Flames Square Trip

Goal Slump Ends On The Back of Iginla, Plumbers

December 23rd, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

AP Photo

Zing: Jarome Iginla gets back on the board in the first period, snapping the club's most recent goal slump.

You had to know it wouldn't be pretty.

The Flames ushered in a relative offensive explosion as the club reaches the Christmas break, scoring three ... yep count 'em three goals to beat the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3 to 2.

The goal outburst came from one expected hockey stick, that of Jarome Iginla, who scored his first goal in three games since returning from a myriad of injuries that sidelined the winger for six games.

They also, however, received two goals from their fourth line, when Blake Sloan and Craig Berube used yeomen work in the slot to put the team out of reach.

The win gave the Flames a .500 record on the nine day, five game road trip, winning twice, losing twice and tying a game in Vancouver.

Ordinarily a .500 trip prior to Christmas would be something to cheer about, a .500 record is admirable on any swing, let alone during a distracting time in the schedule.

However, the two losses came in ugly fashion, back to back with the team unable to hit the score sheet, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those watching from afar. Add in the the club's standing in the West, and it simply wasn't good enough, especially after such a strong start; a tie in Vancouver and a win in Nashville.

The Flames carried the play to Minnesota in the first, exiting the frame with an 11-3 margin in shots and a goal by befuddled sniper Iginla. Jordan Leopold directed a point shot through traffic that Iginla managed to tip past Dwayne Roloson.

The Wild tired the score shorthanded in the second period on a goal that can only be described as a complete collapse in front of goalie Roman Turek. Initially Turek appeared to have saved the day when he stuck out his pad and robbed Richard Park in close. However the puck slid past two Flame defenders to Park who promptly slid the puck into the cage to notch the score.

The Flames did bounce back in this one, however.

Five minutes after Park's goal Blake Sloan led a one minute onslaught by the fourth line, a run that left the Flames up two by the end of the period.

First Sloan picked up his own rebound, and hammered away before finally sliding the puck past Roloson in a goal mouth scramble.

Less than a minute later a deft round the net play by Toni Lydman resulted in a well set up Craig Berube for his first of the season. The goal ended up as the game winner, and was somewhat of a milestone goal for Craig Berube, his 60th of his career. (a little late but #60 was a suggested Christmas present by Calgarypuck writer Rick Charlton in his Christmas article)

The Wild made it close in the third when Marion Gaborik pounced on a rebound with five minutes left in the period, making the score 3-2.

The Flames held on late despite a late penalty to Chris Clark, and a waived off empty net goal to escape with a victory.

For Flames fans the win can give something positive to dwell on as the gift wrap flies in two days, but does little to the Western standings.

The team still sits 14th in the conference with a 10-17-5-3 record and 28 points in 35 games. They are a full 10 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot.

Merry Christmas ... hey it beats coal in the stocking. Or does it?




Calgary Flames 3
Penguins Minnesota Wild 2

Saprykin Drury Clark
Gelinas Johansson Iginla
Wright Yelle Kohn
Berube Begin Sloan
Lydman Regehr
Boughner Gauthier
Leopold Montador

1) Craig Berube - Seldom used veteran policeman fought and lost early, but scored the game winner. "It's about getting your face dirty, getting in there", Berube told Sportsnet after the game. 

2) Jordan Leopold - Young defenceman drew back into the lineup in front his disciples and was key on the team's first goal. 

3) Chris Drury - No goals, no points, but seven shots and a fireplug show on the ice all night.

Roman Turek kicks out his pad to rob Richard Park only to have his defence fail him and Park score anyway seconds later.

Steve Begin, with his club up one late in the game gets in deep on the Wild defence and pinning giant Dman Matt Johnson.

The loss gives the Wild three straight set backs for the first time this season, signaling a potential fall for the club in the standings. ... The Flames out shot the Wild by a 27 to 16 margin. ... The Flames now have five straight games at the Dome commencing on the 27th against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The team simply must make some huge strides to catch up on this stand or pretty much write the season off. ... I'm not sure how often Kyle Wanvig drops the mitts, but if marginal scrapper Steve Montador can do that much damage he may want to stay clear of players that do this sort of thing for a living. ... The Flames were beat, yes you read that correctly, beat in the face off circle by a margin of 44 to 35. The bulk of their woes came in the absence of captain and dot killer Craig Conroy.



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