Giveth, Taketh, Giveth Away

D'Arcy McGrath

January 17th, 2002

And then ... there was one.

The Flames, once a full 11 games over .500 in early November are now one game past the break even point thanks to a draining 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Preseason estimates put the West's final playoff margin in and around 90 points, and the Flames were well on their way to eclipsing that mark with a grade "A" start to their season. Now, just one game over .500 and trailing the upstart L.A. Kings, the Flames will some how have to turn a team that has only one six games in their last 28 starts to a team that somehow finds a way to secure 40 points in their last 35 games.

Don't hold your breath?

The Flames got off on the right foot in this one, scoring the games first goal and exiting the first frame with a lead for the first time since a game in Long Island ten days ago.

First period goals by Chris Clark and Craig Conroy sandwiched a Alexsy Morozov tally in a period where the Flmaes appeared to have jump, and was taking the play to the Penguins.

The second period was a different matter.

After an early period, spirited penalty kill the Flames found themselves short handed again when Craig Berube picked up a double minor in a fight that never was with Penguin tough guy Kristoff Oliwa. 

On the ensuing powerplay Morozov secured his second of the night catapulting the Penguins to a runaway three goal period. The other two second period goals by Pittsburgh were provided by Robert Lang on a two on one, and Morozov again with a hat trick goal.

The Flames offered little resistance as they basically slept through a listless period.

The third period had a more invigorated Flame squad hit the ice, as they once again took the game to Pittsbugh.

Jarome Iginla provided the spark needed to get the comeback underway when he beat a startled Johan Hedberg with an unscreened shot through the pads five minutes into the period.

A few minutes later the Flames almost tied the game on a play that would have likely landed Hedberg in the Hardy Astrom hall of fame. While shorthanded Bob Boughner fired the puck in on goal from center ice. Hedberg didn't appear to see the puck and just got his pad out in time to skirt disaster.

With just over four minutes left in the period the Flames tied the score when Igor Kravchuk popped his second goal in two games. While on the powerplay Kravchuk wristed a shot toward the Pen's cage and found mesh when the puck glanced off Pittsburgh defenceman Michal Rozsival.

Though momentum was firmly on the Flames side at that point, the comeback wasn't meant to be on this night as the Penguins struck for the go ahead goal and game winner 25 seconds later, when Jan Hrdina converted a Alexei Kovalev pass to put the Pens back ahead.

The Flames once again pressed to tie the score but gave teh game away for good when Igor Kravchuk caughed up the puck in an attempted cross ice pass resulting in an empty net goal by Mario Lemieux.

The loss moves the Flames record to 19-18-8-2, meaning the squad has staggered to a 6-16-6-0 record since opening the season 13-2-2-2.

The loss itself may not be as damning as it could have been with Phoenix, Vancouver and possibly L.A. all going down to defeat on the night as well (L.A. trails the Sabres 2-1 in the third period at time of print).

Inexplicably the Saddledome failed to sell out with Mario Lemeiux possibly taking his last shift in Calgary as only 15,437 souls were in attendance.



Pittsburgh Penguins 6
Calgary Flames 4

Box Score


Begin Savard Iginla
McAmmond Conroy Clark
Lowry Wilm Nichol
Petrovicky-- Shantz Berube
Morris Kravchuk
Gauthier Lydman
Boughner Regehr


1) Mario Lemieux - If that was Super Mario's last skate in Calgary he didn't disappoint with a goal and three assists.

2) Alexsy Morozov - The talented, but enigmatic winger was visible all night, scoring three goals and adding three blatant, head shaking dives.

3) Craig Conroy - One goal, one assist, and a plus one.


During a second period powerplay Johan Hedberg slid across and stoned the snake bitten Marc Savard to keep the score 3 to 2 for the visitors.


In a hit that likely should have been an interference penalty, Denis Gauthier lined up game star Morozov with a stellar open ice hit in the first period. The only problem? The puck was more than 15 feet away from the Pen winger when the boom was lowered.


Is it possible to lose on special teams with an upside? Probably not, however the Flames did manage to even the output quotient on the night for once, matching the Penguins with a powerplay goal apiece. The Penguins managed to score their powerplay goal on three chances compared to the Flames five. ... The Flames once again carried the play for 60% of the game, but lost the game in the second period when they were dreadful. ... The Flames were dominant in the faceoff circle taking 61% of the draws. Clarke Wilm and Craig Conroy took the majority of the draws. ... The oddly low hit count at the Saddledome was at it again with only 16 hits registered for each side. Five different Flames had two hits apiece on the night, while the Pen's Darius Kasparaitis led the way with five.



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