Sutter-less Flames See Stars

Flat Flames No Match For Hard Charging Stars 

March 22nd, 2004

It took just twenty minutes to conclude the experiment a complete and utter failure. 

That is, just 20 minutes of no Darryl Sutter cooked up one of the most lifeless and disappointing first period's in the team's season.

In a league and a playoff race this tight, you just can't spot a good hockey team with a very good goaltender, a three goal lead, but that's exactly what the Flames did in embarrassing themselves to the tune of a 4-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Monday night.

And Sutter is thinking of kicking himself upstairs? Hold that thought Darryl.

Sutter was watching the game from home, of course, having been handed a two game suspension for his part(?) in a end of game melee with the Nashville Predators two nights earlier. It's speculated that if a season is played next year, Sutter might relieve himself of the coaching job and become a full time general manager, though given tonight's performance that isn't exactly a plan that will have Calgary fans excited.

But then it's only one game.

One very, very, very bad game. The Flames were flat, failed to score and then to cap things off managed to score on themselves in a night better left ignored with a game in Phoenix to start a new.

The Stars carried the play from the get-go peppering Miikka Kiprusoff with many a chance and coming close to running the table on the sleepy homeside.

Shayne Corson opened the scoring when he took the puck around the net and stuffed one in along the ice to beat Kiprusoff.

The plan happened a few moments after Chris Simon and Sergei Zubov had their legs tangled in center ice, the latter leaving the game with an obvious hobble. One might suggest that Zubov may actually miss more than this game, leaving the Stars shorthanded for the race for home ice.

They didn't need him on this night however.

The Stars doubled their lead when Denis Gauthier got tangled with a player behind the net leaving Brendan Morrow all alone to deftly tip a centering pass past Kiprusoff.

The Flames looked to have scored a goal at the halfway point of the first, but the upstairs official deemed Marcus Nilson to have kicked in a Shean Donovan pass and the goal was waved off. It could have gone either way.

"If they want to allow kicking I'm all for it", Marty Turco told Sportsnet, "but the rules are the rules and there was a kicking motion".

The visitors pretty much salted things away late in the first when Rhett Warrener lost the handle on the puck coming out from behind his own net giving a freebie to Jason Arnott after three swipes.

The second period featured a more determined Calgary team, taking the play to the Stars and running a 12 to 4 shot advantage, despite failing to convert on any of their chances.

"It's important to play 60 minutes, we got the bounces in the first period. It's tough to play in this league when you're behind", stated Turco.

The Stars were more than happy to sit on their heels and let the Flames come at them, figuring a three goal lead was pretty much all they needed. They figured right.

Calgary returned to their listless ways in the third period pretty much putting a pretty bow on a shut out for Marty Turco.

Chris Clark put the cherry on top of a very frightful evening by passing the puck back to the point on a late goalie pulled powerplay only to find no pointman on said point and a 195 draw shot into an empty net.

Kiprusoff gave up three goals for only the fourth time this season, hurting his chances of beating, ironically, his adversary, Marty Turco's record for goals against average through a season.

The Flames with 86 points are still in good shape for a playoff spot, but need to get back on track and win at least half of their remaining six games to put that little "x" by their name.

They way they handle Dallas this season, they may want to stay in sixth spot, a seven game series like tonight would be very tough to watch.





1) Shayne Corson - Scored the game winner so I'll give him the nod. Technically he had two on the night getting credit for the blunder by Chris Clark.

2) Marty Turco - gets the shut out in a game where he really wasn't tested that heavily.

3) Phillipe Boucher - with the injury to Sergei Zubov, Boucher was forced to play almost half a game and was solid.

Stephane Yelle was left all by his lonesome in front of Marty Turco and tried to go backhand forehand and then backhand and hoist the puck upstairs but had the biscuit tip off of Turco's trapper and fly into the netting.

One of the few Calgary highlights in the first period was Robyn Regehr stepping up and planting Calgarian Rob Dimaio with an open ice hit.

Clearly NHL clubs have a strong book on the Calgary powerplay, as each team they face seems to use the same plan to shut them down. Play them tight, give them no room and you won't get burned. Calgary just can't make that good pass under pressure when they have the man advantage and it's killing them. ... Speaking of the powerplay, where is Toni Lydman, one more game of Mike Commodore on the powerplay and I think I'll lose it. Almost looks like a fan was added due to a contest victory. ... One has to wonder if the Nilson goal was THE moment of the hockey game. Nilson didn't exactly boot the puck and if it held the game would have been 2-1 and could have completely changed the game. But then, "what ifs" is for losers, right? ... The Flames staged a dramatic rally in the face off circle coming back to narrowly lose on the night by a 51 - 29 % margin. Stephane Yelle and Craig Conroy were both solid at 63 and 59% respectively, but Marcus Nilson was a miserable 9% on the night. ... Robyn Regehr led all Flame skaters with 24:30 of ice time, almost five minutes short of Phillipe Boucher's 29:12. ... The Oilers are leading the Kings at press time, should they win they will bounce past the St. Louis Blues and into the 8th spot in the West tonight. That's big news for the Flames as it puts much more pressure on teams like Calgary and Nashville as the bottom keeps on a rising. ... Had to wonder about the Flames lines tonight with the three young guys, Oleg Saprykin, Chuck Kobasew and Matthew Lombarid all on the same line, but they actually held their own on the night. ... Robyn Regehr spoke to Sportsnet after the game - "We were not ready to go tonight. Very disappointing. We got out worked, out hit and outplayed, it showed on the scoreboard. ... things have crept into our game. We need to out work the teams, were getting too fancy"

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

Gauthier Warrener 
Commodore Montador 
Regehr Leopold


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