Zebras and Kiprusoff Steal Show

Wild One In Columbus Results in Perfect Trip

December 19th, 2003
D'Arcy McGrath

Some National Hockey League games have no hook, no underlying story, no definitive moment through the contest that sets it apart from other regular season games.

Then ... there's games like the Calgary / Columbus tilt in Ohio on Friday night as the Flames turned back the Blue Jackets 2-1 and swept their way to an improbable six point road trip despite a slough of injuries.

Saprykin Lombardi Iginla
Gelinas McAmmond Donovan
Green Yelle Kobasew
Oliwa Morgan Clark
Regehr Leopold
Gauthier Montador
Lydman Ference

Through a team wide lack of discipline and an odd night from an officiating crew the Flames went to the penalty box like lemmings off a cliff. 

The Flames had 13 minor penalties through the night, an interesting stat in itself, but made even more intriguing when you learn the fact that the Jackets somehow managed to not score a goal despite all those chances.

The postmortem of this one will likely result in a quiet, behind the scenes review of the referee tandem of Stephane Auger and Jay Sharrers, as the duo called a strange one. The two hockey teams were literally like reluctant back seat passengers in a car with no brakes being driven by two madmen.

For the Flames part the game afforded them a very rare and rewarding opportunity. Often teams will let their game slip resulting in a losing skid that threatens to undo the great work they had done when they were playing their system to a "T". 

The Calgary squad inexplicably won two games in two nights despite letting many of the pillars of their new found success crumble to dust around them.

They are allowing too many shots on goal; 64 in the last two nights, and almost 100 on this road trip.

An optimist, however, would point out the fact that their penalty killing has really come on, from team Achilles Heal to team strength in a matter of a month.

The shot totals may be high, but much like the games in Boston and Philadelphia there were very few rebounds to speak of.

The Flames scored both of their goals in the first period despite getting out shot 20-4 (their usual game total figuere), due to five minor penalties to the Jacket's one.

First a Jordan Leopold point shot was deftly tipped by the battered and bruised Martin Gelinas to open the scoring. The goal was Gelinas' 7th of the season.

Calgary doubled their lead and scored the eventual game winner when Jarome Iginla feathered a perfect pass through a defender to Matthew Lombardi for a short handed goal.

The goal, Lombardi's 7th as well, ended a personal goal slump of 15 games dating back to November 15th in Edmonton.

The Jackets closed the lead to one in the third, but couldn't find the equalizer despite numerous powerplay opportunities.

The win moves the Flames eight games over .500 and gives the club 39 points in 31 games. The club now sits fourth, nope not a misprint 4th in the West, and now 2nd in the Northwest division after passing the Colorado Avalanche. They now trail the Vancouver Canucks by two points with one game in hand.

Next up for the Flames is the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, their last game before the brief Christmas break. The Oilers trail the Flames by nine points and the Flames have one game in hand.





1) Miikka Kiprusoff - Calgarypuck's first star in Philly is back for more in Columbus. Without his efforts on the PK in the first this one comes out differently. 

2) Jarome Iginla - Set up the game winner and looked to have scored the insurance goal but the net was deemed off the moorings. 

3) Rick Nash - Highly skilled sophomore scores his 20th of the season and caused Flame defenders nightmares all night.

When the puck slid through traffic and on to the stick of Jacket forward David Vyborny he had all the time in the world to beat Miikka Kiprusoff but was stoned by a solid pad save. Kiprusoff was great all night in plucking off point shots through traffic and smothering rebounds.

Like every meeting between these clubs this year, the game featured a fight between Jody Shelley and Krzysztof Oliwa. Oliwa put an exclamation point on this one by one punching the heavyweight off his feet.

After the one sided first period the Flames settled down and edged the Jackets on the shot clock by a margin of 17-14. ... The Flames were close in the face off circle once again despite not having three of their top four centers, winning 48% of the draws. ... Dean McAmmond and Matthew Lombardi carried the way in terms of percentage with 56% and 57% respectively. ... Calgary penalty killers were the ice time giants in this one with Jordan Leopold (29:15), Robyn Regehr (28:09), Jarome Iginla (22:41) and Stephane Yelle (20:22) all seeing north of 20 minutes. ... Iginla led the way in shots on goal with three, all in the second period. ... Doug Maclean, much like Marc Crawford in Vancouver, is just one of those guys you have to laugh at on the bench. He gets so vein splitting angry at every call against his team that you wonder how officials could ever take him seriously. He looked like he was going to come over the boards and lynch the officials after an obvious call to Manny Malhotra in the third despite the huge chance advantage his team had enjoyed throughout the game. ... The win puts the Flames on a 90 point pace should they play .500 hockey the rest of the way. The current 9th place team, the Wild, would have to play at a .602 clip to surpass them. But who's counting?

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