Langkow Shins Bright In Rookie Showdown
Flames 3 - Penguins 2

Darren Linn
December 3, 2005

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It's been a long time since the Calgary Flames last played an Eastern Conference opponent in a regular season game. 407 days to be exact. That one was against the Ottawa Senators and concluded in a 4-2 victory for the home town Flames.

Rekindling the East-West rivalry, which was awfully good for the Flames last season played, was front and center on this night in Pennsylvania. Well that, and the first face to face meeting of Dion Phaneuf and Sidney Crosby as NHL'ers, as well as the debut of the newest Calgarian Kristian Huselius, acquired yesterday from the stumbling Florida Panthers. Lot's to digest in this Hockey Night in Canada affair.

On The Line

Leaping the idle Vancouver Canucks and securing 1st place in the ultra-competitive North West division. Also a chance to go above .500 on the current 5 game road trip that had many a Flames die hard somewhat worried heading out.

The Flow

In what has to be one of the hardest hitting affairs of the entire NHL season, this one started rough and ended that way. After two straight Penguin penalties to start the game, Marcus Nilson scored what some are claiming to be a phantom goal about half way through the 1st. From that point on, it was trading powerplays with the Pens and trying to hold back an often potent Penguin attack.

Three Stars

1 Kristian Huselius. The newest toy in Darryl Sutters arsenal played immediate dividends less than 24 hours after introducing himself to his new team mates. Assisting on all 3 goals with some crisp accurate passes will ingratiate the newcomer to his fellow Flames and all Flame fans...and in a hurry.
2 Daymond Langkow. The biggest beneficiary of the Huselius magic on this night was the suddenly surging Flame Center. Finding the puck on his stick 3 separate times, in front of the net, thanks to his new line mate...the current pivot on the top line, buried two of his chances 2 minutes apart in the 3rd. This included the game winner.

3 Sidney Crosby. Showing why he was the most coveted prospect sice Eric Lindros, Crosby was the Pens best player by a good margin and scored one of their goals.

Big Hit

There were a plethora of body bruising , jaw-rattling, knee-weakening hits in this game. Im going to give the nod to Flames dman Robyn Regehr who flattened a surprised Crosby along the boards early in the 1st period. Welcome to the NHL Sid, and a special welcome to Calgary Flame hockey.

Big Save

Though both goaltenders turned away many good chances on the night, as evidenced by the shot totals, Im going with Pens youngster Marc Andre Fleury who absolutely robbed Chuck Kobasew on a break away, and who kept his club in the game early. If he doesn't make several key stops, the Flames run and hide from Pittsburgh.

The Goat

The defense pair of Dion Phaneuf and Roman Hamrlik for their Keystone Cop imitation on the Pens second and potentially game changing goal. Both made poor decisions and poor plays within the span of about 2 seconds on a rush that showed absolutely no danger when it started. Hamrlik waves at his man, falls down and misses grabbing his guy, so Phaneuf then goes for a skate towards the puck and an ill-timed venture it was, as it left Ryan Vandenbussche all alone in front for a tap-in. A rare occurence for this duo at any time this season. Honorable mention to a horrific powerplay as well...this must be corrected soon.

Mr. Clutch

Kristian Huselius. This guy single-handedly carried the offense for the club, even though he didn't get a goal himself. Dangerous all night, he showed why so many around the Flames are starting to understand why Sutter is starting to get a label as a good talent evaluator, and even moreso, finding the kind of guys that will work in his system.

Odds and Ends

The last time Calgary won a game in the Mellon Arena, George Bush Sr. was President, the Flames were on their way to a Presidents and Stanley Cup, and Jarome Iginla was 12 years old. According to Harry Neale it was 1989 the last time this club won in Pittsburgh and have gone a a putrid 10-0-2 since that time. Hard to believe with how poor the Pens have been in recent years.... The Flames PP is now a combined 2-26 in thier last 5 games....Ugly......Speaking of Harry Neale, why was he in Pittsburgh on a Saturday night when the opposition wasn't covered in a Maple Leaf? When was the last time Bob and Harry weren't counterparts in the "gondola" when a Leafs game was broadcast on HNIC? Blasphemy. Whats next? Nick and Jessica splitting up?...Pittsburgh was without John LeClair and Ziggy Palffy, and it showed. Absolutely no threat on the PP after the first unit....What has happened to the once highly coveted Sergei Gonchar? The home fans were actually booing him at one point in the 3rd period. Not a good situation for a team struggling for credibility and a new arena to have him sitting there collecting one of the richest UFA contracts signed last summer....Speaking of "what happened to's", where in the hell is the 7 Million dollar man lately? 0 goals in 8 games and counting. Not creating as many opportunities as he was when things were going smoothly during that 9 game winning streak. Paging Jarome, your presence is duly requested...immediately.....Robyn Regehr played a solid all-around game as well. Collecting 2 assists and leading the club in icetime with a pedestrian (for him) 23:42 and hammering anyone he could reach. He really is a special defender......The Flames got smoked in the faceoff cirlce losing 56% of their attempts....Lemieux and Crosby combined for 48 minutes of icetime, with SId the Id leading ALL pens....yikes.....Healthy scratches for the Flames included MacDonald, Weimer and Marchment......The Flames find themselves in the penthouse, for now.


Next up A short jaunt through Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.

Lines -

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

Hamrlik-Phaneuf
Leopold-Regehr
Ference-Warrener

 

 



 

 

 

 

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