Less Than Special Flames Earn Draw

PK and PP Continue To Plague Club

April 2nd, 2003
Rick Charlton

A team which is in 14th place in a 15 team conference, another moribund season winding into oblivion, its last playoff appearance now a generational memory, will have plenty of time to consider its priorities given the next meaningful game is now six months away.

And special teams will be near the top of the list.

Calgary has generated only a single point out of its last three games, last night's 2-2 tie with San Jose at the Saddledome, but might have won all three easily save for surrendering six power play goals and netting zero in its last 36 efforts with the man advantage and nothing for eight on this night.

Flames are now dead last in the NHL on the power play and 16th overall in penalty killing, bland statistics which indicate the Flames are probably right where they should be in the overall standings.

The tie with the Sharks gives the Flames a record of 27-36-13-4, tied with the Sharks near the bottom of the NHL's outer reaches but, oddly, only four points out of ninth place in the NHL's Western Conference.

Or three points out of the basement.

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

With only two games remaining in another lost season, the only realistic goal is to avoid moving higher up the ladder, thereby securing a decent position in the summer draft. As things stand now, the Flames would draft sixth pending the results of the lottery draw.

The Sharks opened scoring at 8:28 of the first with two Flames in the penalty box, an unmolested Patrick Marleau firing home a rebound from the slot.

Calgary tied the game at 4:54 of the second, a streaking Martin Gelinas in the slot deflecting a nifty backhand just-in-time saucer pass from linemate Jarome Iginla past San Jose starter Evgeny Nabakov.

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 Atlanta Nikolai Zherdev
5 Calgary Braydon Coburn
6 Buffalo Eric Staal
7 San Jose Andrei Kastsitsyn
8 Calgary Anthony Stewart
*ranking: Red Line 3-27-03

The Sharks took the lead on one of those bizarre, head-shaking plays which infuriates the critics of Roman Turek, the Flames netminder having a loose puck laying near his pad in the crease for a mesmerizing three to five seconds, his teammates shouting to him the location but only Mark Smith of the Sharks having the presence of mind to dart at the net and jam the puck home at 17:47 of the second period.

But the Flames were pressing throughout the third period and managed to draw even with only 5:21 to go when Oleg Saprykin came from behind the net, was flattened and Chris Drury stepped in to slap the puck home through Nabakov.

Flames outshot the Sharks 31-19 on the night. A snowy night drew 14,207 to the Dome.

Next up is LA on Friday night. Then the Oilers. Then golf.




Calgary Flames 2
San Jose Sharks 2

1 Martin Gelinas - When Gelinas is "on" his speed can be a difference maker in the Flames lineup. A key goal to get his team going in the second period and an excellent effort throughout the night.

2 Evgeny Nabakov - A workmanlike effort in keeping his team in this one.

3 Blair Betts - Making a strong impression for a new season as the old one winds down, moving up to centre the first line between Jarome Iginla and Martin Gelinas.

Johnathn Cheechoo lost the puck in his skates momentarily when he was caught with his head down by Oleg Saprykin along the sideboards, the Flames forward bowling Cheechoo back about five feet midway through the second period.

With San Jose clinging to a 2-1 lead with seven minutes remaining, Nabakov compensated for a distressingly open net to slide his stick out and deflect an open net chance from Gelinas.

Bob Boughner played only three shifts before being felled by a sliced tendon in his wrist, the rest of the defence core having to step up large to fill the gap. Toni Lydman logged 33:16 in ice time, Jordan Leopold a career-high 30:45, Steve Montador 23:13 and Robyn Regehr was at 28:13 by the time the night ended. Oddly, the man you might have expected to fill in for the rugged Boughner, Mike Commodore, still logged only 9:14. . . . . . .Scott Hannan was at 26:41 for the Sharks. . . . . . .Calgary dominated the faceoff circle, generating a 57% success rate led by Drury at 66%


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