Flames Shut Out In Minny 

Late Season Skid Hits Two 

March 31st, 2003
D'Arcy McGrath

Trust me.

It's better if things end this way.

The Calgary Flames were a red hot hockey team for much of the month of March. Their scorers scored. Their keepers kept. Their special teams, were ... well ... more special than usual. They were winning.

After a season like the 2002-03 saga the last thing the Calgary paying customer needs is a bad hockey team with an inflated ego.

There's little chance of that happening with the club losing their second straight game to the league's two recent expansion cousins, tonight losing in Minnesota by a score of 3-0.

Lowry Conroy Clark
Saprykin Drury Clark
Gelinas Yelle Donovan
Berube Betts Sloan
Mondator Boughner
Leopold Regehr
Lydman Commodore

The game itself was similar to many evenings this season.

The club played fairly well, arguably better than their opposition, but just couldn't get it done.

Jame McLennan was good, but not as good as his counterpart Manny Fernandez.

The Flames out shot the Wild by a 26-16 margin but couldn't take advantage of their opportunities.

Five on five they played the 93 point Wild to a scoreless draw, but got their lunch handed to them in odd man situations with the home side burying three powerplay goals on eight chances while the Flames coming up empty on seven of their own.

2003 Draft Watch

If the draft was held today ...

Pick Team Player*
1 Carolina M.-A. Fleury
2 Pittsburgh Nathan Horton
3 Columbus Milan Michalek
4 Buffalo Nikolai Zherdev
5 Atlanta Braydon Coburn
6 Florida Eric Staal
7 San Jose Andrei Kastsitsyn
8 Calgary Anthony Stewart
*ranking: Red Line 3-27-03

In the end the only thing they got right was a positive step in the draft position race as their back to back losses have moved them back into the 6th position for this summer's swap meet.

The two clubs played to a scoreless tie through 20 minutes with the Flames out shooting the Wild by an 8-6 margin.

Minnesota opened the scoring in the game's 35th minute when Cliff Ronning blasted one home with his club enjoying a two man advantage.

Less than four minutes later the Wild doubled their lead when Canadian World Junior rookie Pierre Marc Bouchard slid the puck into the cage past a fallen and helpless Jamie McLennan.

Calgary pressed in the third period, out shooting the Wild by a 9-2 margin but couldn't get the puck to the net regularly to test Fernandez to any great degree.

The Wild salted things away with another powerlay goal with less than a minute left to play when Antti Laaksonen scored his 15th of the season.

Next up for Calgary is San Jose at the Saddledome on Wednesday night.




Minnesota Wild 3
Calgary Flames 0

1 Manny Fernandez - Not the most challenging of night's in some regards, but he posted a goose egg in a boring game, what more do you want? 

2 Cliff Ronning - Cagey smurf has always played well against Calgary. Scored game winner. 

3 Robyn Regehr - Played a physical mean hockey game, finished with 24 minutes in penalties.

The last minute. With the game out of reach the suddenly ornery Robyn Regehr picked a cage partner in Steve Montador as the duo took on Jason Marshall and Jeremy Stevenson.

Not all Wild powerplays resulted in goals. Jamie McLennan was lightning quick to get across the crease and stop Marion Gaborik when a wide shot left the Minny sniper wide open on the side.

The loss keeps the Flames at 70 points, meaning the most they can achieve this season is 76, three less than their total of last season. ... Robyn Regehr, as mentioned above, managed 24 penalty minutes in this one. To put that in perspective ... he had a career high of 93 penalty minutes all of last season. And people said Darryl Sutter can't work with young players ... The silver lining of having awful special teams? You can drop a 3-0 decision without a single player suffering any damage in the plus/minus stat column. ... The Flames were led in ice time by Jarome Iginla with 25:19. Minnesota native Jordan Leopold skated for just over 25 minutes. ... The Flames once again dominated in the face off circle taking 61% of the draws. Craig Conroy and Stephane Yelle were both in the high 60%'s.


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