Flames Sleep Through Tie

Team Unable to Duplicate Effort From Denver 

December 5th, 2002
Rick Charlton

AP Photo

Offensively Flat: Jarome Iginla and his offensive mates couldn't get it done against Minnesota.

A game like this would have killed the Flames last year.

And the year before that.

And the year . . . . .

If there has been one aspect of Calgary's makeup which has left them gasping for air these last few years it has been their penalty killing, the Flames making an annual tradition of finishing in the nether regions of the NHL in that statistic and, not coincidentally, in the standings as well.

After a rocky start to this season, however, Flames penalty killing under assistant coach Brian Skrudland has been gradually improving and last night, aided by the excellent goaltending of starter Roman Turek, Flames killed eight power plays in finishing in a 1-1 tie with the visiting Minnesota Wild.

Through two periods the Wild generated 14 of their 22 shots on the man advantage, but Turek was outstanding for the second straight game in finishing the night with 34 saves in front of 14,118, the smallest crowd of the season at the Saddledome.

The tie left Calgary interim coach Al McNeil undefeated at 1-0-1 with CTV Sportsnet reporting the Flames will name the replacement for fired mentor Greg Gilbert sometime tomorrow.

Ominously, it was the 14th time in the last 15 games the Flames have scored two or fewer goals although the trap-happy Wild, executing their ample defensive skills with supreme team speed, are a wily opponent on any night.

Flames had only 20 shots on the night and saw their own miserable power play streak continuing, going zero for two on the night.

The tie brought the Flames within one point of three teams, Phoenix, San Jose and Columbus, in the NHL's rough Western Conference, Calgary now 7-13-4-3 on the season and six points out of a playoff spot.

Flames got the start they wanted in this one when Rob Niedermayer corralled a Chris Drury rebound and wristed a shot behind Minnesota starter and ex-Flame Dwayne Roloson only 37 seconds into the game.

But Minnesota didn't roll over and took the game to the Flames through the rest of the first period, helped by four power plays, with Andrew Brunette tying the score at 13:27 when he wristed an off-wing shot past a surprised Turek.

Flames were reduced to five defencemen when they lost Robyn Regehr at 18:19 of the first period to a five minute major and game misconduct with the Flames defender caught for spearing.

Calgary looked to have taken a lead early in the second period when Jarome Iginla drove through the crease and the puck eventually ending up behind a belly-flopping Roloson. But the overhead camera evidence of the puck sliding freely under the Wild goaltender's belly had little impact on the officials and the evident goal was called back.

Oleg Saprykin continued his fine play, ringing one off the post just prior to the Iginla opportunity.

Minnesota entered the game having lost three straight at the Saddledome.

Flames have three days off (time enough to name a coach?) before a trip to Vancouver to face the red-hot Canucks on Monday.



Calgary Flames 1
Minnesota Wild 1

Saprykin Conroy Iginla
Niedermayer Drury Nichol
Gelinas Yelle Clark
Berube Johansson Sloan
Lydman Regehr
Montador Gauthier
Buzek Dupont

1 Roman Turek - The best penalty killer of the night and the reason the Flames were able to pull a valuable point out of this one. 

2 Marian Gaborik - eight shots on the night and that didn't even include a first period goal post. 

3 Toni Lydman - Only six seconds shy of half the game in ice time and a rock after Regehr was banished.

Five foot seven inch Scott Nichol was motoring down the right wing when he met up with the solid wall of 6'3" monster Willie Mitchell, Nichol bouncing off Mitchell like a rubber ball off a church wall.

With Sergei Zholtok bearing down on him in overtime, Turek held his ground and kept the game even.

Conroy entered the game with points in five of the last six games. . . . . it was Niedermayer's 600th career NHL game . . . . . . "It's back to business," said Denis Gauthier of the second game without former coach Greg Gilbert, saying the mood in the dressing room is already looking ahead instead of backwards at the events of the last week. . . . . . Matt Johnston - team captain. Who would have ever thought that? Wild rotate team captains on a monthly basis and its Johnston for the month of December. . . . . Mattias Johansson was a surprise healthy scratch . . . . . . Wild have won only five of their last 15 . . . . . . . As a sidenote, one of the rumoured Flames coaching candidates, Kevin Constantine, was a guest analyst on a TSN broadcast from Toronto last night. Is he catching the red-eye to Calgary right now?. . . . . Lydman led the Flames with 29:54 in ice time while, surprisingly, Andrei Zyuzin, a recent acquisition from New Jersey, led Minnesota with 23:23. . . . . It might have been the most lop-sided game of the season for the Flames faceoff men, obliterating the Wild with a 67% winning percentage led by Chris Drury at 70%. The lowest Flame was Craig Conroy at 64%. Leading the Wild was Pascal Dupuis at 42%.  


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