Strong 3rd Leads Buds By Flames  

Sutter Continues Stand, Limits Iginla's Ice

January 13th, 2002
Rick Charlton

It would have been a certifiable crime had the Flames lost this one.

And they did.

Saprykin Drury Iginla
Gelinas Conroy Sloan
Niedermayer Yelle Clark
Berube Johansson Nichol
Lydman Regehr
Boughner Gauthier
Montador Leopold

Outshooting the Leafs 15-1 after one period and trailing 1-0, the Flames threw another 12 shots at Toronto in the second period to grab a 2-1 lead, dominating a contest they should have won going away.

But Toronto finally woke up in the third, blitzing Calgary starter Roman Turek with 15 shots, scoring on two of them to take a 3-2 decision over the ever-faltering Flames.

The loss was the fourth in a row for the Flames and brought Darryl Sutter's record in Calgary to 4-4-1 while dropping the Flames on the season to 14-22-6-3.

Calgary is 11 points out of a playoff spot, tied for last in the Western Conference while staring at another six teams they have to leapfrog in the next 37 games.

Hard? No. Impossible.

It was also the second time this season the Flames had entered the third period with a lead on the Leafs, only to lose the game.

"We're going to battle hard and as a group we're going to get out of this," promised Flames winger Rob Niedermayer of the latest of a string of Flames skids.

While it has been easy in recent games to question Calgary's effort, that may not have been the case in this one as the Flames held a wide territorial advantage over Toronto through 40 minutes, dominating in every aspect of the game.

So sad is the state of Calgary these days, however, that the Leafs needed to put in only 20 minutes of effort to dispatch the Flames.

Craig Berube, with a Denis Gauthier shot deflecting off his skate, and Stephane Yelle with his eighth of the season and fifth in the last nine games, gave the Flames a lead through two frames.

But Toronto centre Robert Reichel found himself mysteriously alone in front of Turek for a patented hard wrist shot Flames fans remember so well, bringing the Leafs even at 8:35 of the third period.

Then it was the turn of Mats Sundin to cut the heart out of Calgary, blowing by Toni Lydman, switching from backhand to forehand in a heartbeat and wristing a shot past Turek from 20 feet at 12:01.

Flames were outshot 15-6 in the third period after having a 27-7 edge in shots after 40 minutes.

Nik Antropov scored the other Toronto goal.

Toronto is now unbeaten in 13 at the Air Canada Centre.

Neither team was able to score on the power-play, the Flames going zero for four and the Leafs zero for five.

Next up is the Toilet Bowl, bottom feeder Nashville visiting Calgary for a battle of last place teams on Thursday, only the latest in what will undoubtedly be a long, long line of must win games. The contest will start a five game Flames homestand

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Toronto Maple Leafs 3
Penguins Calgary Flames 2

1 Ed Belfour - stood tall through 40 minutes with his team outshot 27-7, belying summertime critics who said his career was on the downswing. Thirty-three saves when the dust had settled. 

2 Alex Mogilny - rang the post in the third from the blueline, almost scored in the first with the puck halfway over the line, put a shot that skittered behind Turek but through the crease and finally picked up an assist on the winning goal. Dangerous all night and not even a contract year. 

3 Stephane Yelle - A poor man's Mike Ricci for ex-Sharks coach Darryl Sutter. Great second period goal.

Ed Belfour made an outstanding on Chris Clark 14 minutes into the second period, acrobatically swatting a Chris Clark wrist shot away from a sure red light. Or maybe the game-saving stop on Iginla in the final minute of the game, closing the pads in the nick of time.

Midway through the first period, Travis Green caught Martin Gelinas with his head down, sending the Flames winger spinning to the ice.

After Monday's flat 4-2 loss to Montreal, Sutter followed up with a full game day morning practice prior to the Leaf game last night. Were the Flames fatigued in the third period as a result? . . . . . Turek started his 25th consecutive game for the Flames, nearing Mike Vernon's club record of 27 consecutive starts set in 1992-93 . . . . "I couldn't agree with him more," Button said of Sutter's criticism of Conroy, Iginla and other top line players after the dreadful 4-2 loss in Montreal. "Quite frankly, the players who have put in the gritty determined effort get cheated (when the top players fail to show up)." . . . . . . Button said he and Sutter talk every day and personnel changes, if necessary, will come from that contact. . . . . Button was in Toronto for a gathering of Flames scouts to evaluate the junior scene, building towards the next entry draft in June. . . . . Lots of goal posts in this game, including Mattias Johansson ringing the bar in the second period. . . . . . I'm looking pretty good on my January prediction piece, saying the Flames would suffer at the hands of ex-Flames throughout the month. Tonight it was Robert Reichel. . . . . . Shayne Corson had the Flames thumping the table in outrage after he inexplicably escaped punishment in the second period, dropping stick and gloves while jostling Bob Boughner yet receiving no penalty when the Flames defenceman prudently ignored him. . . . . . . As a notable follow-through on his blistering criticism of his top players, Sutter limited Jarome Iginla's ice time to under 20 minutes for the first time in memory, the big Flames winger logging only 18 minutes, only one second more than Yelle. Gelinas was 16:12 and Craig Conroy 18:12. Toni Lydman led the team with 27:38 in ice time. . . . . .Mats Sundin was 22:12 as a counterpoint while the Leafs were led by Bryan McCabe at 25:43. . . . . Chris Drury was 77% in the faceoff circle but the Flames as a group were a rare 49%, under the breakeven point. Sundin was 58% for the Leafs. . . . . . Anyone remember when Peter Maher used to be the radio voice of the Leafs? . . . . . Mats Sundin for Wendel Clark. Remember Leaf fans blowing a gasket over that one?
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