Flames Upset Cup Champs

Brett Hull Sticks at 699

January 25th, 2002
Rick Charlton

Lowry Drury Iginla
Gelinas Conroy Begin
Niedermayer Yelle Clark
Nichol Johansson Sloan
Lydman Regehr
Boughner Gauthier
Dupont Buzek

The complexing conundrum we know as the Calgary Flames continue to confound any degree of reasonable analysis.

Destroyed by the lowly Phoenix Coyotes 7-1, the Flames came back to take down the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings only two nights later, winning 4-1 in front of 18,028 delirious witnesses - a sellout - at the Saddledome.

It's this incredible inconsistency which must be causing mentor Darryl Sutter, one month into his tenure, to pull his greying hair out of his head.

Then again, the difference between the two games might have been a very simple one - goaltender Roman Turek.

The Flames starter was blown out of the water against Phoenix on Thursday night, pulled after two quick goals on only five shots then greeted yesterday morning by a local newspaper saying he just wasn't good enough before finally being ridiculed in the HNIC pre-game show as the reason the Flames have floundered.

It hasn't been a good last few days for Turek.

"Large" responded to the challenge, however, turning in one of his best games of the season, stonewalling the Wings through two periods before the Flames took over and nailed the game shut in the third.

The Flames netminder eventually finished with 28 saves while his counterpart, Curtis Joseph, struggled, allowing four goals on 29 shots.

"From the Phoenix game to this game there was a total difference from the goaltender on out," said Flames coach Rob Cookson on FAN960.

The win leaves Calgary at 17-23-7-3 on the year, the goal of .500 by the time this campaign winds down still realistic and achievable.

The other goal, of course, is to nab a playoff spot but the Flames got no help on that front. The race for the eighth and final playoff spot occupied by Anaheim got significantly tighter as Columbus and Nashville, two teams tied with Calgary in the standings, also won on the night while San Jose and Colorado pulled out victories themselves. The latter moved into a tie with Anaheim.

Calgary is seven points in arrears of the Ducks and Avalanche but that's better than the 13 they were looking at only a few weeks ago.

Flames finish their five game homestand 3-1-1 and are now 6-3-2 at the Saddledome under Sutter.

Rob Niedermayer opened scoring for the Flames at 6:47, stepping into a thundering slapper from the top of the faceoff circle that went clear through Detroit starter Curtis Joseph.

Calgary added to the lead at 3:30 of the second when Martin Gelinas, playing with a cast on one hand, whipped a soft wrist shot past Joseph on the short side.

Mathieu Dandeneault brought the Wings within a power play goal at 13:52 but Jarome Iginla then scored a controversial marker at 19:30, powering a slapshot into Joseph with the puck finally trickling over the goal line by a hair breadth.

Dave Lowry sealed the deal with an empty net marker at 19:48 of the third.

Flames played a strong third period to close this one out, taking advantage of a Wings team playing its third game in four nights and second in as many evenings.

Brett Hull's quest for his 700th career goal came up short but not for lack of quality chances, Turek turning back the Detroit sniper on five separate occasions from point blank range through the first two periods.

Hull scored his first career goal as a Flame against Hartford on Nov. 13, 1986.

He's had 16 consecutive seasons of 20 plus goals since that time.

The fight card had Bob Boughner and Brendan Shanahan deciding to exchange blows although an unusual moment occurred when Shanahan waved off the linesmen in mid-fight, obviously wanting to settle a previous score and getting in the final blow when he caught Boughner with the final punch.

Flames were zero for two on the powerplay while the Wings scored once on their two opportunities.

Next up is Phoenix on the road on Tuesday night.

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Calgary Flames 4
Detroit Red Wings 1

1) Roman Turek - The goat one night was the saviour the next. Maybe he heard Don Cherry slam him in the pre-game show. 

2) Rob Niedermayer - skating like the wind, hitting everything in sight, a goal, a crossbar and forces Joseph to make a great glove save in the third period. 

3) Brett Hull - didn't reach the magic 700 mark but not for lack of trying - three excellent chances and two pretty good ones.

Turek made what seemed like five highlight reel saves off Brett Hull one-timers through the first two periods, denying the Golden Brett numerous opportunities to notch his 700th career goal.

The last shot of the first period fight between Shanahan and Boughner brought the Flames defender to one knee in an otherwise fairly light hitting contest.

Calgary entered the game a woeful 1-7-2 in games where the opposition was playing its second in as many nights. If you're looking for one of the many reasons Flames are near the bottom of the pile that would be as good as any. . . . . . Joseph drops to 23-8-3 against the Flames lifetime . . . . . Iginla has nine goals, nine assists and 18 points in his last 16 games, his pace obviously improving now that his injuries clear up. He's plus two in those 16 games but still minus 14 on the season. . . . . . Notice how no team coming into Calgary complains about the altitude anymore? Maybe it was those great teams the Flames had in the late 80's and early 90's that were the real reason opponents got whacked at the Saddledome. But don't forget - altitude is still a factor in Denver. . . . . . Yes, Rob Niedermayer has stepped up his game considerably lately, particularly under the tutelage of Darryl Sutter, but its still difficult to conceive he'll be qualified at $2.1 million or thereabouts next summer. . . . . . A crowd of 18,028 for one of the lower-ranked teams in the NHL continues to astound. . . . . . . The good and the bad of Micki Dupont was clearly evident on the night, a decided improvement over Chris Drury on the power play point but caught several times thinking he had that one extra second to clear the puck in his own zone, instead finding a Wing aggressor all over him. He's still playing on AHL time when the NHL is a step faster . . . . . Flames were 54% in the faceoff circle, led by Craig Conroy at 52%. Pavel Datsyuk was 60% for Detroit. . . . . . Toni Lydman led the Flames with 24:25 in ice time and was a plus two on the night. Niklas Lidstrom played his usual 28:08 for the Wings.


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