Slow Start Stalls Calgary

Rick Charlton

March 9th, 2002

He was too much like Theo Fleury.

Too small.

So the Flames passed on Sergei Samsonov, generously listed at 5'10" and 190 pounds, in the 1997 NHL entry draft, taking a 6'1", 200 pound centre in Daniel Tkazcuk instead.

Two spots later, in a draft where they also added emerging superstar Joe Thornton, the Boston Bruins took Samsonov.

Tkaczuk is now fading into oblivion with his second organization while Samsonov, five seasons later, underscored Calgary's mistake with an exclamation point last night by scoring the late winning goal in a 3-2 Boston victory over the Flames.

It was Samsonov's 120th career NHL goal.

It was also the second time on this lengthy road trip the Flames have given up the winner with less than three minutes to play, perhaps sacrificing at least two points that may prove to be the difference between life and death as the season winds to a close.

A strange bounce of Jarome Iginla's skate caught most of the Calgary team heading up ice while Samsonov turned on a dime and accelerated with breath-taking speed on Roman Turek, roofing the puck over the falling Flames netminder at 17:29 of the third.

Face Offs Hits
Powerplay Chances Shots on Goal

Flames are now 2-2 on this nine game trip - their only other loss coming in Washington where Serge Gonchar scored in the final three minutes to give the Capitals a victory.

The loss dropped the Flames to 27-26-9-3 on the season and was particularly painful as Phoenix beat Ottawa and put seven points between themselves and Calgary. Flames are still five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL's Western Conference, however, with Dallas idle on the night.

Remarkably, the Flames are also only seven points out of fifth place but with six teams standing in their way.

In spite of Samsonov's heroics this game was really a goaltending duel between Turek and Boston's Byron Dafoe, the latter remarkable in the dying seconds to preserve the Bruin win.

With 23 seconds remaining, Turek on the bench in favour of an extra attacker and the Flames swarming the Bruins, Dafoe managed to get a pad on a Jarome Iginla shot then, seconds later, the Flames won a faceoff, tic-tac-toeing the puck around to Derek Morris who one-timed a blast that Dafoe magically pulled out of the air to preserve the win.

Turek was also sharp throughout the game.

Calgary started the game with a brutal opening 20 minutes and paid for it, down 2-0 after the opening frame. Rob Zamuner opened scoring for the Bruins, converting a perfect two on one with 7:39 that Roman Turek had no chance on. Marc Savard failed to clear the puck then missed his assignment, letting Marty McInnis free to drill a bullet past Turek at 13:07.

But Savard redeemed himself with a strong second period, generating numerous scoring chances and finally converting a Chris Clark feed at 11:39. Jarome Iginla, with his league leading 42nd of the season, a weak backhander that Dafoe should have had, tied the game at 19:39 of the second.

Perhaps the key moment of the game came when Marty McInnis and then Hal Gill were whistled down to give the Flames a two man advantage with only five minutes remaining in the game. But Calgary turned in a particularly unimaginative and stilted power play at a critical moment, putting Samsonov in the position of being able to decide the game only minutes later.

The Iginla goal lifted the Flames star to 73 points on the year, a 10 point bulge on second place Markus Naslund and Joe Sakic. Naslund, however, was playing later in the night.

Flames outshot the Bruins 31-23 on the night.

Flames were zero for three on the powerplay while Boston was zero for four.

Attendance was 17,565.

Next up is Carolina on Monday night.



Boston Bruins 3
Calgary Flames 2

Box Score


Wright Conroy Iginla
McAmmond Savard Clark
Begin Wilm Petrovicky
Shantz Berube
Morris Buzek
Gauthier Lydman
Boughner Kravchuk


1 Byron Dafoe - Made one of the best glove saves of the year when it mattered, preserving the Bruin win with 20 seconds remaining on Derek Morris's one-timer 

2 Roman Turek - Allowed two goals in the first but kept his team in it until they could come back. 

3 Jarome Iginla - a dangerous presence all night and almost tied the game in the final seconds.


It was a Bruin sandwich midway through the second period when Ronald Petrovicky and Craig Berube aggressively hammered a Boston forward behind the Bruin net.


Rob Niedermayer missed his second consecutive game with the flu . . . . Calgary was whipping Boston in the faceoff circle early but ended fairly even - a 51% success rate for the Flames. Josef Stumpel was 64% for the Bruins and Savard led the Flames at 55%. . . . . . Flames GM Craig Button was quoted by TSN as saying Mike Vernon had asked out of Calgary prior to the Flames first attempt to pass their disgruntled goaltender through waivers. Vernon passed a second time and was assigned to Saint John Flames of the AHL yesterday. Kay Whitmore was recalled to take Vernon's place in Calgary. . . . . . Flames took the opening three penalties of the game, compounding their problems in a first period in which they were thoroughly outplayed. . . . . . . It was the first time in five games the Flames hadn't scored in the first period. . . . . . . Steve Begin blocked a shot and suffered an unspecified shoulder injury . . . . . . Jamie Allison was the healthy scratch. . . . . . Flames outhit the Bruins 23-20 on the night with Begin leading the Flames and Gill and Zamuner leading the Bruins - all had three each. . . . . .Chris Clark played perhaps his best game of the season, a combination of skill, speed and aggressiveness that created numerous scoring chances. . . . . . . Jarome Iginla led the Flames with 25:41 in ice time. His shadow, Hal Gill, had a remarkably coincidental 25:19. . . . . .The Flames took in an IMAX presentation of Sir Ernest Shackleton's early 1900's Antartica survival epic - a lesson in "courage and perseverance" was how Allison described it on Team960 - then followed it up with a team dinner. . . . . . . .


Rob Niedermayer missed the game with the flue, ending his two game comeback, at least for a night. ... The Flames dressed seven defencemen and 11 forwards, with Robyn Regehr inserted back in with Niedermayer's departure. ... The Flames may no longer have to deal with the tough decision of which defenceman to sit down with Denis Gauthier crumpling in a heap with less than two minutes to play. The usually passive Mark Recchi left his feet to elbow Gauthier in the chin taking the big defenceman down. He was helped off the ice. ... The Flames were out shot 35-32 on the night, which included a 17-11 margin in the third. ... The Flyers also out hit the visitors by a 29-21 margin with Donald Brashear leading the way with eight hits on his own. ... The Flames were slightly edged in the face off circle by a 52 to 48% count. Clarke Wilm and Marc Savard had tough nights in the dot suffering averages in the thirties.