Keep the Undertaker Away

Rick Charlton

February 9th, 2002

Put away the coffins.

With their playoff hopes flashing before their eyes, their souls moving towards the light, the Calgary Flames came back to life last night in Vancouver, rallying with two goals in the third period to beat the NHL's hottest team 4-3.

A Vancouver sweep of the weekend series would have put the Flames 10 points behind the Canucks and eight in arrears of Edmonton and LA for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But the Flames weren't about to go quietly.

With the Canucks up 3-2 entering the third period, the prospects of the remainder of this season being anything more than a two month sleigh ride onto the golf course, the Flames took the play to Vancouver, outhitting the home team 38-21 on the night and call-up Jason Botterill capping the comeback with a rare power play goal at 10:05 of the third period.

From there, it was Calgary starter Roman Turek nailing the Vancouver coffin shut with 15 third period saves.

Even more interesting than the final result might have been the continual leapfrogging of Jarome Iginla and Markus Naslund for the NHL scoring title. The two went head to head much of the night and both emerged with a goal and an assist and in a tie atop the NHL scoring heap with 61 points, although Iginla is officially up on Naslund due to a greater number of goals.

The victory left Calgary at 23-23-8-2 on the season for 56 points, trailing all of LA, Edmonton and Vancouver tied for the sixth, seventh and eighth playoff spots with 62 points.

Vancouver had entered the game 8-0-1 in its last nine.

Ronald Petrovicky, who was supposed to be playing for Slovakia at the Olympics earlier in the day, ended a 35 game goal less streak with his fourth of the season at 12:01 of the first on a terrific feed from Dave Lowry.

The Canucks tied the score at 17:31 on a four on two break when Brent Sopel continued his remarkable season by blowing a slapper through Turek's five hole.

But Calgary came right back, benefiting on a blatant offside that wasn't called when Derek Morris retrieved a loose buck at the Calgary line, threw it low to Iginla who then found a wide-open Marc Savard at 19:05.

The Canucks took over the second period, running rough shod over the Flames and taking the lead on goals by Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi.

Iginla and then Botterill, the latter with a disputed high stick deflection of a Bob Boughner point shot on the power play, put the game out of reach for the Canucks in the third period.

Peter Skudra stopped 25 of 29 Calgary shots.

Flames were two for four on the power play while Vancouver scored once in four chances with the man advantage.

The game was a sellout with 18,422 in attendance.

Next up is a road game in Phoenix, another must win game. Although every game now is a must win situation for Calgary.





Calgary Flames 4
Vancouver Canucks 3

Box Score


Wright Conroy Iginla
Botterill Savard Hentunen
Lowry Wilm Petrovicky
Allison Shantz Nichol
Morris Regehr
Gauthier Boughner
Lydman Kravchuk


1) Jarome Iginla - double shifted for 26:03 of ice time and two points on the night. 

2) Todd Bertuzzi - dangerous all night with a goal and an assist. 

3) Roman Turek - a little weak on the first Canuck goal but made the big saves when he had to in the third period.


Yipes. Tie game, 12 minutes to go and Bertuzzi, the league's hottest scorer the last 16 games, was allowed to bear down on Turek on a breakaway. But the Flames netminder stood his ground and Botterill scored to give the Flames the win only minutes later.


Denis Gauthier had been struggling the last few games but he flattened a charging Bertuzzi with a crushing check midway through the third.


Slovakia GM Peter Stastny told CBC's Olympic coverage that he found out at midnight the night before that Ronald Petrovicky, a player he had been counting on to put in three games for the body-starved Slovaks, would be needed by the Flames against Vancouver. Stastny was seriously cheesed although, given the Flames injury situation, any forward with a pulse would have been pressed into service . . . . . . Even more amusing than watching the NHL point race this night, was witnessing the plus minus of both Iginla and Naslund rise and fall as each took turns scoring while the other was on the ice. Maybe the respective coaches didn't find it as funny as I did. . . . . . "If they'd find a little scoring punch, they'd be fine." Understatement of the night from Vancouver broadcaster John Shorthouse when asked his opinion of the Flames. . . . . . . . Oddity of the night - the Flames were outhitting the Canucks 30-12 by the end of the second period and finished with a 38-21 advantage, probably their best night in that regard in two months. . . . . . . Savard was a minus two last night and saw less ice time as the game progressed. . . . . . Bob Boughner led the Flames, as a Captain should, with seven hits. Matt Cooke was credited with five hits for the Canucks. . . . .Flames were 47% in the faceoff circle while Jarome Iginla, quietly putting up some of the best faceoff numbers in the NHL, was 66% in the circle. Trevor Linden was 56% for the Canucks . . . . . .Iginla's 26:03 in ice time led the Flames although we would note that Denis Gauthier appeared to re-emerge from coach Greg Gilbert's doghouse by returning to a normal 21:53. Robyn Regehr took his place with 8:43 in ice time, about one-third his normal allotment. Ed Jovanovski led the Canucks with 25:43 in ice time.



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