Sputtering Offence; Joseph the Difference
Coyotes 2 - Flames 0 

Kris Fernet
October 17th, 2005

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The Calgary Flames headed into tonight's game on the heels of an impressive 3-0 win vs. the Edmonton Oilers. For the first time in the young season momentum was on the Flames side. A win tonight would go a long way to silencing some of the clubs harsher critics and give the Flames the confidence they so desperately desire.

Not so fast, the Flames powerplay continued to stymie them as they fell to the struggling Phoenix Coyotes to the tune of 2-0.

On The Line

Stringing a couple wins together for the first time is the season was the goal going into the game. Earning a couple points against a Conference rival wouldn't hurt as well. Staying out of the record book as being the first team to lose to the Wayne Gretzky led Coyotes should have been some motivation to put one in the win column.

The Flow

The Flames came out flying in the first period. Six Phoenix penalties in the first period gave Calgary the lion's share of the offensive play. However, the Flames were unable to capitalize and went into the second period goal less for the 6th time in seven games. The momentum favored the Flames again in the second but a hot Curtis Joseph continued to stymie the Flames offense. The third period saw Phoenix fight back and match the Flames' effort. Perhaps a lack of scoring drove the Flames to a sense of complacency.

Three Stars

1 – Curtis Joseph. Recorded his 44th career shut out. Made some spectacular saves especially in the second period. Held a relatively listless Coyotes' team in the game.
2 – Mikka Kiprusoff. Made some equally dazzling saves throughout the game and cannot be faulted on the first Phoenix goal. The second goal that put the game out of reach was sent into an open net.
3 – Stephane Yelle. Went 75% in the face-off circle and saw time on both the penalty kill and power play. A solid game from the veteran Flame.

Big Hit

Tonight the best hit of the game was a different kind of hit. This hit was delivered by Jason Weimer in his first period fight against Sean O'Donnell. A strong right hand from Weimer stopped O'Donnell dead in his tracks. The referees promptly intervened and sent the two to the penalty box.

Big Save

There was plenty of saves to choose from tonight. The honor goes to Joseph for his unreal save on a Sean Donovan one timer just outside the crease. The pass had come from down low on Joseph's blocker side right to Donovan standing wide open in front of the net. The Flames faithful jumped from their seats only to be disappointed by the Cujo save.

The Goat

It may be considered harsh to hang this title on Darren McCarty tonight but his solid elbow on a charging Tyson Nash with just 2:30 remaining in the third period put the Flames on a five minute penalty kill and more or less extinguished any chance the Flames had a tying up the game. This game misconduct is McCarty's second of the season.

Mr. Clutch

Curtis Josef was no question the clutch player of the evening. His outstanding performance gave the Coyotes a chance to stay in the game and eventually pot the game winner at 7:14 of the third period.

Odds and Ends

Matthew Lombardi left the game early in the third period after catching an edge and crashing into the boards. He was on the ice for a couple minutes before finally being helped off the ice with zero pressure on his right leg. The early diagnosis appears to be a sprained right ankle…Steven Reinprecht showed at times what Flames fans have been hoping for all season. He showed patience and confidence on the power plays tonight. His ability to stickhandle in a phone booth was evident on a couple of occasions. Unfortunately the woeful Flames power play (3 for 47 on the season) could not capitalize on any of their opportunities…Rhett Warrener continued his lackluster play even though he was granted the assistant captaincy tonight…Bryan Marchment had a solid game for the Flames. His experience is quite evident on his pinching as the puck comes out of the offensive zone. He was, however, at fault for the penalty shot award to Oleg Saprykin in the third period…On the ensuing penalty shot former Flame Oleg Saprykin elected to shot rather then deke Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff. He fired his shot just inches from the post on the blocker side…Wayne Gretzky was showered with applause when it was announced over the PA that this is his first game in Calgary as coach of the Coyotes…former Flames Denis Gauthier missed his return to the Saddledome with a wrist injury suffered on Saturday night…Paging Jarome Iginla – tonight's game was a perfect opportunity for Iginla to show why he earns the big bucks. Down only a goal in the third period and with the Flames teetering on mailing in an effort Iginla should have been pressing hard and showing the team how to win. Unfortunately that did not happen…In those dying minutes Dion Phaneuf made a rookie mistake that led to the eventually empty net goal. Phaneuf was on the left point and the puck was slowly making its way toward him. Instead of charging the puck and blasting a shot to the net Phaneuf waited for the puck. It was stripped away and his lunging effort was not enough to keep the Coyotes from putting the game out of reach…When all was said and done a hot goalie and a lack of finish in the offensive zone kept the Flames from winning a winnable game.

Next up – At home vs. the Edmonton Oilers – Thursday October, 20th. 7:00 pm. Available on Sportsnet and Fan 960.

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