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Canucks Finally Answer “The Alberta Question”
Canucks 4 - Flames 3 (OT)

Daniel Lemmon
January 7, 2006

On Hockey Day In Canada, something that could almost be considered Canada Day here in the true North…strong and free, there is nothing better than being able to watch 12 straight hours of Canadian hockey content. The CBC managed to save the best for last with a highly entertaining hockey game featuring a Northwest division battle.

I feel like I’ve been repeating myself lately. Yes…ANOTHER Northwest division battle. With the Vancouver Canucks, prior to this game, going oh-for-Alberta, at some point, some how, the Canucks had to figure it out. Unfortunately they did against the Calgary Flames, but not without some help from the men in black and white.

On The Line

Pride, continued dominance over the Canucks, continuing the Canuck fan misery that comes with playing a team from Alberta, points in the Northwest, points in the WEST. You name it this game had it, and it was felt by both teams.

The Flow

WILD! That’s all I can say, for much of the game the pace was torrid with chances at both ends of the rink, though the second period saw a distinct angle to the ice directed at the Flames end of things. The third was Calgary’s game until they started to sit back and protect the lead allowing Vancouver to take over, out-skating, out-hitting, and out-playing the Flames to draw even and take the game to overtime.

Three Stars

1 – Sami Salo.  Two goals from the Canucks howitzer elevates Salo to the number one star status on this night. The legitimacy of the eventual game tying goal’s originating circumstances aside, he got his team into the position to win.

2 – Jarome Iginla. Was sparked...Iginla continues to put up better efforts since a large string of games where he was less a leader and more a follower. He might have had the game winner if it hadn’t been for the penalty trouble in the last two minutes of the game.

3 – Todd Bertuzzi. Unfortunately for Flames fans the big forward is coming to life. He was a key part of the Canucks first goal and was causing trouble all night. He drew the penalty in overtime that eventually led to the Canucks game winning goal…Unfortunately

Big Hit

Dion Phaneuf was involved in it and believe it or not, but he was actually on the receiving end of tonight’s big hit. “Handsome” Anson Carter lined up with the Flames hulking uber-rookie and surprisingly Phaneuf took the worst of it getting laid out near the Flames players’ bench.

Big Save

Within the time remaining on Robyn Regehr’s penalty in overtime Miikka Kiprusoff managed an amazing helmet save to preserve the game. This can also be awarded to Kipper for numerous other miracle saves, such as stoning Brendan Morrison on a cross crease play, the same for Anson Carter. Too bad he couldn’t stop them all.

The Goat

Until the two-minute mark of the third period this one was all locked up by Canucks Captain Marcus Naslund for his ill-advised pass to Bryan Allen that Daymond Langkow picked off and fed over to Flames Captain Jarome Iginla for the Flames third goal. But then, in the last two minutes of the game, Kristian Huselius was called for a penalty that would cost the Flames dearly. Huselius was nailed for holding the stick. Now I don’t think this is really all that debatable unless you’re asking a Canuck/Oiler fan looking to rub it in the faces of “disgruntled” Flames fans making excuses for the loss…But the only stick that Huselius was holding was his own, and you’re not going to convince me otherwise. So this one goes to the referees…thanks for that one!

Mr. Clutch

Ignoring the fact that there shouldn’t have been a penalty forcing Robyn Regehr to take another ACTUAL penalty leading to a Canucks five-on-three Sami Salo did what was needed blasting a shot over the shoulder of Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to tie the game with less than a minute remaining. A goal that was eerily reminiscent of Dion Phaneuf in a Flames 4-3 victory in the Pengrowth Saddledome earlier this season.
Odds and Ends

I have to ask this plainly to any Vancouver Canuck fan who can actually tell me a GOOD reason to cheer for Jarko Ruutu. This guy is a disgrace to the game of hockey. He is cheap, he’s dirty, and he never backs up his constant talk. I’ll give him credit for doing his job and getting under the skin of the Flames, but his behaviour is unacceptable as far as I’m concerned. Akin to fan favourite Ville Nieminen, who was just as bad, but at least a funny interview, this kind of play really gets me going. How is it that these guys are allowed to get away with all the rough play after whistles, so many times, is beyond me. I’d ask the league to do something about this, and I would say the same thing for Flames players, but everyone knows that they wouldn’t do anything. I enjoy watching hockey games, not watching a guy who’s so silly he tries things like shaving with Chris Clark’s skate (see game 5 2003-2004 Quarter-finals), my prayers would be answered if players like Ruutu were weeded out of the game. Okay…on to other topics! Does anyone else think that Anson Carter looks like a black hole with that tinted visor of his? It’s like he’s a shadow or something, it’s kind of creepy. Eeehhh…I’ve had enough of talking about the Canucks, so here’s some Flames content. Did you know that this is the first time this season that the Flames have lost a game on CBC? Indeed. They went the entire length of the 2005 section of the season without suffering a single loss on Hockey Night in Canada. One last thing before I finish. I think I may have found a weakness in the Flames armour. When you watch a team match the intensity or up the intensity demanded by the Flames game, they can’t seem to deal with it. I would suggest that the solution to this is Iginla at the top of his game, but watch the next game where the Flames opponent is skating as hard, hitting as much, and forechecking to the same degree as the Flames. This seems to be ones of the only ways to crack the armour...Something the Canucks sadly figured out…But I guess we should have known the only way to beat the Flames is to out-work them…

Next up – Flames head out on an Eastern road trip starting on Long Island to take on the New York Islanders on Tuesday night starting at 5 PM MST. Catch all the action on Rogers Sportsnet West and the Fan 960.

Lines –
Amonte - Yelle - McCarty
Huselius – Langkow – Iginla
Reinprecht – Lombardi - Kobasew
Simon - Nilson – Donovan

Leopold - Regehr v1.0
Warrener - Phaneuf
Ference – Regehr v2.0







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