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Home Cooking Sits Right With Flames
Flames 2 Kings 1

D'Arcy McGrath
March 29, 2006

A classic Flame's win?

Is there such a thing? Can one call a low scoring grind out game on home ice featuring only three goals in total a classic?

In the truest sense of the word of course not. In the context of the 2005-06 version of the Calgary Flames? Of course so.

Low scoring. Good goaltending. Accent on the tough stuff. Good penalty killing. Just enough to win.

The Flames applied their season long recipe to a home encounter with the L.A. Kings tonight, and found the mixture much to their liking as the 2-1 victory vaulted them back into first place in the Northwest division, and likely put a spike in a team trying to track them down.

 

On The Line

The chance to keep a season long string of never losing three in a row in regulation time, a consistency bragging right that they share with only the Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes. Oh and maybe some breathing room in the west and a chance to regain first spot in the Western Conference.

The Flow

Much better than a 2-1 game would suggest. Big hits, a good tussle, some amazing saves, some blocked shots and some good line rushes highlighted a typical yet entertaining home effort from the Flames in this one. Once again, a team with a little more finish would have likely coasted to an easy victory instead of grinding out a tight one goal win.

Three Stars

1 Jarome Iginla   Challenged by media and many a fan to step up in crunch time, his one timer short handed game winner was a thing of beauty. Made the most of a night where his linemates Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow were not at their best..


2 Jason Labarbera.  Solid through forty minutes to keep this one close. For not his play this one could have been a four goal game heading to the third.


3 Dion Phaneuf.  Picked up an assist on the night, but it wasn't the score sheet that has this guy in my top three. His four big league body checks including two on King super pest Sean Avery were every bit as much a reason for a Calgary momentum shift as Chris Simon's key first period fight (my fourth star if there was such a thing).


Big Hit

Tough night to isolate one. Yikes. The Flames were really taking the body in this one. Iginla on Avery, Phaneuf on Avery twice, Phaneuf on Tom Kostopoulos, Robyn Regher on Eric Belanger were all big league hits deserving of game "Big Hit" honours. However, Phaneuf's train wreck on ex-Flame Jeff Cowan in the first period was a game turner. Huge demolition.

Big Save

Although Miikka Kiprusoff was solid, Dan Labarbera's first period glove snag on Stephane Yelle in tight was about as huge as they come. Without that save the Flames exit the first up two and have a waltz to the finish.

The Goat

Hard to hammer those Calgary special teams anymore since they've galloped up the list to be in the top half of the league in both categories, but man that powerplay struggled tonight. The PK unit came up huge, but a little controlled pressure and maybe a goal from the advantage group would have gone a long way in avoiding another squeaker in the third period.

Mr. Clutch

Jamie Lundmark. Not mentioned as of yet in this game story, but the newcomer was huge in only his second home start with the club. The guy scored the game winner, his second goal in the last two starts, and was key in the face off circle leading to his marker. Sadly he took a high stick and left the game with an as yet to be determined injury. With Marcus Nilson on the sidelines, one can only hope it's not serious.

Odds and Ends

After some "human" efforts on the road, Dion Phaneuf bounced back to play a very solid game tonight. Four monster hits, a great rushing the puck game, and a real bounce back for the rookie that has only played like a rookie in a handful of games this season. His robust return coupled with his partner, Roman Hamrlik's return to game form has things looking up considerably. .... Funny how a win can spruce things up. A Flame's win tonight puts the club back in a tie for first in the Northwest with a game in hand on the Avalanche, and a six point bulge on the San Jose Sharks, the current 9th place club. If 96 points is the threshold to enter the playoffs, the Flames only need to secure four wins in their last 10 games to advance. A betting man would suggest six wins in 10 will sew up the division. ... The Vancouver Canucks are heading for overtime with the Minnesota Wild meaning at least one point and perhaps two to keep pace with the Flames. ... Anyone notice Chris Simon falling backwards on the bench when a King fired the puck into the Flames player box in the third period? He was helped up by Jim Playfair. Speaking of Simon, hard to measure the impact of that 1st period bout with George Parros. The first punch he tossed pretty much ended the thing and had the entire Flames bench on their feet. On top of his game, nobody in the NHL has his combination of hands with and without the puck. ... Next up the Flames have a very key game with the Avalanche at the Dome. Win that one and they likely have a fairly easy road home.


Next up Friday night first place showdown at the Saddledome with the Avalanche.

Lines -

Huselius - Langkow - Iginla

Amonte - Yelle - Donovan

Nilson - Lundmark - Kobasew

Simon - Ritchie - Lombardi

Regehr - Leopold
Ference - Marchment
Phaneuf-Hamrlik

 

 

 

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