Flames Ice The Kings in OT 

90 Point Season in the Books

March 27th, 2004

In the 80's and early 90's it was common place to attend meaningful hockey games in short sleeves, shorts and wearing sun glasses.

Frankly the city of Calgary took it for granted.

Today, in an afternoon game on American television, those sunny, sunny, sunny days were here again as a packed full crowed took in an exciting 3-2 overtime victory over the L.A. Kings, in a game that may put a halt to those "Saddledome is a library" monikers that have haunted the local barn.

It wasn't easy.

Players can't criticize officials, nor can team officials or the coaching staff - to do so results in a fine - but I certainly can.

The rink team of Don Koharski and Mick Mcgeough gave the Kings four powerplays to the Flames three in game that should have had a 70-30 spit against the visitors.

In a word it was insane.

From the opening faceoff when the Kings were allowed to attempt a line brawl to get Jarome Iginla off the ice to a second period Chris Simon breakaway that resulted in a chop/trip with no call, the officiating was bizarre.

The haphazard call of the game seemed to engage the home crowd, which eventually passed some momentum on to the home team as Shean Donovan iced it with some good hands in an overtime two on one.

The Kings opened the scoring in the first period when super-pest and NHL penalty minute leader Sean Avery took a pass and one timed one past Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Flames got close a few times later in the period, but the Kings retained the 1-0 first period lead.

Calgary drew even in the second when Chris Simon, moments after having goal waved off for kicking the puck into the cage, scored another when Jordan Leopold's point shot hit his shin pad and bounced into the cage.

The goal added another element to a great return to the lineup for the suspended player, with Simon winning a clear first period decision over former Flames Jeff Cowan, his first fight in a Calgary silk.

The Kings went back up 2-1 six minutes later when the same Jeff Cowan finished a two on one on an Andrew Ference give away to give the visitors some life in their now near impossible playoff quest.

Craig Conroy, fighting the puck all night long, tied the score with a wrister that trickled through Cristobal Huet's pads and into the twine.

The third period was a hesitant affair with the Flames somewhat on their heals playing a disjointed style of hockey.

But in overtime the Flames took a massive step towards a playoff spot when a puck chipped off the boards by Craig Conroy resulted in Donovan's goal.

The win moves the Flames back to three points ahead of the trio of the St. Louis blues, Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators, who lost in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Flames host the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night in a possible chance to clinch a playoff spot.






1) Shean Donovan - His line didn't have a great game, but scoring the overtime winner to give his club 90 points on the season ... first star to me.

2) Craig Conroy - Scored the tying goal and made a great play to set up Shean Donovan for the winner.

3) Sean Avery - For the Kings to win, it was Avery's job to knock Jarome Iginla off his game. The feisty winger did that and scored a goal and added an assist.

With the Flames killing a first period powerplay a point shot missed the net, and came out the other side heading toward the point for a King's rebound. The play was foiled however, when Denis Gauthier did an around the back swipe to send the puck down the ice.

Mike Commodore absolutely leveled King rookie Dustin Brown when he stepped into the winger in front of the two player's benches in the second period.

We must be patient with the Flames off ice crew as they ready themselves for the playoffs. But the program director had better quickly learn a better sense of timing than to go to Steve Strachan and trivia, or a long 80's musical montage when the crowd is juiced and ready to knock the lid off the place. They need to contribute to momentum, not stifle it. ... Oleg Saprykin started on the top line with Craig Conroy and Jarome Iginla, but was replaced by Chris Simon when it was clear that Andy Murray's plan was to knock Iginla off his game via mayhem. ... The LA Kings, the 10 place club in the west can no longer catch the Calgary Flames meaning the Flames have only one more team to eliminate to clinch a playoff spot. ... Interesting to note that Darryl Sutter didn't insert the eligible Krzys Oliwa back into the lineup after his suspension was served after the game in San Jose. Almost seems like the coach was sending his brawler a lesson for over playing his hand against Nashville. Could it mean that Sutter didn't actually send Oliwa on to the ice to fight that night and that he shouldn't have been suspended? ... The Flames took 51% of the draws on the night despite Stephane Yelle's absence. ... Miikka Kiprusoff shook off a three game winning streak by posting the win and only allowed two goals despite having two clang off the post behind him. One has to wonder if Roman Turek might get the start on Wednesday night. ... The Flames have a magic number of 1.5 on the Predators and Oilers, and 2.5 on the St. Louis Blues. If the Flames beat the Coyotes on Wednesday and the Oilers manage less than two wins against Phoenix and St. Louis the Flames clinch a playoff spot.

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

Gauthier Warrener 
Commodore Ference 
Regehr Leopold


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