Spoil Wing Party
It's no secret the Flames will live or
die as a team.
While Detroit opened their home schedule
looking like a bunch of individuals, the Flames collectively stuck
together and laid an unexpected 4-2 spanking on the Red Wings in front
of a disappointed crowd of 20,003.
Roman Turek was once again solid in the
Calgary net but that did little to deter the thought the Flames were
full measure over a Wings team that many are considering as a Stanley
More impressive yet is the fact Calgary
defencemen continue to pile up points early in the campaign - another
goal and two assists tonight giving the blueliners nine points on ten
Flames goals this year.
Calgary defencemen were all but invisible
both defensively and offensively last season but their two way play so
far this year has been generally impressive.
But a defencemen is nothing but a pylon
if his forwards aren't doing their part on the backcheck, slowing up
opposing forwards before they can get up speed.
In turn that often leads to an effective
counter-punch the other way, something that was evident throughout the
A classic example would be the final
Flames goal, admittedly scored on a power play, but started in Calgary's
own end when a backchecking Craig Conroy flattened Brett Hull just
inside the Flames blueline, setting up a three on one the other way that
resulted in a Jarome Iginla's first goal of the season.
Igor Larionov threw a nifty flutter pass
over the stick of a Flame defender to a streaking Kris Draper who went
in alone on Turek and wristed a shot by Turek for a 1-0 Wings first
period lead at 12:43.
Calgary evened the contest at 10:03 of
the second when Dean McAmmond batted a loose puck over a sprawled Hasek
on a two-man advantage.
Flames then took the lead on another five
on three opportunity when McAmmond danced across the blue line and fed
Rob Niedermayer at the side of the net. Hasek stopped the initial shot
but Scott Nichol, with his first career NHL goal, batted the bouncing
puck through Hasek for the 2-1 Flames lead at 15:26.
Niedermayer had an opportunity late in
the second to push the Flames even further ahead when he outraced
Yzerman from the red line in for a breakaway opportunity but Hasek
forced the Flame centre to shoot wide of the net.
The game was a chippy affair and the
epicentre had to be Wings tough guy Darren McCarty. In the first, Flames
centre Marc Savard was forced to leave the game after a knee on knee
collision with McCarty. Iginla leapt to Savard's defence with such vigor
that he was almost banished from the game, instead getting two for
instigating, five for fighting and a ten minute misconduct when he
jumped McCarty after the hit.
Savard left the game and commented on The
TEAM 960 broadcast that he has a suspected MCL injury to his knee.
In the second, Ronald Petrovicky narrowly
missed flattening McCarty with a blind side hit. On the ensuing run up
the ice McCarty returned the favour with a horrific elbow/butt end to
the head of the Flames forward, leaving an angry bright red welt that
could be seen from several time zones distant. McCarty earned the five
minute major and game misconduct awarded by the referee.
Early in the third Tomas Holmstrom rifled
a shot off the post behind Turek but the Flames charged the other way
and Igor Kravchuk finished off a Craig Conroy pass at 3:50 for a 3-1
But the Wings drew back within one on a
power play when Brett Hull made a brilliant play from in close, digging
the puck out of a scramble as he was hitting the ice, sending it back to
Brendan Shanahan who buried it behind a flattened Roman Turek.
Iginla finished scoring at 13:41 of the
third on a power play.
Calgary outshot the Wings 33-26 and was
three for eight on the power play. Detroit was one for six on the power
play as Calgary continues its impressive early season string of penalty
Calgary continues to charge out of the
gate, their record now standing at an impressive 3-0-0-1 in their first