Points is ... well Two Points
November 1st, 2001
It was games like last night
against Columbus that Calgary was losing with monotonous
regularity last season, poor showings against Minnesota, the
Blue Jackets and others occupying the nether regions of the
NHL effectively costing the Flames a playoff spot.
Most nights, opponents have
little choice but to play a monotonous, mind-numbing yet
necessarily patient game against teams like the Blue Jackets,
waiting for opportunities and, as a by-product, usually boring
their hometown fans half to death.
So it was again for the Flames
last night in a game that looked like both teams were pushing
on a string with the Flames eventually cashing in on one of
their few opportunities in a hard-fought, if desultory, 2-1
The win was an important one as
it elevated Calgary to a mark of 9-2-0-2 record, good for 20
points on the season and a tie with the New York Islanders for
second overall in the NHL behind Detroit.
The Flames also leap-froged the
Edmonton Oilers in the standings.
Calgary remains unbeaten on
home ice with a stellar record of 6-0-0-2.
The Blue Jackets were all over
the Flames in the first ten minutes, building a 1-0 lead only
1:53 in. Flames starter Roman Turek coughed up a large rebound
on a Deron Quint point shot and Jamie Heward pinched in to
bury a backhand into an open net.
Although the Flames managed to
regain their feet by mid-period they were still tentative,
particularly through double two man advantages.
But Craig Conroy pulled the
Flames even with only 53 seconds left in the first when he
deflected a Jarome Iginla pass onto Columbus starter Ron
Tugnett then batted in his own rebound.
Iginla, the NHL's leading
scorer, extended his point streak to six games with the
Although the Blue Jackets
started with a 8-0 advantage in shots, the count at the end of
the first was only 12-11 favouring Columbus.
It was Chris Clark, with his
second in as many games, who eventually put the Flames on top
for good at 13:51 of the third, finishing off a nice
tic-tac-toe passing play with Rob Niedermayer and Derek Morris
by feathering a shot through Tugnutt's legs.
Just moments later the snake
bit Rob Niedermayer failed once again to convert on a great
individual play, streaking in alone on Tugnutt but firing a
shot into the goaltender's pads. It was Niedermayer's second
speed induced break of the night, but the center remains
goalless on the season.
The benefit of having a string
of opponents like the expansion Blue Jackets is the potential
for putting up some wins on home ice. The drawback is that
teams like Columbus are a terrible draw and attendance was
again poor with only 12,501 passing through the turnstiles at
Columbus outshot Calgary 27-25
on the night. The Blue Jackets were zero for five on the power
play while the Flames, with the second ranked power play in
the NHL, were quiet on the night with zero goals in four
Struggling Montreal is next up
for Calgary on Saturday night.