Come Off Break Strong
3 - Bruins 0
December 17, 2005
2005-2006 schedule was released last August, there were certain quirks that one
could easily identify. Consecutive games at home and on the road against
division rivals. The obvious lengthy break for the Olympics. The omission of an
all-star game. And a full 7 day rest for the Flames in December in what
otherwise can only be described as a crammed and compact schedule. The glaring
worry about a 7 day rest period is the rust that can build up during that time
with no competition to keep the team playing at full speed. Coming off an OT win
against the Ottawa Senators one week ago, the Flames set out against the new
look Boston Bruins to dispel that theory and use the time off as a motivator to
head into another busy part of the season schedule.
accomplished, though with a possible big price attached.
the Flames have been relaxing and nursing their bumps, bruises, and burn-out,
the rest of the NW division and Western Conference teams have all been busily
adding games to their year to date resume. Many, including Edmonton and
Vancouver, have gained some ground on the idle good guys, so this was a very
important game to reassert their standing as one of the West's best and keep 1st
place in the division well within sight.
Flames came out flying off the hop and proved that rest can be a good thing when
done properly. After causing the Bruins to take a penalty early on because of
tremendous forechecking abilities, Dion Phaneuf let go a seeing eye wrister from
the blueline for a PP marker just 3 minutes into the contest. 111 seconds later,
it was 3-0 Calgary and it was game set and match from that point forward, with
only some Calgary penalty trouble providing any doubt as to the outcome.
– Miikka Kiprusoff. It's
almost getting redundant to see this man as a star of the night. That's a good
thing for Flames fans however. Again tonight, he wasn't necessarily overworked,
but made several tremendous saves and more importantly....timely saves. The look
in his eyes from the drop of the puck suggested a good night was coming as he
was in the zone early on and continued through out the game. He now has a league
leading 5 shutouts on the season.
2 – Dion Phaneuf. The
young blossoming uber star on defense was rock solid against the Bruins on the
night. He scored the game winner, contributed 17 minutes of icetime including
every situation, showed his maturity and discipline, and helped the team get
Mikka another shutout.
3 – Jarome Iginla. No he
didn't hit the scoresheet. He did every thing possible however. Looking a bit
snake-bit to say the least, he hit posts, put pucks an inch past the post, and
created all kinds of chances all night long. It is possible that he deflected
the puck on Phaneuf's goal, but even if he did, his unselfishness would never
allow him to say a word. He really is a terrific leader for many reasons, this
would just be another one.
In the last minute of the 1st period, Flame dman Rhett Warrener caught a Bruin
forward with his head down along the boards and splattered him like a bug on the
I will give this one a tie....both by Kiprusoff. In the first period he made a
pad save on new Bruin Marco Sturm that is one for the ages. Showing exceedingly
great agility and flexibility, he shot his right leg out behind him while moving
the other way. Then he absolutely stoned PJ Axelsson on a clear cut breakaway
late in the 2nd that could of really led the B's to have some momentum heading
into the 3rd period.
Andrew Raycroft didn't have much help early on, but he still gets the dubious
honor here. What happened to this guy? He looked like an all-world goalie when
the last season was played. Now he looks to be fighting the puck when he does
see it, and just plain doesn't see it at other times. Too bad as he really could
of been something special.
Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames PK both get a nod. Kipper for his saves at times
most crucial, and the PK units for throwing a goose egg at the Bruins PP on 5
Odds and Ends
In a bit of a stunner, Wayne
Gretzky relinquished his coaching duties earlier in the evening to leave his
team and tend to his ailing mother back in Ontario. Things must be very serious
for such a drastic move, and well wishes are pouring in from all over the hockey
world for Wayne and his family.....Stephan Yelle scored his first goal in 2
months, short handed, to make the game 3-0. Later on the same penalty kill, he
went down and blocked a shot which had him limping badly as he left the ice. He
never returned and was reportedly seen with a very sour look on his face and
walking with a soft cast in the 3rd period. This loss would be a big one for
Calgary if its one of any length.......Kiprusoff now has 2 pts on the season,
putting him tied or ahead of Ritchie, Marchment and Weimer.......It may surprise
some to see that Andrew Ference led all Flames in icetime oin the night with a
staggering (for him) 24+ minutes. This guy is turning into a gem........The
Flames got clobbered in the faceoff circle loosing 59% of them, which is a
reflection of losing Yelle early on......Chris Simon who was a healthy scratch
tonight should take note. When Phaneuf was manhandled a bit by Dan Lacouture in
the 3rd period, Weimer was there to answer him on the next shift and duked out a
draw with the feisty Bruin. He knew it was expected of him and part of his job.
Simon has apparently forgotten that of late......Matthew Lombardi was noticeable
all night for good things. A great sign that his recovery is complete and he is
ready to contribute a little bit more. I fully expect to see him with Iginla at
some point before Christmas.....What are the Leafs gonna do? Up against the cap,
starting to feel the injury bug everyone expected, and the defense, predictably,
is awful. They got smoked for the second time this year by Ottawa who scored 8
on them earlier on as well......A 3 point game in Vancouver between the Oil and
Canucks will take a bit of the joy from tonight's win for the Flames.....
Next up – The
battle of Alberta heats up with the Flames making the trek to Edmonton on Monday
Huselius- Langkow- Iginla