Phoenix Coyotes 6 Calgary Flames 3

Collapse in the Desert 

Rick Charlton

December 19th, 2001

It was an epic collapse, not their worst defeat of the year but certainly their most demoralizing.

Calgary Flames looked to be dusting their hands over a Coyote corpse after building a 3-0 lead by the 16:34 mark of the first period last night but ended up improbably on the short end of a 6-3 score, dropping them within four points of ninth place Phoenix in the Western Conference.

The Flame's record drops to 16-11-6-2, good for 40 points while counting a missed opportunity to move within two points of first place Edmonton.

The decisive moment in this game came in the first period when Robyn Regehr, only seconds after Phoenix had closed the gap to 3-1, staggered briefly but long enough to spring Michael Handzus free on a breakaway. Handzus took his time in waiting for Calgary starter Roman Turek to commit then wristed a shot home at 17:46, bringing the Coyotes to within one and leaving the Flames on their heels the rest of the way.

From there it seemed only a matter of time before the Flames collapse was complete, Phoenix taking the measure of play and adding two more in the second to take the lead for good.

Coyotes finally jumped over the falling Flames when Claude Lemieux put a shot just under the bar at 19:00 of the third period.

The defeat shouldn't have been particularly surprising since the old axiom of "Winnipeg always beats Calgary" held true once again. Flames have beaten Phoenix only once in their last 17 games.

Worse, Calgary has won only three times in its last 14 games as their freefall in the West continues.

As has been usual of late, the Flames lost this one because they gave it away more so than the other side took it, a crime worse than being simply bad.

Flames opened scoring early when Toni Lydman flipped a simple wrist shot from the slot that handcuffed Phoenix starter Sean Burke at 2:14.

Bob Boughner bumped the Flames into a 2-0 lead when Craig Conroy squirted the puck loose on the boards and hit Boughner with a nifty pass in the slot. From their Boughner beat Burke with a point blank wrist shot at 14:25.

Lydman padded the Flames unusual offensive outbreak with his second of the game when Burke caught only a glimpse of yet another wrist shot from the point at 17:34 with Rob Niedermayer providing a perfect screen in front.

Phoenix began their long comeback when Claude Lemieux deflected a Dani Markov point shot past Calgary netminder Roman Turek at 17:34.

Seconds later, Regehr bobbled the puck and Handzus brought the Coyotes within one while the Flames visibly sagged.

Lemieux pounded Flames newcomer Petr Buzek in the corner, squirting the puck to a charging Shane Doan who blew a shot past Turek at 6:07 of the second, tying the game 3-3.

The Flames knew it wouldn't be their night when Turek attempted to advance the puck up to Conroy on a Flames powerplay, only to have the puck bounce off the Flame centre straight to Daymond Langkow for an easy goal which gave Phoenix an insurmountable 5-3 edge at 13:19 of the third.

Doan added his second of the night and Coyotes sixth straight goal on a late power play.

Turek faced 29 shots on the night while Burke handled 20 Calgary shots.

Flames were zero for five on the powerplay and have only two goals in their last 49 man advantages. Phoenix had two goals on five power-play chances.

Attendance was 11,921.

Next up is Colorado on Friday.

Box Score


McAmmond Conroy Iginla
Lowry Savard Shantz
Hentunen Niedermayer Clark
Wilm Nichol Petrovicky
Gauthier Lydman
Buzek Boughner
Kravchuk Regehr


1) Claude Lemieux - if he keeps it up he might actually get to work his magic in the playoffs.

 2) Shane Doan - Alberta boy does good with a couple of goals. 

3) Toni Lydman - don't blame this guy. Two goals and a plus two on the night.


It should have been the decisive moment in the game but a total Flames collapse later took the fun out of it. With the Flames up 1-0 Brad May was confronted with a gaping top half of the net but Turek managed to whip a glove in front of his shot. A few minutes later Boughner put the Flames up 2-0 and the Flames seemed to be on their way.


It was an old trick, Brad May sweeping in on Bob Boughner, tossing the puck into the feet of the Flames defenceman then running him over when Boughner was looking down.


"It's nice to see the goals. I always like to see high-scoring games." - Former Flames GM and now Coyote architect Cliff Fletcher on TEAM960. . . . . . . Newly acquired Petr Buzek was teamed with Boughner. . . . . . Iginla was moved onto the Savard/Lowry line to start the third period then later found himself with Wilm as a winger. . . . . . Lowry has no points in 19 games. . . . . Lydman led the Flames with 21:53 in ice time and Regehr only seconds behind at 21:38. Reliable Teppo Numminen led the Coyotes with 24:09 in ice time. . . . . . . Calgary's early season dominance in the faceoff circle is becoming a fading memory as Flame centres were again on the short end of the statistical pile. Rob Niedermayer managed to come in at 50% but Conroy and Wilm were 45% each. Trevor Letowski was 72% for Phoenix . . . . . .Boughner and Dan Focht led their respective teams with six hits each.



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