Lucky 7 ... Flames Best Jackets

Kiprusoff Posts Goose Egg; Flames Win 

March 18th, 2004

I think it's safe to say that Rembrandt wouldn't have been all that impressed.

Who cares?

The Flames may have had trouble solving Blue Jacket goaltender Marc Denis, but the end result was very much appreciated as the Flames skated past a visiting Columbus squad by a score of 2-0.

The result kept two streaks alive, the Jackets have now lost eight straight games while the Calgary Flames have now managed to go unbeaten in seven straight, at the most critical time of the season.

For Calgary the victory had double importance - not only did it keep them at pace with the Vancouver Canucks for fourth spot in the west (The Canucks dropped a decision to Dallas moving the Flames within two points of home ice in the playoffs), but it also vaulted them seven points clear of a playoff spot with the Kings losing 5-3 to the Sharks.

Seven points ... eight games, a squad with a more appealing recent playoff history would be cause for popping bottles and subdued celebrations, but one can forgive the Flames for playing it down.

The Flames opened the scoring in the second period, when the team's upteenth rebound finally found it's way onto the stick of a Flame player - in this case Matthew Lombardi - who deposited the gimme in to the empty net.

The goal would turn out to be the game winner.

After 40 minutes the Flames only held a score of 1-0 despite 24-15 edge in shots, and the lion's share of the play.

The Flames were not content to sit on a one goal lead in this one however, as the club poured it on in the third period and only had Marc Denis to thank for a nail biter down to the finish.

Ville Nieminen made it interesting when he was flagged for hooking with 62 seconds left in a contest that the road team had little reason to be in.

Luckily for the pine sitting Finn, the Flames were equal to the task on the penalty kill, with Jarome Iginla pin pointing a 160 foot empty netter for the short handed, empty net, insurance goal.

The win moves the Flames magic number to six for clinching a playoff spot, a good number to have on one's side with eight games left.

The possibilities for a Calgary finish seems endless in the wake of a Canuck loss as the team could possibly end up in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th place when all is said and done.

I'd like a head count of the number of Flame fans that though finishing ahead of Vancouver or having home ice advantage in the first round was possible when the first puck dropped on opening night in British Columbia.

Next up the Flames host the Nashville Predators in another game that could go along way in deciding the Western playoff picture.





1) Miikka Kiprusoff - Wasn't tested too often, but a goose egg is a goose egg.

2) Marc Denis - The reason the game mattered in the third period, game stopping save after game stopping save.

3) Denis Gauthier - A solid game by the hard hitting blueliner/

Two saves in this game deserve equal billing. First Marc Denis robbing Marcus Nilson with a glove save of a rebound on Jordan Leopold post shot. Later Miikka Kiprusoff defied physics by sliding across and smothering a point blank shot from Manny Malhotra.

Ville Nieminen did a great job of finishing his check when he steam rolled Jacket defenceman Aaron Johnson in the first period.

Many a fan held their collective breath for this one, the home team coming off a great road trip, but coming out against a very beatable opponent. The Flames carried the play early, however, and could have easily cashed in if not for the work of goaltender Marc Denis. ... The shut out is Kiprusoff's third of the season and the team's 7th in 74 games. ... The Flames run of face off dominance came to an end as the two clubs sawed off at an even 50% no the night. Stephane Yelle and Craig Conroy were both above water while Marcus Nilson had a tough night at the dot. ... The Flames were 0-4 on the powerplay while the Jackets were 0-7 - call that a special teams win for the Flames. ... Robyn Regehr led all Calgary skaters in ice time with 23:26, but a surprise second arrived in Denis Gauthier with 22:35.

Simon Conroy Iginla 
Neiminen Nilson Donovan 
Gelinas Yelle Clark 
Oliwa Lombardi Kobasew

Gauthier Warrener 
Ference Montador 
Regehr Leopold


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