Half Way and Half Century

Flames Hit 50 Point Mark With Win Over Panthers    

January 10th, 2004

With games numbered 40 and 41 being played this week, a myriad of midseason reviews have appeared on television, in newspapers, and well on websites (Look for Calgarypuck's midseason review early this week).

Within almost every one of these "half way there" assessments of the Calgary Flames, comes the question; can this team keep it up and make the playoffs this season?

It's the brass tax, the bottom line, the big enchilada - many are impressed with their record thus far, but can they maintain this improbable ride?

The club themselves did a whole lot to answer that question last night in defeating the Florida Panthers by a 4-2 score at the Saddledome, on coast to coast TV no less.

It wasn't that the victory was particularly pretty. It didn't feature air tight systems, or mistake free hockey. 

But then, that's the point, isn't it?

Playoff teams aren't measured by their masterpieces, it's the points scraped out of games where things don't come out as planned that add up in the end.

The Flames came out uncharacteristically loose in their own end. The young and spirited Florida Panthers used three powerplays to run up 15 shots and two first period goals, setting up one of those frustrating games from year's past where the Flames just didn't show up.

Not on this night.

The Flames changed their own fate in this one, slanting the ice towards Cat goalie Roberto Luongo for the final two periods - they out shot the visitors 25-8 over the final 40 - and turning a big fat lemon into a trough of lemonade for the Saddledome faithful.

At first it appeared that their effort would fall short at the feet of Luongo and his goaltending stylings.

The Flames peppered the former World Junior standout through the second period but couldn't do a thing to alter the 2-1 score.

Finally, in the third period, Dean McAmmond swept in a Jarome Iginla point shot during a powerplay triggered late in the second period to tie the score, and the dam burst from there.

A few minutes later Chris Clark scored the winner when he "seeing eye" slapper found the mitt of Luongo but got loose and fell into the cage.

For Clark, the goal marked the fifth point he's garnered in his last seven games, quite a feat for a third and fourth liner.

The games best player, Jarome Iginla, salted things away when he scored his second of the night to give the Flames a two goal lead.

On the play, the suddenly dangerous Oleg Saprykin took the puck in his skates behind the Florida cage, circled the net with his head up and found Iginla all alone in the deep slot.

Iginla appeared to have scored again late but the goal was reviewed and pulled back as it was ruled to have not crossed the line.

The win moves the Flames back to nine games over .500, and gives the club 50 points through 41 games, the exact half way point of the season.

Next up for Calgary is the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Tuesday night. That game marks former Flame, Gary Roberts, 1000 contest in his career.






1) Jarome Iginla - Another three point night for the Calgary captain. Could have been five. 

2) Oleg Saprykin - That skill is finally coming to the forefront as Saprykin picks up two assists.

3) Dean McAmmond - The third of the trio, turned things around with his third period powerplay goal

Roberto Luongo had to be razor sharp when an Andrew Ference point shot was redirected by his own player, Craig McDonald in the high slot.

Darcy Hordichuk had a tough shift when he was first hit by Marting Gelinas, then took the worst of an open ice attempt on Shean Donovan.

Funny how fast elite players can marginalize long-term negative trends and right their seasons. Jarome Iginla has struggled all season to be the "big man" on the scoresheet for the Calgary Flames, but his 10 points in the last four games has now put him on a 34 goal, 74 point pace that suggests he may come close to 90 by the time the season ends. ... Speaking of Iginla. Hands up. How many of you envisioned that perfect fit for the winger to include a left wing converted to center (Dean McAmmond), and an enigmatic green horn (Oleg Saprykin). The trio lit up the road trip but have been dominant for the team's last ten contests. ... Funny to listen to HNIC colour man Harry Neale chastise the Calgary faithful for booing former Flame Val Bure whenever he touched the puck. "They weren't booing when he scored 35 in Calgary four seasons ago", he stated. But with his Eastern roots he likely isn't aware of the fact that the Russian winger essentially fired a coach in Don Hay, was almost killed by a teammate (Jason Wiemer), publicly stated he would play his style regardless of what his coaches wanted, and almost single handedly tanked the career of young Russian Oleg Saprykin in the process. ... The victory moved the Flames into a tie for 5th place in the conference with the St. Louis Blues, though the Missouri club has a game in hand. It also keeps Calgary six points clear of the ninth place club, the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot. ... This term may seem foreign to Calgary fans, but the team had a HEALTHY SCRATCH last night in Martin Sonnenberg. With the acquisition of Lynn Loyns and the sudden non-injury to defenceman Andrew Ference, the Flames actually had an extra player last night!

  Back to Calgarypuck.com
Read other Stories
Talk About it!