Flames Best Leafs in Low Scoring thriller
Flames 1 - Leafs 0

D'Arcy McGrath
January 6th, 2006

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As far as true measuring sticks go, the OTHER team from Ontario may not add up to the Ottawa Senators when it comes to seeing where this Calgary chapter stands.

They're not running away with their conference, scoring goals like the Flock of Seagulls were still on the hit parade, and blowing teams out on a nightly basis.

However, they are the Leafs, they are from that city, and they have won six in a row, so last night's little set-to certainly garnered interest.

Neither team disappointed.

In yet another example of how low scoring and highly entertaining can indeed be jammed into the same sentence, the Calgary Flames concluded their five game homestand with a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

 

On The Line

Playing a club from the other conference makes things pretty personal when it comes to what you're playing for. Both teams are in tight races, both teams need all the wins they can muster, but that annoying third point doesn't loom as a threat like most nights this season. For Calgary, a chance to use up their game in hand on both Western Canadian foes by adding some additional distance to their Northwest Division lead.

The Flow

This one just got better and better and then, well better. A tentative start was followed by an entertaining second period, but then a riveting third. The most humorous aspect of the night was the silly nature of the game's only goal; especially considering the larceny brought forward by both the games' goaltenders. A backhander from the point that skipped twice, authored by Robyn Regehr bouncing a puck off of Tony Amonte was the difference.

Three Stars

1 Miikka Kiprusoff.  That's six shut outs on the season, a new franchise record for the club and the season is exactly half over. Can this man put up 12?
2 Ed Belfour. He was likely even better than his counterpart, but allowed the games only goal and because of that he moves down a slot.

3 Jarome Iginla. My third star was either going to go to Iginla, or his linemate Kristian Huselius. Neither player picked up a point, but both were dangerous with their individual play and domination down low.

Big Hit

Not much of a physical contest, but you have to give it to Bryan Marchment for his hit on Jason Allison. Marchment picked up two minutes for knee on knee contact, took the worst of it and left the game. 

Big Save

One of those games where you think you have that save of the game figured out and then the "best" just keeps being "bested". The nod goes to Ed Belfour for stoning Darren McCarty on a one timer just off the corner of the crease with only a handful of minutes to play. Big save in the level of chance he thwarted, but even bigger given the time left on the clock and the closeness of the game.

The Goat

The Leaf defence ... they had a handful all night and just couldn't keep up to the Flames forecheck and team speed. Ken Klee and Stafan Kronwall were particulary slow, and Tomas Kabarle and Aki Berg were too easily pushed off the puck. Welcome to the West boys, I have a feeling you won't enjoy the rest of your trip.

Mr. Clutch

Robyn Regehr. Leads the team in ice time playing some tough minutes against Toronto's best, gets an assist and a plus one on the games' only goal, breaks a skate and gets a new one and doesn't miss the finish. This guy is good.

Odds and Ends

The injury carousel continues. Stephane Yelle, Tony Amonte and Rhett Warrener were all welcomed back to the fold, Byron Ritchie and Marcus Nilson were taken out of the lineup, and you can likely add Bryan Marchment to the list for next game. I wonder if they put a call out to Ritchie Regehr's Omaha flight to turn it around? Even with Roman Hamrlik close you'd think they'd need an extra body. Nice to know the guy can play up here now though. ... Speaking of the returnees, a summary; Yelle played almost 14 minutes, was a +1, and won 50% of his draws. Tony Amonte scored the games only goal, was a +1, and also played 14 minutes. He had two shots on net. Rhett Warrener took to the ice for 20 minutes, and was even with a shot on net. ... Speaking of face offs, was Clarke Wilm that good on the draws when he was in Calgary? Nice to see a nice guy still having a NHL role given the bad teams he played on in Calgary. ... The Flames spread the attack around with five different players hitting the three point mark; Dion Phaneuf, Jordan Leopold, Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius, and Darren McCarty. ... Another unsung guy from last night's game was Andrew Ference, who just simply competes each and every night. His last ditch effort on that Mats Sundin burst of speed likely preserved the win in the third. ... The Flames hottest line, it's fourth, with Jason Wiemer, Chris Simon and Shean Donovan had their ice time reduced to only seven minutes each. ... Yelle and Amonte were inserted into the holes made vacant by Ritchie and Nilson's departure, keeping the other three lines in tact. ... The Flames won 56% of the face offs on the night with only Daymond Langkow under water. ... Not hard to get used to winning is it? Was that not the most quiet 4-1, five game homestand you've ever seen? I sure wish the evolution from bad to good took a while longer. Would have been nice 

to savour.


Next up A Hockey Day in Canada late game in Vancouver with the Canucks.

Lines -

Huselius- Langkow-Iginla

Reinprecht-Lombardi-Kobasew  

Amonte-Yelle-McCarty

Simon-Weimer-Donovan

Marchment-Phaneuf
Leopold-Regehr
Ference-Warrener.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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