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Kiprusoff Blanks Ex Mates
Flames 2 Sharks 0

D'Arcy McGrath
March 4, 2006

If the Calgary Flames had a fight song like so many American institutions do, it might go something like the following.

Rock em

Sock em

Roll em

Muck em

Lets go out

And really.......Fight

 

It is quite simply the very description of Calgary Flames hockey. Follow it, and success comes more often than not. Stray from that ideal, and get into trouble. On this night it was the Flames doing what the Flames do best... from start to finish. In one of their most complete games of the 05-06 season, the hometown heroes rewarded yet another sold out Saddledome with a very important 2 points against what should of been one of the more desperate hockey teams in the NHL.

On The Line

It's the NW division. With both Vancouver and Edmonton picking up 2 points a night earlier, and the Canucks pulling into a tie for 1st in the division, this game carried some big time meaning behind it. Win and they are in sole possession of the lead...lose and stay tied while using up one of their 3 games in hand over the Canucks. Also with Colorado losing earlier in the night, a chance to put a bit of breathing room between them as well. Mission Accomplished.

The Flow

From the drop of the puck shortly after 8:00 MST to the final horn, this one was all about tight-checking, finishing checks, and playing very smart defense in their own end. Other than during an extended 5 on 3 in the 1st period, the Flames were nearly flawless in giving up any Shark scoring opportunities. When they did need some help, THAT guy was there to play kitty-bar-the-door. It stayed that way for almost the entire 60 minutes.

Three Stars

1 Miikka Kiprusoff.   The Fabulous Finn was once again absolutely stellar in the Flames net when called upon. The Sharks registered 11 straight shots at one point in the 1st period and "kipper" never looked anything but calm, cool, and collected the whole time. Nothing ever seems to faze this guy, and it appears his choice to skip a trip to Italy was wise, as he is looking improved over the earlier part of the season. Hard to believe but he is getting better.


2 Jarome Iginla.   It's starting to look like the captain truly is starting to find his groove once again. Beyond scoring the insurance marker on a breakaway in the 3rd, he was involved all night and often when he was getting little support, was helping create opportunities.


3 Andrew Ference.  The hardest working player on the Flames in this one. He logged the most time on ice tonight by the proverbial country mile, laid out some clean hits, made the smart plays, threw the puck towards the net and blocked shots. When he plays like this, it really really helps the rest of the defensive core by providing an easier night.


Big Hit

The Phlame Phaneuf phully phlattened phrench born Steve Bernier early in the game and helped set a tone for the night. (Apologies for this early)

Big Save

Not 1, not 2, not even 5, but 8 saves make up this award on the evening. When Darren McCarty took a boneheaded penalty in the 1st putting his team down 2 men for almost a minute and a half, Kiprusoff answered the bell...and showed them the door. With an outstanding display of reflexes and positional goaltending, it was the turning point in the game. After the flurry was over and the teams were even strength, the Sharks looked demoralized.

The Goat

Scott Hannan. With his team down only a goal late in the game, the non offensive dman tried to get fancy with the puck on a pinch in, over handled it and lost it sending Iginla in all alone from inside his own blueline. Just an awful play and an even worse decision to even attempt it. What happened to a guy that 2 seasons ago was among the very best in the game? Honorable mention goes to a horrible Flames PP, which had been a strength of the club recently.

Mr. Clutch

Kiprusoff. I'm out of superlatives to describe. Well except this one...he now holds the Calgary Flames shutout record for a season with 7, and the team still has over 20 games left. A distant second was the Flames PK units, but even then, Kipper is their best penalty killer as well.

Odds and Ends

Calgary Flames head coach and GM Darryl Sutter, surely set many a fans heart into arrhythmia with his pre-game interview with  CBC's Scott Oake. When queried on the upcoming trade deadline and Mr. Sutters plan of action to help the anemic offense, Sutter was short, gruff and to the point. "Chances of a deal are slim and none, and we've made 3 deals already this year to change the dressing room up". It really was a bit comical to watch Oake try and dance around with his follow up questions. Look for at least 2 deals by Thursday.....Kristian Huselius was benched because he hasn't scored recently according to CBC's duo of Greg Millen and Jim Hughson. He was benched because he has the flu according to FAN960 and Rob Kerr. Hmmmm......Speaking of Greg Millen, he may be the only guy in colorman history to claim that pouncing on a still puck in the crease is a "great save because most goalies would just kick it in their own net". Good grief is he bad at times.......Andrew Ference played a mind boggling 27:52 on the night. PP, PK, and ES, he did it all and did it well. At the other end of that scale was rarely played Jason Weimer with just over 5 minutes of icetime....As it usually goes, when the Flames win they lost the faceoff battle garnering only 47% of the draws. When they lead in the dot they often lose. Its a baffling contradiction compared to most clubs.....26 hits on the night credited to Calgary. I counted almost that many in the first 6 shifts.....A good stat? only 4 giveaways on the night. Thats some solid defense and it showed.....And finally some kudos to the men in the stripes. Many a game this season has left people scratching their heads. They were terrific in this one.


Next up Tuesday night March 7, the Flames host the Nashville Predators.

Lines -

Leclerc - Langkow - Iginla

Amonte - Lombardi - McCarty

Nilson - Yelle - Kobasew

Simon - Weimer - Donovan

Regehr - Leopold
Phaneuf - Marchment
Ference-Warrener

 

 

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