Come ... Easy Go
The NHL warned us there would be nights like this.
|Rough Ride: Flames
blow a two goal third period.
An astonishing parade to the penalty box that had Flyers GM Bobby
Clarke launching a wild second period intermission tirade against the
officials ended with Philadelphia scoring three late goals, including
two on the power play as they edged the Flames 5-4 last night at the
Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary.
For their part, the Flames punctuated an otherwise second straight
moribund effort with three power play goals in 2:35 while playing five
on three late in the second period but otherwise did little this night
except watch the larger Flyers skate through them and over them.
The night illustrated all the salient points the NHL told fans to
expect in its annual crackdown on obstruction. This was a game with the
requisite 19 power play opportunities, including a controversial late
call on Jarome Iginla that led to Jeremy Roenick's winner at 18:50 of
the third, the latter capping the disintegration of a 4-2 Calgary lead
with barely five minutes to go.
Then again, there were few calls that weren't controversial.
The Flyers were cruising along with a 2-1 lead late into the second
period when the penalties began to rain down, creating a lengthy stretch
of five on three hockey which the Flames gleefully exploited with two
goals from Martin Gelinas, one from Jarome Iginla and three assists from
Philadelphia coach Ken Hitchcock was so enraged that he sent his
entire team to the dressing room, less Mark Recchi to take a centre dot
faceoff, with nine-tenths of a second to go.
Flyers GM Bobby Clarke then stepped to the plate during a scheduled
appearance on FAN960's intermission show, peeling back host Mitch
Peacocks ears with gems like: "I think it was an abuse of the rules
by the officials," and " These little weak girl penalties
they're calling . . . " or "I don't have any understanding of
what they're trying to do."
Naturally, we expect Clarke to be fined for the comments. And we
should point out as well Hitchcock had earned his team a delay of game
penalty by putting only one player on the ice even if the period had
less than a second to run, although the infraction was charitably
In truth, however, the Flames probably had no business winning this
More ominously, the opening two games of the year for the Flames have
looked an awful lot like most of last year, if not the last six seasons.
A goal in the final minute of the period on a failed clearing attempt, a
terrible defensive error by Drury leading to a short-handed goal and bad
penalties late in a game opening the door for an opponent to drive a
In spite of all the additions to their forward ranks this off-season
it was always going to come down to how much this team had improved
defensively and to date the reviews are not good, Calgary surrendering
eight goals in only two starts with the goaltender not to blame.
For the most part, Flames starter Roman Turek held his team in this
game before finally succumbing to numerous Flyer chances, including a
letter perfect set-up from Recchi for Roenick's final goal. Turek faced
34 Flyers shots, many of the point-blank variety, while Roman Cechmanek
in the Philadelphia net had 25 shots directed his way.
Recchi himself was outstanding this night, scoring three times and
adding an assist. Justin Williams also scored for the Flyers. Craig
Conroy opened Calgary's scoring and added an assist as well.
Vertically challenged Micki Dupont did much to help the Flames cause,
albeit inadvertently, when he ripped a point shot off the ankle of
monstrous 6'5" Keith Primeau, sending the latter to the dressing
room from which he never re-appeared. Primeau had spent much of the
period casting a long shadow over Turek from the edge of the crease, his
huge frame unmoveable for the Flames defence corps.
If the penalties on the evening weren't enough to raise your eyebrows
the turmoil over Marc Savard's status probably did. Savard was withdrawn
from the Flames lineup by coach Greg Gilbert and replaced with Mattias
Johansson. Savard was quoted as saying Gilbert told him the move was
being made to add size to the lineup but others saw it as one more step
in Savard's eventual departure from Calgary. The real reason might have
been a 1:30 power play shift Savard took in Calgary's 3-0 loss to
Vancouver on Thursday night.
It doesn't get any easier for the Flames, off to Vancouver for a tilt
with the Canucks Monday night. Of Calgary's opening 13 games this year,
ten are against opponents who played .500 or better last year with
another one against the much improved Dallas Stars.
Its early, but the Flames need to find their five on five game real
Mark Recchi -
three goals and
assisted the winner
with a terrific
Craig Conroy -
brought the Flames
out of their four
period long funk
with a great goal
early in the second
Jeremy Roenick - plus
two on the night and
scores the game
OF THE GAME
any one of a flurry
of chances from
Primeau early on,
the Flyers with the
Primeau parked in
the crease blasting
away with little
Turek also stopped
John LeClair on the
doorstep in the
opening moments of
the third period.
OF THE GAME
for the collapse of
the Flames in the
final five minutes,
crushing hit on
Simon Gagne mid-way
through the second
Flames, might have
been the turning
point in the game.
if coach Gilbert
doesn't have enough
pressure, a female
within earshot was
lamenting his choice
of dress this night.
shiny gold WIDE tie
- No!! It's not
she lamented. Ouch.
. . . . . Flames
were only 44% in the
faceoff circle on
the night, but
Conroy was 68%.
Roenick was 65% for
the opposition. Toni
Lydman led the
Flames with a
yeoman-like 27:03 in
ice time and Chris
were the key point
men on the Flames
Desjardins was the
Flyers ice time
leader with 23:44
and yes, he was the
point guy on the
play. . . . . . .
Flames were three
for nine on the
power play while the
Flyers were 2-10.