Flames Out In Barn Burner
5 - Flames 4
December 19, 2005
there be a seven game playoff series this spring between the two Alberta teams.
I don't care if it's first versus eighth, fourth versus fifth, or who has home
ice, but the province desperately needs to see games that really matter between
these two hockey clubs.
pre-Christmas boisterous crowd in Edmonton were treated to a whale of a hockey
game tonight, making one wonder if a game could mean more by the pace and
intensity on display at the Rexall Center.
home side eked out a tight 5-4 win with a goal with less than a minute left to
make the Western standings just that little bit more packed.
big four pointer between the division rivals, both in the meat of the playoff
sandwich for the first time in sixteen years.
A win by the Oilers would move the Edmonton squad to even in points with the
Flames, though the Flames would have a game in hand.
physical, intense. Three words pretty much sum the whole thing up. Both teams
finished checks, went to the net hard, and through every thing they had on to
the ice, though the Oilers did hold a territorial edge over the pace of the
– Shawn Horcoff. The
slumping Oiler pivot had two goals, including the game tying goal on a bank shot
in the third period, plus an assist to pace the home side.
2 – Igor Ulanov. I feel
dirty doing it, but the old plodding Russian rearguard scored twice on the
night, and you have to acknowledge it ... I guess.
3 – Kristian Huselius. Better
in the first half than the second, but Huselius paced the Flames with two points
in the first period, including the opening goal - his first as a Flame.
With momentum firmly in the Oiler's back pocket, Ryan Smyth took it up another
notch when he simply melted Jordan Leopold down in the corner in the third
period. Added to the wild Oiler finish.
Jussi Markkanen on the a Lombardi to Kobasew pass was a huge save in the third
period, but the big save on the night was Miikka Kiprusoff diving across the
crease to deny Ales Hemsky on a second period wrap around.
The Flames on a whole didn't have their best defensive effort of the season, but
veteran Rhett Warrener led the way in this dubious category, having a very weak
night. He finished minus 2, was on the ice for four of the Oilers five goals,
and missed Pisani late for the game winner.
I'll give this one to Matthew Lombardi for showing great legs, and zip for a guy
that was on the shelf for more than two months. The Langkow, Huselius, Iginla
line was the big one in the first half of the game, but the second line led by
Lombardi could have won it with their play in the third.
Odds and Ends
Huselius' two point night gives the winger nine points in just six games in
Calgary, paying immediate dividends. With Lombardi back, and Huselius on board,
the Flames actually have two players that can dangle the puck a bit and create
things with their hands. I was pretty sure they already had two with Steve
Reinprecht, but he just hasn't been visible this season, though he scored
tonight. ... The loss was the Flames regulation setback in Edmonton since March
of 2002. ... This game could have been bigger than just the four point swing in
the standings. By scoring four on Miikka Kiprusoff, those pesky Oilers may have
salted away the demons that seemed to be playing with their gray matter in the
three games in Calgary. They solved him with traffic. Great Oiler play? Off
night for Kiprusoff? Or bad crease clearing effort by the blueline? ... Can't
really fault the Oilers play by play crew on the night, fair call of the game
without too much in the way of pom pom waving. ... I thought Iginla was going to
have a monster night when he and Peca had an exchange in the opening minute. ...
Bryan Marchment should have had an assist on the first Calgary goal when he took
the puck off Jani Rita. ... Doesn't that Daymond Langkow strike off the goal
post on the Chris Pronger giveaway loom large now? ... Hands up. How many would
have guessed either of; Calgary scoring four in Edmonton? And losing? ... Is it
me or does the Ethan Moreau that plays for the Oilers now not resemble that guy
that's worn #24 in Edmonton for the past few years. Really playing well. ... I
have never seen a guy as affective killing a penalty without a stick as Darren
McCarty in the second period. Usually I wonder why they just don't leave the
play and get a stick but he actually broke up plays, forced additional passes
and held his lane. ... Anyone that has thought Robyn Regehr to be a lumbering
defenceman before hasn't watched the big guy track a player like Ales Hemsky in
the defensive zone. ... You sure noticed the absence of Stephane Yelle in this
one. The third line, usually Calgary's game controller was completely
ineffective tonight with Steve Reinprecht moving up with Nilson and Darren
McCarty. Nilson, especially, had a very poor night.
Next up – The
Flames return back to the Saddledome to host Craig Conroy and the L.A. Kings on
Huselius- Langkow- Iginla