Late Goal Gives Stars Tie
Flames Third Line Their Best
October 24th, 2002
|Sister Kisser: Despite a
strong showing from Yelle and the third line, the Flames settled
for a tie against Dallas on Thursday night.
It was a game of limited mistakes but the last one ended up costing Calgary its first home win of the season.
With a little over two minutes remaining and the Flames nursing a one goal lead, Marc Savard lifted a flutterball along the boards that was easily flagged down by Dallas defenceman Sergei Zubov who immediately whipped a point shot towards the Calgary net where Jiri Lehtinen deflected the puck past a startled Roman Turek.
And Calgary is still winless at home this season, a streak now stretching to four games after last night's 3-3 tie in front of 14,625 fans who saw what was otherwise an excellent night for the local boys, playing what was probably their most complete game of the season.
For the most part, coach Greg Gilbert got what he wanted, a spirited effort ignited early in the first when Jarome Iginla beat up Bill Guerin in a helmet-less tilt inspired by Guerin's large hit on Savard.
But the pairing of Savard and Iginla again, with Rob Niedermayer on left wing, should be called what it really is - a demotion to the second line for Iginla with newcomer Chris Drury moving up to play with Craig Conroy and Martin Gelinas.
The latter trio were creative all evening, generating 16 shots and finally combining on Calgary's third goal while the the Savard line were all minus two and largely ineffective, with the fight and the final crime of giving up the tying goal late in the game being the highlights.
Rookie Jordan Leopold was a dismal minus three on the night while his defence partner, Peter Buzek, was minus two. Niedermayer is now an amazing minus eight in as many games this young season.
For his part, Gilbert seemed to be somewhat forgiving of the failed clearing attempt by Savard on the final Dallas goal, sending the centre out for the final 30 seconds of the period and offering up this comment:
"It just happens," said Gilbert. "That's classic hockey. Throw it to the front of the net and good things happen."
More encouraging perhaps was the Flames nominal third line of Chris Clark, Jamie Wright and Stephane Yelle, which combined for 14 shots, including seven from Clark, and scored two hard fought goals.
The tie leaves the Flames 2-3-2-1 on the season and still clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot thanks to picking up points if five of their last six games.
Dallas opened scoring at 4:37 of the second period on Rob DiMaio's fourth of the season, an open net tap in off a Niko Kapanen pass which Turek had little chance on.
Flames tied the game when Clark was hooked down at the Dallas blueline but managed to sweep the puck to Wright who whipped a honey of a wrister over Tugnutt, who was going down about half an hour early at 12:51.
But the Stars regained their lead when a bad line change allowed Mike Modano to gain speed through the neutral zone and sweep down on a backpedaling Buzek, Modano cutting past the hapless Flames defenceman and through the crease, shaking off a half-hearted whack from Leopold and deposit the puck behind Turek at 17:38
"It was a good bank pass by Darryl," said Modano after the game. "They're a good team stepping up, so I was expecting someone to step up. Once I saw them staying back, I saw a clear lane from the blue line to the net, so there was a lot of open ice there."
Flames drew even again at 6:12 of the third when Yelle retrieved a loose puck in the corner and tossed it into the crease where Clark was camped and was able to have three whacks before driving it by Tugnutt.
Calgary's third goal was an instance of double patience when entered the Dallas zone and persistently held the puck, allowing the Dallas defence to collapse before feeding Conroy in the slot. The latter, who has apparently given up on his visor experiment, waited for Tugnutt to fall to his knees before wristing a 20 foot shot over the shoulder of the Dallas netminder at 8:19.
"I actually played that one real well," Tugnutt said afterwards. "I got a piece of it with my glove. I looked up afterwards and said, "Geez, how did he get that in,' because I took so much of that side away."
Tugnutt might have been the story of this night, however, stopping outstanding opportunities from Gelinas (twice), Toni Lydman and Rob Niedermayer early in the game while giving his team a chance to win. Flames directed a season high 42 shots at the Dallas net. Roman Turek, who couldn't be faulted on any of the Star goals, stopped 28 of 31 shots.
Dallas was zero for three on the power play and the Flames failed to score in four attempts with the man advantage, stretching their futility streak to 18 consecutive kills by the opposition.
Next up is St. Louis on Saturday night.