Calgary’s Freezing But the Flames Burn Bright
Flames 3 - Wings 2

Daniel Lemmon
December 1, 2005

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In what is clearly the toughest division in the NHL a team like the Flames can’t afford to let too many games slip away. Having lost two in a row the need to keep losing streaks to a minimum and maintain a solid foot in the North West Division couldn’t be understated, what a better way to change things than to face a rookie goaltender in Jimmy Howard.

The Red Wings hoped to exact a moment of revenge on their former brethren Darren McCarty who helped sink the Wings the last time these two teams battled. The Red Wings greatest weapon? The NHL’s top ranked power play.

Perhaps the Flames coaching staff convinced the Flames that getting 30 plus shots in a game and only allowing barely 20 is much better when you score. Nifty moves, lots of traffic and skating with speed helped the Flames take an extremely important victory away from the Joe Louis Arena from the top team in the West, despite allowing 2 power play goals. If you look past the first period this was a solid effort by the Flames coming from behind to win it in the third.

On The Line

Quite simply trying to keep pace with the rest of the North West division that has proven to be a dogfight to date has to be the biggest goal for the Flames. With the Edmonton Oilers only two points back of the Flames, the Colorado Avalanche tied with 31 points and a game in hand and the Vancouver Canucks holding a slim lead with 34 points a win goes a long way to keep up with the rest of the pack.

The Flow

Four straight powerplays for the the Red Wings proved the difference in he first period with the deadly Wings special teams potting two goals in four minutes before the end of the first. The Flames returned the favour in the second period getting four straight powerplays cashing in on one and adding another goal completely dominating the second period. The Flames started out strong in the third with Tony Amonte scoring on a breakaway and holding off the Wings attack to finish out the game.

Three Stars

1 – Chuck Kobasew.  The reason the Flames had a chance after going down 2-0 in the first was the play of Chuck Kobasew finishing the night with a goal and an assist.
2 – Daymond Langkow. The much maligned Flames forward, currently drawing the ire of Flames fans, benefited from the hard work of Chuck Kobasew netting a goal and an assist.
3 – Tony Amonte. Mr. Breakaway with the game winning goal on a nifty move on a breakaway at the very start of the third period gets him the third star honours.

Big Hit

Darren McCarty drawing the ire of his former fans after laying a huge hit in the second period wins the one time Red Wing the big hit of the game.

Big Save

Miikka Kipprusoff wins it once again. Holding off the desperation attacks of the Red Wings in the last breaths of the third period giving Flames fans panic attacks as Peter Maher counted down the seconds left is part of tonight's big save. Thought I’d love to give it to Jimmy Howard for stopping Shean Donovan… if he’d shot.

The Goat

The Flames power play once again takes the cake. We all know how important the power play is in the NHL and when you get the gift of lengthy five on three power play time you have to take advantage of it. The Flames squandering of that time cost the Flames the chance to get some breathing room. Honourable mention goes to Shean Donovan for forgetting to shoot while on a penalty shot. This guy couldn’t score from the blue paint with an empty net and not a single other person on the ice.

Mr. Clutch

None other than Chuck Kobasew! If it wasn’t for the spirited effort of the Red Wing wrecking machine he Flames might not have seen the lead all game. Setting up the first and scoring the second goal of the second frame. Honourable mention to Miikka Kiprusoff for holding the fort in the dying seconds of the third to preserve the win.
Odds and Ends

It has been said before, but it appears that Shean Donovan has returned to the player of old… back to the player that couldn’t put the puck in an ocean if he was swimming in it; squandering a glorious chance on a third period power play and forgetting to SHOOT the puck on a late third period penalty shot. Speaking of the Flames power play I’m really wondering what Iginla is doing on the point with Phaneuf on five on threes. I haven’t particularly been a fan of that combination, the only moment of success being the Phaneuf blast past Alex Auld of Vancouver to win in he dying minutes of the third, but the Flames power play could use a lot of tuning.. Chuck Kobasew must have a running bet with Darren McCarty to do his best to help sink the Red Wings. In three games versus the Red Wings Kobasew has scored in all three.. Speaking of scoring, the Flames fired more than 30 shots on goal for the second time in as many games and this time they figured out that you have to shoot AROUND the goaltender.. Kudos to Tony Amonte for listening to Rhett Warrener yell “Don’t pass it to me” as Warrener exited the penalty box.. I love watching a team like Calgary when they play their game, the famous forecheck, getting those garbage goals (because they’re gritty) but once, just once, wouldn’t it be nice to see a blow out. I look at the point totals for other NHL players and I can’t believe that there are so many players with more than 20 assists. Why is it so hard to expect the Flames to come out for a few games and demolish teams? I’ll take wins but just once I’d like it not to be so close in the third… I think I have to take it easier as a Flames fan… these guys give me a heart attack.

Next up – The Calder Bowl: Phaneuf vs. Crosby – Flames and Pens @ 5PM MT on CBC in the Calgary region and the Fan 960.

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







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