Drop One to Provincial Rivals
November 21st, 2002
|Slip Sliding Away: Flames
fall for 7th straight game.
Tick, tock, tick tock.
Seven losses in a row now for the
Calgary Flames, falling 3-1 to the Edmonton Oilers last night, their
primary problem so glaringly obvious it would rival the brightness of
the Sun at high noon.
Only three goals rattling opposing
netminders in seven games.
Two attempts - one successful - at a
club record for scoring futility in only ten days.
Allowing only two or fewer goals (two
empty net goals) in six of those seven games, but no scoring, none,
zippo, zero and therefore giving their magnificant starting goaltender,
Jamie McLennan, no chance in spite of yielding an average of only 2.14
goals per game in the same time frame.
How bad is it?
A Calgary forward hasn't scored a goal
in over 219 minutes.
And the clock has to be ticking now on
Calgary head coach Greg Gilbert although we would wonder if it might
have been different had Stephane Yelle's open net shot not hit some part
of Edmonton starter Tommy Salo late in the first period, if Chuck
Kobasew and then Petr Buzek hadn't plunked shots off the post in the
second, if Rob Niedermayer's backhand attempt in the crease hadn't found
the edge of Salo's pad in the same period, or Jarome Iginla's carom shot
late in the game had been a few inches more off the ice.
Does it matter if we say the Flames
played with much improved spirit and energy in this one, their game
markedly superior to that of their emotionless efforts against St. Louis
and Detroit earlier in the week.
But close counts for nothing in a game
of inches and seven losses in a row drops Calgary to 5-9-3-3 on the
year, the bitterness of this hapless stretch made all the more stinging
by the phenomenal lack of scoring, knowing that two or more goals would
have yielded points in six of those seven contests.
Yet the bottom line is they have
nothing to show for those games, the loss leaving Calgary where they've
been seemingly forever, mired at 16 points on the season, the Flames
sinking, sinking further in the Western Conference standings, in fourth
place only two weeks ago and now 14th, ahead of only Nashville.
Worse, the game was a four pointer, the
arch-rival Oilers now opening a gap of four points on the Flame as they
win their fourth in five games.
After a scoreless opening frame, Oilers
finally gained a 1-0 lead on a Flames powerplay, breaking away on a two
on one while shorthanded, Todd Marchant finishing off a passing play
into an open net when Calgary's lone man back, Chris Drury, went after
Anson Carter, unfortunately, the same man McLennan was playing as the
It was the fifth short-handed goal the
Flames have allowed this year and the fifth the Oilers have
To their credit, Calgary came back only
39 seconds later, however, breaking a 186:39 goal-less drought when Petr
Buzek pinched in from the point and blew a quick shot past Salo at 6:00.
The Flames were only six minutes away
from beating their previous goal-less drought set only 10 days ago in
The goal also broke a zero for 33
streak of futility from the NHL's 30th ranked power play unit.
Salo likely saved the game with only
three minutes to go, taking away a point blank opportunity from Chris
Clark. Marchant then iced the game with an empty-netter at 19:10 of the
Calgary finishes off its disastrous
five game home stand Saturday against Chicago then launches into a
rather ominous schedule, playing six of the next seven and eleven of 14
on the road.
The contest saw the Flames attract
their largest crowd of the year, 17,660.
As is our want in extraordinary
circumstances like this, we can see some humour. FAN960's Perry Berezin,
an unfortunate witness and participant in Calgary's epic 11 game losing
streak in 1986, recalled in the pre-game show the legendary Badger Bob
Johnston, positive throughout the growing disaster, saying immediately
after the last loss - "I've got nothing more to say to you
Sooner or later, the players have to
explain three goals scored in seven games.
goals and an
been the very
- a few
the goal posts
but solid when
things got hot
in the final
Nichol did the
hard work in
alone a second
later in the
chance for the
late in the
York with the
the puck off
stick as the
a bunch of
all over them
. . . . . . On
a night when
crowd of the
Bruins had the
10,667 at the
seats for a
home date with
Montreal. . .
. . . . What a
year makes -
after 20 games
year he has
four, on pace
for an equally
on the year. .
. . . .
69% in the
an 85% success
York led the
Oil at 54%. .
. . . . Janne
24:23 in ice
as usual, led
with 27:04. Of
had 23:10 of