Newbies Carry Flames to Win

Off Season Acquisitions Huge in Upset Victory

November 5th, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

AP Photo

Now Take That: Jordan Leopold gets up close and personal with Meadowland ice.

It's like a different team.


Who's that in goal turning aside 30 shots for his second win in as many nights, you ask? Why it's Jamie McLennan, acquired from the Minnesota Wild for a late round draft pick this past summer.

Who's that plucky fourth liner with the salon goatee and the funky side burns, that has managed to score two goals in as many games? Why it's Mattias Johansson, a Flames draft pick from almost ten years ago, finally signed this summer.

Ok, then who's that guy wearing Jeff Shantz's number that seems to win every face off and chip in with timely offensive contributions when most needed? That's Stephane Yelle, the throw in from the Derek Morris trade just over a month ago.

Don't even get me started on #37, #4, and that presence that seems to have taken over Rob Niedermayer's body.

Different Team

It would only make sense that with different personnel you'd get different outcomes, which is exactly what we've seen on this road trip.

The Flames have been awful in back to back games in the past several seasons. Didn't matter if the easy touch was first, or second, the Flames were pretty much a lock to drop the return engagement.

So with the table set, the rested and dominant Devils set to feast, a tired backup goaltender making the start and the team captain on the sidelines, a fan could be forgiven if they had already counted this one a loss.

Just don't tell the Flames.

On the back of a stellar goaltending performance by Jamie McLennan and a trio of goals from three new forwards the Flames turned back the Devils on Tuesday night by a score of 3-2.

The Devils opened the scoring in the first period on a goal by Mike Danton - McLennan having no chance as he was screened by rookie Jordan Leopold.

In the second period the Flames tied it and then went ahead on goals by Mattias Johansson and Stephane Yelle.

Johansson's goal was a defection on a Leopold point shot, while Yelle banged his home out front after taking a good pass from Marc Savard.

The lead didn't last - the Devil's Colin White tied the score less than a minute later setting up the exact same situation the Flames faced on Long Island - third period, score tied at two.

Queue the Chris Drury heroics.

"I just happened to the right guy in the right spot the last two nights,'' Drury said. "I was just able to grab this one, get it down and up in a hurry.''

Drury, just as he had done a night earlier, scored the game winner just three minutes into the third period, but that's where the similarities end.

Against the Islanders the goal gave the Flames another step as they took the game to the home side, and then found insurance with a goal by Chuck Kobasew.

Against New Jersey the Flames were forced to hang on for their lives in a period that would see the Devil's out shoot Calgary by a frightening count of 19-5

"New Jersey came at us hard in the third, especially after the go-ahead goal,'' said Flames coach Greg Gilbert. "They were throwing pucks from everywhere. Jamie stood tall again tonight and made the big saves when we needed them.''

The Flames did manage to hang on however, moving their road trip record to 2-0-0 with the Rangers, Panthers and Thrashers still to go on the trek.

The team shouldn't count their chickens as they say, but to most on lookers the two toughest games on this sojourn appeared to come at the front, giving the Flames a great opportunity at a tremendous road trip.

The Flames play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night. The Rangers will be coming off a convincing victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Three minutes into the third period in that one, you may want to pay attention, that 37 guy may be on the scene.



Calgary Flames 3
New Jersey Devils 2

Gelinas Drury Iginla
Niedermayer Savard Kobasew
Sloan Yelle Clark
Berube Johansson Nichol
Lydman Regehr
Gauthier Leopold
Buzek Boughner

1 Jamie McLennan - Simply unbelievable in this one ... turning aside 30 shots (including 19 in the final period) to pick up his second win in as many nights. 

2 Chris Drury - Drury arrived in Calgary with the moniker "Mr. Clutch". Back to back game winning goals will do nothing to dispel that handle. 

3 Jordan Leopold - Flame rookie now has four points in his last three games. 

For McLennan, his best save may have been his last. The Flames backup stopped 19 third period shots including Scott Niedermayer's blast to the top corner with 12 seconds left.

Denis Gauthier sent Turner Stevenson flying with a first period hit near the face off circle in the Flames zone during the first.

A win on Thursday in New York will make the Flames just the second team to sweep all three New York based teams on one trip ... Vancouver did the trick last year. ... Chuck Kobasew led all Flame shooters with four. ... Greg Gilbert really spread out the ice time in this one. Peter Buzek was on the ice for just over 16 minutes, while Toni Lydman played just over 22, the other four blueliners fell in between. ... Both teams came up empty on the powerplay, Calgary 0/4 and Jersey 0/2. ... The Flames jumped into 5th place in the West with the win, but could be tied for 4th should the Kings lose in San Jose tonight. ... The combined trip goal totals of seven for and five against has evened the teams ratio at 38 for the season. ... Both Flame rookies Jordan Leopold and Chuck Kobasew now have five points on the season. The top rookie, St. Louis' Peter Cajanek leads rookies with 9.
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