Flame Keep On Rollin'

Flames Take Advantage of Stale Canucks 

December 4th, 2003
D'Arcy McGrath

There are no good times to hook up with the NHL elite, but the Flames had a lot of factors going for them when the arrived in Vancouver on Thursday.

The Canucks were coming off a road trip, had been sitting since Saturday night, and were likely looking forward to a home and home with the Avalanche.

Oh, and their captain and offensive leader Markus Naslund was hobbled by a sore groin.

The Flames took full advantage, eking out an impressive 4-1 victory.

McAmmond Yelle Iginla
Gelinas Conroy Donovan
Saprykin Lombardi Clark
Oliwa Morgan Lowry
Regehr Leopold
Gauthier Warrener
Montador Lydman

The first period was a penalty filled affair - pretty much the exact opposite of the type of game the Flames were looking to play.

It was the Flames, however, that came out of the period with the only goal, converting one of their two powerplay chances while the Canucks came up empty on three of their own.

On the play the Flames had pressure in the slot with numerous chances to score including a great toe save by Mattias Ohlund on Jarome Iginla.

It was Iginla that got the last laugh however when he dribbled a rebound off a Stephane Yelle shot into the net as he was being taken down, his sixth of the season and 2nd in two games.

It marked the first time this season that Iginla has a) scored a powerplay goal and b) scored in back to back games.

The Flames and Canucks each had eight shots in the first period.

The second period featured more five on five play with one minor penalty called, giving the Flames a chance to roll their lines and use their forecheck to hold back the powerplay Canucks.

The Craig Conroy line, with wingers Shean Donovan and Martin Gelinas, were especially effective, reeking havoc down low with their cycle and getting numerous chances.

The trio had their hard work pay off when Conroy fed Donovan in front of the net. The puck flipped up in the air, fell to the ice and then Donovan turned and roofed it for his 7th of the season.

With the goal Donovan wrestled the lead back away from Iginla, and his first period tally.

"We had some work down low, and I ended up getting the shot. It was great we got two points out of it. Everyone played well tonight", Donovan told Sportsnet after the game.

"We have four lines, everyone can play with each other. I have the lucky hand now, but it will be someone else later."

And luck they had in the third period, essentially scoring two empty net goals to sandwich a Canuck shutout buster to salt things away.

First Martin Gelinas jumped on a fortuitous bounce off the end boards and fired a low shot at an empty Canuck cage.

The rebound bounced back to him and he managed to slide the puck under a leaping Craig Conroy before Dan Cloutier could get back to his post.

The Canucks foiled Miikka Kiprusoff's shut out bid a few minutes later when a Maren Malik point shot hit a skate went off Kiprusoff and back out front to a willing Trevor Linden for his 6th of the season.

Iginla put the capper on the win with an empty net goal with less than a minute left.

The win evens the season series with the Canucks at a win apiece plus a tie.

Two points vault the Flames up the West Standing into sole possession of 8th spot with 26 points. Looking up they trail the 7th place Sharks by one point with three games in hand, the 6th place Kings by two points with two games in hand, and the 5th place Predators by three points with two games in hand.

Next up for the Flames is a home game tomorrow night versus the Minnesota Wild. 





1) Martin Gelinas - A goal, four shots on net and a key role down low wearing out the Canucks. 

2) Miikka Kiprusoff - Not real busy early, but came up big in the third to preserve the win. 

3) Craig Conroy - Solid two way game centering the club's most effective line.

Stephane Yelle caught a stickless Markus Naslund trying to bat the puck out of the air with his glove, leveling the Canuck captain and inciting a riot just south of the Canuck's bench. ... Honourable mention to call up Jason Morgan for flattening Canuck super-pest Jarkku Ruutu in the third.

They had to go upstairs to confirm it but Miikka Kiprusoff made a huge glove save on Todd Bertuzzi with less than a minute to play on a cross crease bang bang play. The puck came very close the goal line in his glove but was ruled no goal.

Just when do you take a mucker with new found scoring touch seriously? Shean Donovan has averaged 11 goals a season through 557 NHL games, but already has 7 in just 23 games this season. That puts him on a 25 goal pace. While no one is rushing to dub Donovan the club's next 25 to 30 goal man, if he can score 15 he has really added a new wrinkle to the Flames attack. ... Strange call: In the second period a delayed off side was whistled down in the Calgary zone with neither Trevor Linden nor Dave Lowry willing to touch it. The puck was then dropped in the dot to the left of Kiprusoff. How can a Canuck offside ever result in a face off in the Calgary zone? ... Oleg Saprykin was back up to almost 11 minutes of action again as the enigmatic winger had an on game to match his on / off / on pattern. He picked up an assist and used his speed all night. ... Denis Gauthier had a solid game hounding Todd Bertuzzi once again, and making sound decisions in his own zone. His partner Rhett Warrener was equally as effective. ... The Canucks out shot the Flames 29-23 on the night, including an 11-7 margin in the third. ... The Flames won the special team battle going 1-4 on the powerplay and killing all four Canuck man advantages. The perfect kill night moved the club above the magic 80% mark for the first time this season. They now sit at 80.5%. ... The club's record now sits at 11-8-1-3 good for 26 points in 23 games. The team had 18 points after 23 games last season, and 32 points after 23 games in that great start 2001-02 season. ... The Flames dazzled in the face off circle once again, taking 60% of the draws. Stephane Yelle took 65% of his 19 draws, while Craig Conroy was good on 75% of his 24 visits. ... Back to back one goal against games have moved the Flames back up to 11th overall in team defence. They had slipped in their two zany games last week. On a goal's for basis the Flames have cracked the league's top 20 sitting exactly in 20th spot with 2.39 goals per game. On a gross basis the Flames sit 23rd with 55 goals scored, one less than they've given up.

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