Flames Lay An Egg In Montreal

Kiprusoff Couldn't Hold Off Hab Attack

February 19th, 2004

Not even close.

The Canadiens were one step quicker, two pounds heavier and three goals better as they roasted the visiting Calgary Flames 4-1 last night in front of 21,273 fans at Bell Centre in Montreal.

Aside from a brief flourish in the final minutes, the Canadiens dominated this one from start to finish with only the continued stellar work of the previously miraculous Miikka Kiprusoff giving the Flames a chance to compete for a tie until a final empty net goal by Pierre Dagenais put Calgary down and out for good.

It was only the second time in 20 starts this year that Kiprusoff had surrendered more than two goals but it was also one of the few times the Flames had allowed more than 30 shots to be directed his way, another pure indication that Calgary's game is about increasing its odds of success by limiting chances.

It would be an easy cop-out to describe the Flames as flat for most of the 60 minutes played on this night but the truth might also be the on-edge Canadiens, with two fights in practice in recent days, were simply hungrier and full measure for the win.

Calgary was attempting to win five in a row for the first time since February 1997 while the Canadiens entered the game having lost four straight.

Making this loss all the more difficult to swallow is that it might well prove to be one of the easier starts of the current five game road trip, with the powerful Ottawa Senators next up on Saturday afternoon followed by New Jersey and Colorado.

In spite of the loss, the capital generated by their now expired four game winning streak allows Calgary to remain in fifth place in the ever fluid Western Conference, their 30-21-5-3 record good for 68 points and a two point edge on idle Dallas with a game in hand.

"We just didn't do the proper things individually to get ready for this game," said a bitter Denis Gauthier on FAN960. "I thought they were really ripe for another defeat here and we just didn't take advantage."

Montreal opened scoring thanks to the not-so-surrepticious interference of Kiprusoff by a loitering Steve Begin, the ex-Flame tangling with the Calgary goaltender at the corner post while Niklas Sundstrom was free to backhand a rebound into the open net at the 7 minute mark of the first period.

Although Montreal controlled much of the first period it was all for naught when the ultra-hot Iginla came plowing down the off-wing and blew a 45 foot, high, hard heater into the top of the net before Montreal starter Mathieu Garon could mutter "Holy Smokes!!"

It was Iginla's 12th goal in the last 11 games and puts the superstar winger only one off the league lead for the Rocket Richard Trophy. Iginla has scored 30 or more goals in four consecutive seasons.

In spite of that setback, Montreal kept charging and the Flames kept retreating, the Canadiens with a 21-8 edge in shots late in the second period while stacking up a 3-1 edge.

Dagenais found little resistance from Flames Robyn Regehr in tapping the puck into an empty net on a Kiprusoff rebound at 12:28 of the second for his first goal before Patrice Brisbois wound up from the top of the faceoff circle and had his shot deflect off Calgary's Matthew Lombardi and into the Calgary net at 10:10.

The last decisive moment of the game might have been at the 11:30 mark of the third frame when Iginla was stopped by Garon on a breakaway and defenceman Gauthier, pinching in on the ensuing scramble, bounced a puck off the post.

Montreal outshot the Flames 32-21 while registering one goal on five power play opportunities. Flames were zero for four on the powerplay.

Next up is Ottawa on Saturday afternoon. It doesn't get any easier.






1) Andrei Markov - Diminutive but skilled Montreal defencemen was dangling all night, finishing with two assists, three shots and a plus three. 

2) Matheiu Garon - Came in for the faltering Jose Theodore and slammed the door on the Flames for a critical Montreal win. 

3) Jarome Iginla - Should get a star for the highlight reel goal alone but was also his dominant self the rest of the night as well.

An unsuspecting Jason Ward was rumbling down the wing into the Flames zone in the first period, trying to pick the puck out of his feet when Denis Gauthier sent him flying into the glass with a hard hit.

With eight minutes gone in the second period in a 1-1 game, Jan Bulis saw daylight and came from the side of the Calgary net on a Montreal power play but a slithering, sliding Kiprusoff, defending both the pass and the shot, pulled in the Bulis riser with his glove.

With only nine goals in his first 28 games through to December 18, Jarome Iginla left some wondering if the Flames would even qualify the winger at the required $7 million this coming summer. With his recent charge towards the Rocket Richard Trophy showing no signs of abating, however, the Flames might now be trembling at the thought of Iginla taking them to arbitration prior to the expiration of the current CBA in September. A startling turn of events in the last 60 days. . . . . . A rare night for Denis Gauthier, with 21:18 in ice time, second only to Rhett Warrener's 22:05. Gauthier has been an off and on denizen of coach Darryl Sutter's doghouse this year but had a fine night against Montreal . . . . Andrei Markov had 23:54 in ice time to lead Montreal. . . . . Calgary was 49% in the faceoff circle, led by the 68% and 66% of Craig Conroy and Matthew Lombardi. Yanic Perreault was 82% for Montreal while none of his compatriots topped 50%.

  Back to Calgarypuck.com
Read other Stories
Talk About it!