Pop Gun Offence Comes Up Short

Flames Gun Falter in 2-1 Setback

October 24th, 2003
Rick Charlton

The team that couldn't shoot straight couldn't dodge enough bullets to win last night, the punchless Flames losing 2-1 on Saddledome ice in a hard-fought, physical, grinding match with the visiting St. Louis Blues.

Reinprecht Lombardi Iginla
McAmmond Conroy Clark
Gelinas Yelle Donovan
Saprykin Betts Kobasew
Montador Lydman
Leopold Regehr
Gauthier Warrener

Calgary has scored the second fewest goals in the NHL so far this young NHL season, scarcely qualifying as mediocre in that regard yet still 3-3 in the win/loss column because of their sixth ranking defensively.

Still, if the whole idea is to outscore the other guys, then Calgary's guns have to start showing up fairly soon, names like Martin Gelinas, Craig Conroy, Steve Reinprecht (only two games played), Oleg Saprykin, Toni Lydman and Jordan Leopold all without goals so far in the campaign.

Throw in Jarome Iginla and Chuck Kobasew, both with only one goal apiece.

Matthew Lombardi, meanwhile, the player no one thought had a chance to be here at the start of training camp five weeks ago, continues to pull away in the team scoring race, notching another one on this night to secure his fourth point in his first six NHL games.

Perhaps more embarrassing is that one guy, Illya Kovalchuk of Atlanta, has scored the same number of goals as the 23 goals dressing for the Flames on any given night.

The loss keeps the Flames in a logjam, tied for sixth with five other teams in the NHL's Western Conference.

Doug Weight opened scoring on a clever play at 2:47 of the first period, Chris Pronger on a power play faking a shot from the centre of the ice towards Weight who deftly tipped the puck through Calgary starter Jamie McLennan.

Flames tied the game when Matthew Lombardi's shot caught Chris Osgood leaning away from the post, the puck squeezing under his pads and drawing just over the line to count at 12:49 of the first period.

But St. Louis carried the play early in the third and Pavol Demitra's cross-ice pass was one-timed by waiver wire pickup Jeff Hereema to catch a sliding McLennan off-guard.

That would prove to be the winner as the Blues survived a furious Flames assault in the middle of the final stanza.

Jarome Iginla came close to giving Calgary the lead in the final minute of the second period where he drilled a wrist shot off the post behind a screened Osgood.

"We need to play all 60 minutes," said defenceman Toni Lydman after the game on FAN960. "We only played the last 20, that's what I think."

Although the Flames were ground down into another loss, they continue to demonstrate remarkable improvement in limiting opposition chances.

Flames surrendered only 19 shots in this game, continuing an early season trend. Although on the wrong end of the scoresheet in this one a continuation of this defensive bent will keep them in pretty much every game they play this year, giving them an opportunity to win eventually.

Flames lost Dean McAmmond to an innocent enough looking hit by Hereema, the latter catching the Flames forward off-balance and sending him awkwardly into the boards. McAmmond appeared to be knocked out for a few minutes before being revived and leaving the ice on his skates.

Flames were penalized twice for two many men on the ice and probably could have been penalized twice more as a desperate coach Darryl Sutter juggled his lines throughout the night, no doubt creating some bench confusion while doing so.

Blues were one for six on the power play while the Flames had only one power play opportunity, an unsuccessful chance.

Calgary has not scored in its last 11 power play chances.

Chris Osgood stopped 25 of 26 shots directed his way.

Next up is Edmonton Saturday night at Skyreach.






1 Chris Pronger - Sucking up half the ice time in the game, an assist on the first goal and generally an impenetrable force on the St. Louis blueline. 

2 Matthew Lombardi - Didn't finish the game with Jarome Iginla but the only Flame who can seem to find a way to score. 

3 Doug Weight - Former Oiler is looking to recover from an injury plagued campaign last year played a solid game this night while scoring once.

Instead of naming the the aggressor it might be more appropriate to name the victim in this game, Peter Sejna of the Blues crushed throughout the night by thundering hits from, among others, Robyn Regehr and Denis Gauthier, the latters third period crunch enough to put Senjna in the dressing room for the rest of the night.

A feed from the corner in the third period found Chris Clark for a one-timer from 15 feet but Osgood stood his ground to preserve a one goal lead.

"Quite frankly, I think Shean Donovan has quietly been our best player(this year)," said Sutter before the game. No offence to Donovan, but that might be an indictment of the rest of the lineup as the oft-traded/waived Donovan is hardly a goal-scoring machine. If he's the best forward, there's a problem . . . . Bob MacAmmond, pro scout for the Detroit Red Wings and commenting in the second period on FAN960, counted San Jose and "probably" Phoenix as the two teams he would judge as sure bets to miss the playoffs in the Western Conference . . . . .Pronger played an unconscious 27:33 in ice time, proving he's pretty much all the way back from a debilitating wrist injury that threatened to end his career. . . . . Iginla led the Flames in ice time at 22:40, a rare moment in a season when a forward will outpace the defence corps for total time. Regehr and Rhett Warrener logged 21:27 and 21:23 in ice time . . . . . Oleg Saprykin and Keith Tkachuk led their respective teams with four shots on goal . . . . .Flames were 44% in the faceoff circle with only Conroy at 50%. Ryan Johnson led the Blues at 72%. . . . . . Andrew Ference sat for the second consecutive game after his mammoth faux pas early in a home ice loss to Buffalo that led to the winning goal. . . . .


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