Flames Fall in Atlanta

Rick Charlton

January 11th, 2002

A brutal loss.

A costly loss.

When the Flames look back on this Jekyll and Hyde campaign, they may find that brilliant victories over Detroit, Dallas, St. Louis and Colorado will have been sacrificed in vain with equally dismal defeats to Phoenix, Columbus and last night, a moribund 1-0 loss at the hands of the worst team in the NHL, the Atlanta Thrashers.

Atlanta, owners of 27 losses already this campaign, managed to secure their tenth win, the last NHL team to do so.

The Thrashers, the worst defensive team in the league by far, were led by the 38 save performance of netminder Milan Hnilicka. The Atlanta netminder was a late day replacement for scheduled starter Damian Rhodes who went down with a groin injury.

In a league where only results count in the end, we will set aside the fact the Flames held a sharp 37-20 edge in shots by noting Calgary once again failed to play a sixty minute game.

The Thrashers were typically guilty of the same crime - it just happened that their 30 minutes yielded the decisive goal which mattered.

The loss dropped the Flames to 19-16-8-2 on the season, still three points ahead of trailing Phoenix and LA while trailing seventh place Dallas in the Western Conference by three points as well.

It was the fifth time the Flames have been shut out this season and left Calgary winless in Atlanta since the Thrashers joined the NHL, 0-2-1.

It was only the second time this year the Thrashers have won two in a row, beating Ottawa 4-3 in their last game.

Former Flame Hnat Domenechelli gave the Thrashers all they needed when he deflected a Yanic Perrault point shot on a Thrashers power play at 7:53 of the second period.

The difference in the game came down to special teams and the Flames, entering the tilt an incredible seven for 95 since Derek Morris went down to injury, showed little once again, failing to score on all three of their man advantage opportunities.

And the penalty kill unit once again surrendered a key goal, continuing to justify its 24th league ranking.

Calgary's best chance came midway through the third period when Jeff Shantz deflected a point shot that nearly eluded Hnilicka.

The Flames return from this short road trip with one win in three games and now play their next six at the Saddledome starting with the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Attendance was 17,856 on the night, one of the biggest crowds in Atlanta this season.




Atlanta Thrashers 1
Calgary Flames 0

Box Score


McAmmond Conroy Iginla
Petrovicky Savard Clark
Lowry Shantz Begin
Allison Wilm Berube
Boughner Regehr
Buzek Lydman
Montador Kravchuk


1) Milan Hnilicka - No mistakes on the night behind a mistake-prone defence. 

2) Hnat Domenechelli - determined all night, the winning goal and three hits. 

3) Roman Turek - As good as Hnilicka on the night, stopping a penalty shot and the only goal to beat him a wicked deflection.


Mano el Mano with Jeff Cowan bearing down on Roman Turek on a penalty shot in the first period, but a drive heading high glanced off Turek's blocker and into the crowd.


Bob Boughner flattened Atlanta uber-rookie Ilya Kovalchuk midway through the first period. The kid tried to immediately retaliate but was pretty much a non-factor the rest of the way.


Hey, Ozzie Smith, elected three days ago to baseball's Hall of Fame, was in the crowd. . . . . . So was Daniel Bouchard, Willie Plett and Eric Vail - and if you have to ask who they are you're not much of a Flames fan. . . . . .Most interesting stat of the game - courtesy of Peter Maher of TEAM960 - the Flames have not played two consecutive games with a roster injury free since 1993. Nor have they played even a single game with a fully healthy roster since 1995 . . . . . Begin had an opportunity midway through the second to play with Conroy and Iginla, with McAmmond paired with Savard. Then again, keeping track of lines on this night would have been a full-time job as no combo seemed to survive until the next shift . . . . . . Reflecting a relatively emotionless affair, the Flames chalked up one of their lowest hit totals of the year, only 13. Dave Lowry had three for the Flames. Atlanta had 20 on the night with Mike Weaver (who?), Tony Hrkac and Domenchelli logging three apiece. . . . . . Jarome Iginla was 90% in the faceoff circle, leading the Flames who were 60% collectively. Patrik Stefan was 54% for the Thrashers.. . . . . . Jarome Iginla was double-shifted as the game came down to the wire and, in an unusual statistic, led the Flames in ice time on the night with 24:15. Usually a defenceman leads the team. Chris Tamer led the Thrashers with 23:39 in ice time. . . . . . . Rumour du jour, Morris will return to the Calgary lineup on Tuesday. And, according to Eric Francis of the SUN, Denis Gauthier as well.



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