Goaltending and Penalty Trouble

Flames Fall to Jackets in Matinee

November 9th, 2003
D'Arcy McGrath

Goaltending and special teams; the lifeblood of any successful NHL franchise, and the absolute down fall of this ... and well most recent editions of the Calgary Flames.

Blaming the loss on goaltending would be somewhat unfair - the Flames got outgoaled by a 3-0 margin on special teams in this one - but for the upteenth time this season, Calgary's tender duo was outplayed by their counterparts in dropping a 4-3 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

For a team like the Flames to make the playoffs, their goaltending can't just be adequate - it has to be at least as good as the guy with the mask 190 feet away, and sometimes it has to steal games on its own.

That isn't happening.

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

The first period featured a first half onslaught by the Flames followed by some penalty trouble and a subsequent shift in momentum.

The Flames opened the scoring when Jarome Iginla had the puck carom off his skate and into the goal for his fourth of the season.

Iginla has now had two of his meager four goals this campaign literally just bounce off him meaning the sniper has only scored two real goals.

The official team went upstairs but ruled the puck wasn't put in with a kicking motion, so the goal stood.

The goal ended the Flames' most recent goal futility mark at 125 minutes even.

The club wasted an early chance to get up big when they blew two early powerplays and only had the one goal lead to show for a 10-3 edge in shots.

Back to back penalties taken by Stephane Yelle and Andrew Ference seemed to derail the first stanza for Calgary.

The club killed the Yelle minor but Jody Shelley, usually know for his fisticuffs and not his stick talents redirected the puck past McLennan to tie the score with just seconds left on the Ference minor.

This goal was reviewed as well, but like the Iginla goal it survived the video.

The shot count custodian may have been a little itchy as the Flames somehow out shot the Jackets by a 18-9 mark after one.

The Flames actually forged ahead in the second period when a Stephane Yelle centering attempt went off a Columbus skate and into the goal giving the Flames a 2-1 lead.

Then Jamie McLennan was very soft on a Jody Shelley side door attempt allowing the bruiser to tap in his second of the night and completely change the face of the game.

From there, the Jackets scored back to back powerplay goals, the first on McLennan, and the second on his replacement Dany Sabourin to put the game out of reach for the offensively anemic Flames.

The Flames played pretty well in the third, pulling to within one goal when Matthew Lombardi - inserted back into the lineup after sitting the Minnesota game - set up Andrew Ference to make the score 4-3.

From there, however, the Flames were unable to generage any real quality chances and fell by that identical score.

The loss marks the Flames third in a row, and puts the team two games under .500. It's the first time this season that they've lost three in a row.

You can't panic too quickly but a disastrous road trip could give the Flames yet another huge hole to climb out of, way too soon into a season.

Big game in Chicago on Wednesday.

The bleeding has to stop now.






1) Jody Shelley - Former Flame had four career goals coming in but scored twice to pace the Jackets

2) Marc Denis - Didn't have to be as solid as the Flames 45 shots on goal suggests but he was much better than his Calgary counter parts.

3) Luke Richardson - Hard on Flame talent all night.

Marc Denis had to be sharp to slide across and rob Chuck Kobasew when the Flame rookie brought the puck from the corner on a wrap around attempt. 

Robyn Regehr was penalized on the play, but that doesn't take anything away from the ferocity of his late 2nd period hit to Tyler Wright.  

Is this Canada? I think it's Canada, but one would wonder when Calgarians, eagerly anticipating an afternoon tilt on TSN were instead confronted with NASCAR. The hockey game was preempted until a the zooming cars had completed. As a result fans missed the Flames opening goal, a real crime for a team that only scores every three games. ... Speakin of TSN, I must pick on Pierre McGuire once again. During the second period he metioned that the Flames lost Andrew Cassels in a contract mistake when they didn't qualify him. That isn't exactly true. There may have been a mistake, though Al Coates denied it, but the mistake was signing Cassels, a then ten yea pro, to a less than league average contract making him an unrestricted free agent. ... The Flames are reportedly not chasing a replacement goaltender for Roman Turek because of budget constraints. At least that makes sense. On a non-dollar standpoint it's proving more and more obvious that a career sub par back up and an AHL goalie are not the answer to keep the Flames in the thick of things. ... The Flames have somehow managed to drop both weekend games by a combined score of 7-3 despite holding a shot advantage of 79-48. Did I mention goaltending earlier? ... Jarome Iginla led the way with 6 shots on goal, but no fewer than 9 Flames had three or more directed towards the net. ... Andrew Ference's 3rd period goal was his first as a Flame, and only the club's third goal scored by a defenceman this season. ... Krzysztof Oliwa only logged 1:37 of ice time on the night despite a spirited first period bout. ... The Flames got wiped out in the face off circle winning only 41% of the draws. Stephane Yelle struggled the most, only winning 35% of his chances.

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