Step Right Up! Flames Become Sellers?

Rick Charlton

March 16th, 2002

Colour them dead.

Nail the coffin shut.

Bring in the meat wagon.

Bury the corpse.

It's over.

For the third straight game the Flames lost points to one of the bottom six teams in the NHL, basically sealing their fate of a sixth straight non-playoff season in rather ignomious fashion.

A 46 save performance by Florida's Roberto Luongo, five goalposts against Tampa's Nik Khabibulin and a mesmerizing 42 save performance by Ron Tugnutt in a 3-1 Blue Jacket victory in Columbus last night has turned a decent road trip into a nightmare with only Minnesota left to play.

Calgary's epic nine game journey to the East coast now includes a record of 2-4-2 with Flames winless in their last five.

The loss was particularly disappointing - yet again - given Flames could have at least gained ground on eighth place Dallas but instead fell seven points away from a post season berth with 13 games left to play.

Basically, the task is now impossible.

Calgary is now 27-28-10-3 on the year, good for 68 points and 11th in the Western Conference.

To add insult to injury, Jarome Iginla was shutout in the NHL point race. Contenders Joe Sakic picked up one point today and Markus Naslund two, leaving Iginla with a 10 point lead over Naslund.

When this season is done and analyzed, no one can say Calgary didn't have the chance to determine its own fate. But beating Detroit three times this year and pounding other contenders as well matters little if you can't punch the lights out on subterannean dwellers like the Blue Jackets.

In fairness to the Flames, this was more about Tugnutt facing a 60 minute onslaught than the Blue Jackets deserving the win. But Columbus put in pretty much the only Grade A opportunities they had, scoring on a rare four on three powerplay, a two on one break and finally a breakaway.

Geoff Sanderson one-timed a Ray Whitney pass at 5:08 of the first on the powerplay to vault the Blue Jackets into an early lead.

Mike Sillinger scored the eventual winner on a two on one with Whitney at 9:47 of the third period.

Dean McAmmond was Johnny on the spot at the edge of the crease to notch his 15th of the season with only 6:34 remaining in the third.

But Whitney put the game out of reach when he took advantage of a Derek Morris giveaway to rocket in alone on Turek, scoring at 15:39.

Calgary starter Roman Turek had little chance on any of the Blue Jacket goals.

Flames were zero for two on the powerplay while Columbus was one for six.

Next up is Minnesota on Monday.



Columbus Blue Jackets 3
Calgary Flames 1

Box Score


Savard Conroy Iginla
McAmmond Niedermayer Wright
Begin Wilm Petrovicky
Allison Shantz Berube
Morris Regehr
Gauthier Lydman
Boughner Kravchuk


1) Ron Tugnutt - A lot of shots but a lot of great chances? Maybe not. But he didn't screw it up either. 

2) Ray Whitney - three points on the night and has forged a decent NHL career considering his linemate in Spokane, Pat Falloon, was supposed to be the superstar in his draft year. 

3) Jarome Iginla - when your team outshoots the bad guys 43-20, someone on your side has to get a star. Iginla had six shots.


Bob Boughner flattened Robert Kron from behind midway through the second, gaining himself a penalty that was offset by Rostislav Klesa stepping in to defend his teammate.


All 42 of them if you want to know the truth - we'll use this spot to remind you that Tugnutt once faced 70 Boston Bruins shots as a member of the Quebec Nordiques.


Attendance was 18,136, the 51st consecutive sellout for Columbus. Remember that the next time some Canadian writer puts Columbus on his contraction list. In fact, both Minnesota and the Blue Jackets have benefited from outstanding attendance, although Nashville, another recent NHL addition, has been in decline. . . . . Blue Jackets are now 4-0 against the Flames in Columbus. . . . . . Iginla remained stuck at 43 goals for the third straight game. That's still an eight goal advantange in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy. . . . . . . . Marc Savard led the Flames with seven shots on goal . . . . . Iginla was on the ice for 24:52 in ice time while Deron Quint had 23:05 for Columbus. . . . . . .Hits were only 22-19 for Columbus, demonstrating again the wide disparity in hit counts around the league. Serge Aubin led the Blue Jackets with four hits and Boughner had five hits for the other side. . . . . . Craig Conroy was 73% in the faceoff circle, leading the Flames who were 53% on the night. . . . . . .Denis Gauthier had five blocked shots.