Skid Reaches Eight

D'Arcy McGrath

March 23rd, 2002

By my estimation it's a little late to play for draft positions, but that hasn't stopped the Calgary Flames from continuing their eight game death spiral on Saturday night in Edmonton.

Not for lack of effort of course.

Like a paint by numbers portrait the Flames predictably fell into a very similar rut in Edmonton; a hot opposing goaltender and an anemic powerplay, to give the Oilers' playoff hopes a boost, and their own a complete extinction.

Tommy Salo was very much not his Belarus self in this one, turning aside 34 of the 35 shots he faced, including 12 for 12 in the second period alone.

But the Flames powerplay was the true culprit.

The Flames ... ahem .. powerplay went a ghastly oh for nine on the night, including a two minute section with a full two man advantage. Clearly that was the difference in the game since the Oilers managed one powerplay goal on seven chances, while the teams traded short handed goals.

By's estimation the failed two minute two man advantage, plus another smaller advantage later in the contest moves the Flames seasonal record to five for 21 with two additional skaters on the ice.

The Oilers opened the scoring early when Denis Gauthier was sent off the ice for roughing, just 28 seconds in. The newly acquired Mike York converted his first goal as an Oiler by taking a Mike Comrie pass and firing a high shot that hit Roman Turek in the shoulder before catching the corner.

Midway through the first period the Oilers doubled their lead when Mike Grier caught Derek Morris and Igor Kravchuk flatfooted and out raced them to the puck for a short handed marker.

The Flames finally caught a break five minutes later when a 3-0 deficit turned into a 2-1 deficit on a video review. Rob Niedermayer clearly scored his fifth of the season shorthanded but the officials and goal judge missed it, sending the puck the other way. The Oilers scored a powerplay goal less than ten minutes later that was later wiped out once the Niedermayer goal was proven.

The Oilers went back ahead by two less than two minutes later when Eric Brewer's harmless shot beat Turek from the line, ending Turek's evening.

The Flames out shot the Oilers by a margin of 16-10 in the first period.

The second and third periods were scoreless thanks to the all world goaltending by Salo, and some effective mop up work by Calgary back up Mike Vernon.

The loss drops the Flames four games below .500 for the first time this season.



Edmonton Oilers 3
Calgary Flames 1

Box Score


McAmmond Conroy Iginla
Begin Niedermayer Petrovicky
Wright Savard Sloan
Berube . Clark
Morris Regehr
Gauthier Lydman
Boughner Kravchuk


1 Tommy Salo - A tough night by Roman Turek coupled with a stellar night by Salo sealed this one early. 

2 Janne Niinimaa - Finish defender logged plenty of ice, and garnered two assists. 

3 Mike Vernon - Kept an early two goal deficit at two goals giving his team a chance to come up in the final 42 minutes.


Bob Boughner took Brian Swanson heavily into the boards behind Vernon in the third period, but was penalized for roughing on the play.


With the Flames on one of their numerous second period powerplays Tommy Salo out lasted Marc Savard by staying on his feat then flipping his glove hand up behind his ear to grab a labeled high corner shot.


Not that last year's point total is a mark that the team should be aiming for but with ten games left the Flames sit five points behind last year's pace. Two weeks ago it looked like they were set to march by this value by a fair margin, now? ... Statistically the Flames did very well on the night; out shooting, out hitting, and winning more face offs than they lost. The scoreboard, of course told another story. ... The The only Flames center with a losing rate in the dot on the night was Rob Niedermayer with a 45% win rate. The others were all 50% or greater including Marc Savard at 69%. Todd Marchant struggled at only 33%. ... Hockey Night in Canada host Ron Maclean attempted to put Craig Button through the wringer prior to the game. Maclean brought up topics like Lowry's captaincy and the Vernon fiasco of two weeks ago and pursued further when Button offered typical general manager "canned" answers.