Fight Their Way to Victory
A sellout crowd for the Saturday night fights didn't go home
And they even got to watch a bit of a hockey game as well.
Both Anaheim and Calgary had downplayed their re-match of a
record-setting, brawl-filled slugfest last month but the combatants
didn't disappoint the 17,409 in attendance with the dukes flying before
this game was three minutes old.
By the end of the evening, a ton of shoving and below the belt play
had yielded three fights and . . . . . oh yeah, the Flames ended a four
game losing streak in pulling out a critical 2-1 victory.
The win moved the Flames back within a single point of Los Angeles,
losers earlier in the day, for the eighth and final playoff spot in the
NHL's Western Conference. Calgary, now 20-18-8-2 on the season, also
maintained a three point spread on trailing Vancouver while opening up a
three point edge on Phoenix. Of interest as well is the fact the Flames
closed to within seven points of Edmonton with three games in hand.
The game was a critical one for the flickering Flames, desperately in
need of some kind of good news as they finally halted their death spiral
in the Western Conference standings. But Calgary turned in one of its
most complete 60 minute efforts in two months and were full marks for
As important as this contest was to the Flames in the standings there
seemed little doubt there would be time to settle a few scores from the
brawl-fest 4-0 Ducks win of last month. Craig Berube and Denis Lambert
needed only four seconds into their first shift at 1:47 of the first to
enjoin battle with Berube emerging a clear victor.
Kevin Sawyer, who received a five game suspension out of the events
last month, jumped a willing Jamie Allison at 11:24 for the second fight
of the night. Later, in the second period, the entire rink held its
collective breath as Derek Morris, not even a participant in the last
Duck-Flame game and fresh back from a wrist injury, went ballistic on an
unprepared Pavel Trnka.
Missing from the fight card were Dave Lowry and Jeff Friesen, not
through a lack of invitation on the part of Lowry. It was Friesen who labeled
Lowry a "coward" for his game delaying actions in December
which allowed Berube to jump Friesen in that game.
For all the peripheral action, the game turned out to be the main
Andy McDonald, who potted two the last time these two teams met,
opened scoring for Anaheim at 12:06 of the first when he took a nifty
pass from Oleg Tverdovsky and roofed a shot glove side on Calgary
starter Roman Turek.
But the Flames fought back when Scott Nichol, pesky all night, came
from behind the net and banked a shot off Tverdovsky's skate and behind
Anaheim starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere at 4:59 of the second.
In the third period, Clark Wilm feathered a pass to a charging Chris
Clark who boomed a slapper short side past Giguere at 1:35 to give the
Flames a 2-1 edge.
Turek wasn't particularly busy on this night but was steady when he
needed to be and received help from the goal post on a Friesen chance
with only two and a half minutes left.
Final shots were 28-26 for Calgary while the Flames continued their
abysmal performance on the powerplay, zero for two on the night and now
with only one goal in their last 24 opportunities.
On a positive note, the penalty kill, so detrimental for much of this
season, managed to shut out the Ducks on three chances. More
significantly perhaps, the Flames, the third highest penalized team in
the league, continued its recent trend of spending little time in the
Paul Kariya continued to be invisible this season, now with only five
points in his last 13 games and shut out in 26 games so far this year.
All that for $10 million per season.
On the other side of the spectrum, this contest marked the return to
the Calgary lineup of call-up Oleg Saprykin. Saprykin had two shots in
the first five minutes of this game and played an energetic game
Marc Savard, ostensibly Calgary's second line centre, was dropped to
the fourth line by the end of the first period, posting less than nine
minutes of ice time. Savard was on the ice for the Anaheim goal.
Jarome Iginla maintained his three point edge in the NHL scoring
race, although both himself and trailer Joe Thornton of Boston were
shutout on the day.
Next up is Toronto on Tuesday night at the Saddledome.
Roman Turek - a
Oleg Tverdovsky -
dominated even if
his team didn't. A
great talent lost in
Scott Nichol -
led the third and
fourth liners in an
solid effort while
chipping in the
OF THE GAME
was workmanlike in
this game but needed
to be particularly
alert when a routine
Keith Carney shot
deflected off Craig
through the third
OF THE GAME
Regehr, a physical
presence all night,
through the third
started his ninth
straight for Calgary
. . . . . With
Savard demoted to
spot duty, Conroy
was called upon to
fill in the gap and
led the Flames with
22:19 in ice time.
It was the second
straight game where
a forward had led
the Flames in ice
time, a statistic
belongs to a
Iginla posted 21:53
of ice time, tying
Toni Lydman. Paul
forward, led the
Ducks with 22:43. .
. . . . .Flames were
51% in the faceoff
dot, led by Nichol
with 60%. Samuel
Pahlsson led the
Ducks with 63%. . .
. . . .Flames outhit
the Ducks 24-15, led
by four hits from
Bob Boughner. Vitaly
Blysma and Mike
Leclerc led the
Ducks with three
hits each. . . . . .
. The hit of the
night might belong
to Vancouver GM
Brian Burke who got
his chance for a
full scale beat-up
of the Toronto SUN's
Al Strachan on
Hockey Night in
Canada's After 40
accused Strachan of
rumours, not the
first time Strachan
has heard that one.
Burke flatly stated
Strachan had never
talked to three GM's
whom Strachan said
had offered Brendan
Morrison to Tampa
defended himself by
bothered by what he
writes. Good point
but not much of a
defence to Burke's
accusations . . . .