Another Home Thriller 

Donovan Leads the Way in 4-4 Draw 

November 29th, 2003
D'Arcy McGrath

In order for a middle of the pack team to knock off a NHL powerhouse a lot of things have to go right.

The down trodden team has to have game stealing goaltending, stay out of the penalty box, and bury their own chances when the arrive.

The local side had none of these factors on their side in the first half of the game, but all of them in the second half and fittingly tied the Vancouver Canucks at four in front of a national TV audience.

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

Retro 80's week continued for the Flames as the club added another chapter to that 11 goal thriller with the Avalanche on Thursday, filing eight more to make it 19 in two games.

Quick show of hands ... how many had the Flames picking up two points against Colorado and Vancouver if told in advance that they'd give up ten goals?

Didn't think so.

The Flames carried the play for the first half of the first period, the HNIC team had the Calgary squad up 5-0 in chances to score.

Rookie Matthew Lombardi was especially dangerous with three blue chip chances himself - all foiled by Canuck goaltender Dan Cloutier.

Elite teams only need a handful of chances however, and so it was the visitors hitting the score sheet first when Brendan Morrison pounced on a Jiri Slegr rebound and beat Jamie McLennan.

A few minutes later the Canucks were pressing again on a powerplay that came to be when Chris Clark inexplicably pulled Markus Naslund off his skates away from the puck.

It was Naslud that made the Flames pay when he threaded three pairs of skates to a streaking Morrison who wouldn't miss, scoring his second of the night.

The second period was similar to the first but the two teams appeared to have swapped goaltenders, as the Flames hit the score sheet three times to Vancouver's one to send the game to the third tied.

First Sean Donovan notched his third of the season when he picked up a pass from a hard charging Denis Gauthier and backhanded it past Cloutier.

The momentum build appeared to be lost 12 seconds later though when Ryan Kesler scored his first NHL goal to put the visitors back up two.

Calgary bounced back again though, with Robyn Regehr and Donovan hitting the board forty seconds apart.

Regehr's goal was his first in 101 games, a goal that finally puts to rest the Curse of 10. The big defender hasn't scored a goal since he claimed it possible to score 10 last season.

The rest of the period featured a steady Jamie McLennan and a never ending Canuck powerplay as consecutive questionable calls to Jarome Iginla, Jamie McLennan and Darryl Sutter - for finally letting the officials know enough was enough - left the Flames fighting for their lives.

If the average fan found the first two periods exciting, they just wouldn't believe the third period and overtime in this one.

The Flames forged their first lead of the game when Stephane Yelle pounced on a loose puck and lifted a backhander over Cloutier.

From there it was clear that the Flames lost an offensive gear and essentially sat on the one goal lead - a move that more often than not costs a club as it did tonight.

With just under two minutes to play Brendan Morrison completed his hat trick when he collected a stationary puck in the slot and slid the puck past McLennan's glove and into the cage.

The overtime had a bit over everything, that is everything but a goal.

Two Canuck penalties, one for two many men on the ice, a Calgary penalty to Iginla for goalie interference, and then a missed call when Yelle was almost knocked cold by a forearm/butt end to the jaw.

In the end the tie was likely a fitting end to a thoroughly exciting hockey game that really didn't deserve a losing side.

The point gives the Flames points in six straight games and eight points in five starts on a very successful homestand.

The tie, Calgary's first this season, kept the team in 11th place in the west, one point out of 10th (Edmonton) with two games in hand, two points out of 7th, and three points out of 5th with games in hand on every team above them. 





1) Brendan Morrison - Scored twice in the first period to pace the Canucks, and completed the his first career hat trick in the third to tie the game and send it to overtime.

2) Shean Donovan - We've named him a star on a few different occasions this season based on his try and scoring chances. Tonight he makes it for statistical reasons with two goals and an assist.

3) Martin Gelinas - Veteran a key member of the club's best line; picks up two assists.

Jarkko Ruutu had Andrew Ferrence dead in his sites in the third period and drove the Flame defender into the glass behind the Calgary cage.

With the game still knotted at nil, Dan Cloutier slid across to stop a Dean McAmmond set up Matthew Lombardi with a pad save. Could have been a different outcome without that save.

Jamie McLennan hurt his knee on a second period save but remained in the game despite favouring the wounded limb for the rest of the night. Have to wonder why he stayed in given the club's woes with goaltenders and knees this season. Roman Turek remained in a game against Buffalo this season despite hurting a knee and hasn't been heard from since. ... Does it have to be an official fight for a player to be tossed for not tying down his jersey? Not sure myself, but I'd assume so since Henrik Sedin was allowed to stay in the game despite Chris Clark's ability to pull his jersey down to his wrists. Clark received a game misconduct on the play. ... Local media attention surrounding the number of chances Shean Donovan was receiving created a good discussion about the goal scoring potential of the fleet footed winger. Many had the player topped out at five, a statistic a little less likely given his three goals in two games this week. Funny, the media attention hasn't lit a fire under Jarome Iginla as well. ... The Flames have now scored 2.29 goals per game, good for 22nd place in the NHL, a far cry from the 30th spot they held down two weeks ago. ... Yet anther night where I swear the Calgary powerplay looks simply brutal but they end the night with two powerplay markers on five chances. Speaking of the powerplay; why can the Flames attack with speed and take the zone five on five but then turn around and stop skating when they have the man advantage? ... The Flames won 53% of the draws on the night with every center save Matthew Lombardi at 50% or better. ... Every skater but Chuck Kobasew and the tossed Chris Clark had a shot on goal for Calgary. ... Even though Clark was thrown out of the game in the second he still managed to garner more ice time than Krzys Oliwa and Oleg Saprykin. ... Iginla has now gone 16 straight games at home without a goal. ... Do you think the After Hours crew on CBC has a cut off point for how long their post game show can run? They had better with Calgary chatter box Craig Conroy as the featured guest. They could call it a telethon and let him go all night.

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