the 2nd period, outshooting Dallas 11-7 and netting the go-ahead goal. Dion Phaneuf found out what happens when his shot is near the net when Craig Conroy tipped in #3’s point blast giving Calgary a 2-1 lead to take with them to the 3rd period.
Calgary went in to defensive mode in the 3rd, only mustering 1 total shot to Dallas’ 10. But, the Flames worked their behinds off to clear loose pucks, win board battles, and block shots. Offense was not the objective here. Mikka Kiprusoff made some big saves, and the Flames earned the 2-1 victory and officially clinched a playoff spot.
- Dion Phaneuf – For all the flack he’s been getting, its games like this that bring us back on the Dion train. 2 assists and the only Flame at +2.
- Mikka Kiprusoff – Stopped 29 of 30 shots and none were bigger than a glove robbery on Eriksson in the 1st period when the Flames were trailing 1-0.
- Marty Turco– It looked as though Turco was going to own the Flames again, making several spectacular saves in the 1st period.
Marty Turco stacked the pads and robbed Curtis Glencross who was following up on a rebound. The score was 1-0 at the time and that save kept the Flames at bay for the time being.
Robyn Regehr was lining up a Star in the Tunnel of Death, but he smashed himself in to the glass and appeared to injure his arm/shoulder/upper body. Could have huge implications if it turns out to be anything serious.
The Dallas PP was given 4 minutes to work with in the 3rd, and couldn’t tally, but full credit to the Flames PK. Adrian Aucoin had a particularly bad game, and had the Flames lost he would have been singled out for his 1st period gaffe that lead to the Stars 1st goal.
Jordan Leopold. When Robyn Regehr went down, Leo stepped it up. Definitely his best game as a Flame (This time around.)
Odds and Ends
If my math serves me correct, which it usually does not – then Calgary has clinched at very least 6th place in the Conference. They have made it impossible for Anaheim, Nashville, and St. Louis to pass them with this win. They momentarily move back in to 1st place in the division with 94 points, with the Canucks and Ducks tied at 2-2 after 1 period in Anaheim as I write this. Dallas outshot Calgary 30-24, but don’t be fooled, most of that was in the 3rd period with the Flames playing shut-down hockey. Dallas was 0 for 3 on the PP, with Calgary 0 for 2. Jordan Leopold logged the most icetime of any player on both teams with 25:08. Robyn Regehr injured himself in the 2nd period with an awkward crash into the boards. He did not return and his status for tomorrow is questionable at this time.
The Flames roll into Minnesota tomorrow night for a 6:00 battle. The game will be broadcast on the Sportsnet West and the Fan 960.
Lines (To Start):
Bertuzzi – Jokinen – Iginla
Cammalleri – Langkow – Lundmark
Glencross – Conroy – Moss
Peters – Boyd – Nystrom
Phaneuf – Vandermeer
Regher – Aucoin
Pardy – Vandermeer