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Flames Spoil Sauve's Return
Flames 5 – Coyotes 2

Daniel Lemmon
April 5, 2006

I think most Flames fans were very disappointed at the loss of Phillip Sauve after a disastrous performance in net versus the Colorado Avalanche…wait, what did I just say? Pardon me…I meant that most Flames fans were very excited that the sub-AHL quality goaltender that was backing up the monster performer that is Miikka Kiprusoff was finally gone. The impenetrable brick wall with the lateral movement of… a brick wall…who skates down the ice to fight the other team's goalie. Yes, it was a glorious day when Phillip Sauve left town and tonight Phillip Sauve returned to the roaring Calgary fan base chanting his name….SAUVE….SAUVE….SAUVE…

On The Line

Playoff position (pretty much sealed), winning the division (getting there), the chance to stomp on the already shallow confidence of a former back up goaltender (sweet), and exposing the glorious Wayne Gretzky as the poor coach he is (oh baby!)

The Flow

Let's start by talking about the first period. The first was full of sloppy, sloppy, sloppy play by the Flames. Thankfully there were numerous Phoenix penalties to give the Flames a chance to put the pressure on. Once Dion Phaneuf finally scored (you knew it was coming) the fortress that is Phillip Sauve fell apart and so did the Coyotes team. As the second period started the Flames became increasingly dominant only pausing to allow the Coyotes to take a hooking penalty and a drink of water after scoring on Sauve yet again.

Three Stars

1 – Dion Phaneuf. The Flames uber-rookie set a new team record for most goals by a rookie defenceman on the night shattering the soul of the previous record held by Gary Suter. He was a force, scored, created the game winning goal, and may even have performed a “Triple Dion.”
2 – Daymond Langkow. Two assists on the night and had a beautiful play to create the Flames fifth goal after cordially asking the Phoenix penalty kill if he could proceed to the net un-inhibited to set up another goal…of which he was allowed.
3 – Stephane Yelle. Yelle doesn't score very often, but netting the game winner and adding an assist to boot gives the man they call Sandbox (because he's gritty) third star honours!

Big Hit

To me it looked like what I'm sure Pierre McGuire would call a “Triple Dion.” In the first period after running into one player at the blue-line Phaneuf then knocked over another player and finished his tirade by obliterating a third Coyotes player to instill fear in all those who dare to cross his path …three times.

Big Save

I'll tell you what would have been the biggest save of the night! During the Coyotes five on three situation in the third period, Kiprusoff managed to play badminton with the puck after knocking it out of mid-air as it had been knocked out of mid-air to him…but then Phoenix scored right after that. So the big save comes in the second period with the Flames nursing a one goal lead and Kiprusoff stopping a breakaway play to keep the score in the Flames favour.

The Goat

Memo to Shean Donovan…STOP TAKING LAZY PENALTIES! Both of the Phoenix goals came on penalties to Donovan. Granted the refereeing was once again, something less than desirable, but that was just stupid.

Mr. Clutch

I'd like to give it to Dion Phaneuf…so I will. The magic that is the Flames rookie defender started the leak in the Sauve Dam and blew it wide open with the creation of the game winning goal. Brian Leetch's goal scoring record now fears Dion Phaneuf as much as Jim Dowd's stick, the shattered remains of Dallas Drake's soul, and the rest of Dion Phaneuf's competitors.

Odds and Ends

Just when you think the injuries would stop….out goes Chuck Kobasew with an apparent groin injury in the first period and Jordan Leopold, who just returned from injury, sat out the third period…although I would suspect that Leopold was sat to rest and refrain from aggravating his previous injury as the Flames were well in control of the game by the third period…A big night for the Flames franchise! Not only did Dion Phaneuf break the record for most goals by a rookie defenceman, but Miikka Kiprusoff tied Mike Vernon for the most wins in a season by a Flames goaltender after recording his 39th win of the season, and the Flames won their 999th game in the franchises history…It was a good thing that the Flames understood the weakness of Phillip Sauve, something that myself and my cohorts at the game also identified. The Coyotes goaltender is horrid at moving laterally, and the Flames exploited this at every opportunity. Tony “goal-less wonder” Amonte almost managed to score on one! And for once Flames fans, the Flames did not let a back-up goaltender look like the second coming of Miikka Kiprusoff as they handily blew out the Coyotes. Yes 5 goals is a blow-out as far as I'm concerned.

Next up – The Minnesota Wild visit the Dome on Friday night at 7 PM and you can watch the game watch Roger Million's play by play on Rogers Sportsnet West, or tune into the dulcet tones of the always trusty Peter Maher on the Fan 960.

Lines –

Huselius – Langkow – Iginla
Amonte – Lombardi – Kobasew
Simon - Yelle – Donovan
MacDonald - Ritchie – Loyns

Leopold –Regehr
Phaneuf – Hamrlik
Hulse - Ference




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