Flames Stretch Win Streak to Four 

Iginla Notches 30th in OT to Garner Win

March 8th, 2003
Rick Charlton

Lowry Conroy Iginla
Niedermayer Yelle Clark
Gelinas Drury Saprykin
Berube Nichol Sloan
Gauthier Boughner
Leopold Regehr
Lydman Ference

The wins are piling up.

Jarome Iginla scored his 30th of the season from close range at 4:52 of overtime after yeoman work from Craig Conroy on the boards, the Flames winning their fourth in a row for the first time since their hot start in October 13-22, 2001 with a 3-2 overtime win in Columbus last night.

"He had one d-man on him, one forward on him and he put it through the d-man's legs with one hand on his stick," said Iginla, lauding Conroy's play which led to the game winner.

Too little, too late for the Flames who will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season and now seem intent on ruining what seemed like a lead-pipe-cinch high draft position next June.

The charge up the win column, Calgary's fifth triumph in its last six games, will do "little" for this team except provide some all important confidence for next season, maybe cement some jobs that appeared to be in jeopardy and . . . . . . perhaps keep their bewildered fans coming back for tickets through the summer.

The win also brings new coach Darryl Sutter back to .500, now 13-13-5-1 since taking over from the deposed Greg Gilbert.

Calgary is within reach of avoiding the ignominy of establishing several club records for futility, not the least of which might have been a new mark for fewest wins in a season.

The victory pushed the Flames within three of the 26 wins set as a franchise low water mark in 1997-98, Calgary now 23-31-11-4 on the season with 14 games left to play.

Flames have 60 points on the year, three ahead of the 15th place Blue Jackets in the NHL's Western Conference.

Calgary is also starting to leave behind its competitors for the first pick overall in next summer's draft, one point up on Pittsburgh with Carolina, Buffalo and Atlanta five, six and six points in arrears in the NHL's overall standings.

It was the first time Calgary had ever won in Columbus.

Calgary's hot second line of Martin Gelinas, Oleg Saprykin and Chris Drury again set the tone for the night, Drury opening scoring at 5:12 of the first on a Flames power play with his 21st of the year and fourth in as many games. Drury was deep in the Columbus zone when he passed up ice to Toni Lydman then scored on a rebound after the Calgary defenceman had ripped a shot on Columbus starter Marc Denis.

Sean Pronger tied the game at 10:45 of the second when the Flames lost the puck behind their net, David Vyborny recovering it and bouncing it off Flames starter Roman Turek straight to Pronger for an open net marker.

2003 Draft Watch

If the draft was held today ...

Pick Team Player*
1 Carolina M.-A. Fleury
2 Atlanta Milan Michalek
3 Buffalo Nikolai Zherdev
4 Columbus Nathan Horton
5 Calgary Braydon Coburn
*ranking: Red Line 2/26/03

Oleg Saprykin broke down the boards and drilled a shot onto Denis at 8:52 of the third, the rebound boinking off a Blue Jacket defender and past the stunned Columbus netminder.

But Rotislav Klesla tied the game with only 1:10 remaining when he blew a shot over Turek at 18:50 of the third.

Rob Niedermayer rattled the goalpost only seconds after the Klesla goal and Luc Richardson at the other end had a goal denied with only five seconds remaining after he put the puck in with a high stick.

From there it was up to Iginla to close this one out, taking advantage of yeoman work by Conroy on the wing and overpowering Denis from in close for the winner.

It was Denis' 64th start in 67 games this season.

Flames outshot the Blue Jackets 29-28 on the evening and were one for five with the man advantage. Blue Jackets were zero for six with the extra man.

Next up is Edmonton on Tuesday night, "Tongue Night" apparently as Harvey the Hound continues his harrassement of Craig McTavish, albeit this time several rows removed from the Oiler bench.

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Calgary Flames 3
Columbus Blue Jackets 2

1 Jarome Iginla - 30th of the season and several quality chances. Still 14 games to go - can he make it to 40 for the season? 

2 Oleg Saprykin - the kid continues to worm his way into coach Sutter's good books with another sound effort. 

3 Jaroslav Spacek - logged 26:59 in ice time and solid all night in spite of his teammates.

With the game 1-0 Calgary, Columbus broke into the Calgary zone on a two on one break with Roman Turek sliding across the crease to thwart a sizzling Ray Whitney one-timer.

Four seconds into this one the rough stuff started, Craig Berube and Jody Shelley exchanging heavy blows at centre ice. Did we tell you fighting in the NHL is down 25% from last year, now at a 22 year low.

Flames scouting staff had converged the last few days, meeting in Columbus to prepare for the coming trade deadline. But GM Craig Button, who had watched the team in Chicago the night before, was on a mission elsewhere, apparently getting in some pre-deadline scouting. . . . . . . Lydman led the Flames in ice time at 25:06, returning to his normal ice time quotient after several weeks of lighter work. . . . . .Flames were underwater at 46% in the faceoff circle, led by the 55% of Stephane Yelle. Sean Pronger was 70% for the home team.


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