Flames "Core" Jumps on Bolts

Iginla and Drury Lead Flames to Victory

January 2nd, 2002
Rick Charlton

AP Photo

Out of My Way: The Flames had their way with Tampa on Thursday night.

This is the way it would have been in your dreams.

Some big saves on the first few shifts from your starting goaltender and then striking early followed by often with the man advantage, punishing the visitors for transgressions while killing all your own penalties with vigour.

The NHL's number 26th ranked power play belongs to Calgary but it was good enough on this night to put up three goals in the first period, effectively burying the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning and leading the Flames to an eventual 4-1 victory in front of 14,881 witnesses at the Saddledome.

The contest marked a coming out of sorts for Jarome Iginla, obviously getting up to speed after a spate of injuries had limited his effectiveness earlier in the campaign. Iginla scored twice, a power play goal and an empty net marker, bringing his totals to a team-best 11 on the year.

Iginla has scored five times in his last five games while Chris Drury has seen a resurgence in his game since the appointment of new head coach Darryl Sutter, now undefeated in is brief reign with a 2-0-1 record.

Flames are 6-5-3 since terminating former coach Greg Gilbert.

The win leaves the Flames 12-18-6-3 on the year with 33 points. Calgary finally leapfrogged the first of many they will have to hurdle to get back into playoff contention, leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets in their rear view mirror but still looking at a 10 point deficit for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL's Western Conference.

The victory was only the second time in 18 starts the Flames had beaten Tampa starter Nik Khabibulin.

Tampa opened the game all over the Flames, spending the first few shifts largely in the Calgary zone, their quickness overcoming the dragging legs of the still sleeping home side. But an early penalty to Stanislav Neckar at 2:43 opened the floodgates, Martin Gelinas batting in the rebound of a Chris Drury point shot only 16 seconds later.

Stephane Yelle added another power play marker at 6:08, coming from the side of the net to get three swipes at Khabibulin before lifting a backhand over the helpless Tampa netminder.

Calgary completed the first period beat-up on a two man advantage, Iginla taking a Drury pass from the point and wristing a shot through a Tampa defender and under Khabibulin at 18:10.

While the power play was shining the penalty killing units for the Flames had to be equally effective, eventually killing all but one of Tampa's opportunities, the Lightning finally getting on the board at 7:37 of the third when Martin St. Louis's shot barely crawled over the goal line.

Aside from the opening flurry, the night was a relatively uneventful one for Flames starter Roman Turek, facing 26 shots compared to 32 directed at the Tampa net by Calgary.

Defenceman Petr Buzek twice foiled breakaway attempts by Tampa forwards, darting out of nowhere to spoil shots just as the Lightning aggressors were poised to shoot.

The victory was only the fourth home win of the season for the Flames, but the second in three nights for new coach Sutter who had vowed to make the Saddledome a tough place to play.

Next up is Minnesota on Saturday night in Calgary, the last game on this five game homestand.



Calgary Flames 4
Penguins Tampa Bay Lightning 1

Saprykin Drury Clark
Gelinas Conroy Iginla
Begin Yelle Nichol
Berube Begin Sloan
Lydman Regehr
Boughner Gauthier
Montador Buzek

1) Stephane Yelle - A power play was the reward for an inspired game long effort. A key man on the penalty kill as well.

2) Chris Drury - Sometimes the leaders have to be led and this is one Flame clearly happy to see Darryl Sutter directing his efforts from behind the bench.

3) Oleg Saprykin - played with skill and determination and netted two assists as a result.

Pick any one of the four in close encounters Turek had to deal with in the opening minute and a half, keeping his team from caving early.

Brad Lukowich, playing a great game in a losing effort for the Lightning, sent Steve Begin cartwheeling through the air after catching the Flames winger with his head down at the Tampa blueline in the second period.

Get Your Calgarypuck Gear!

Wow, Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley both minus six against the Ottawa Senators last night. . . . . . Former Flames first round draft pick Chris Dingman played an uneventful 8:47 last night . . . . . The Flames defence pairing of Denis Gauthier and Bob Boughner continue to log a ton more ice time than they did under the previous regime, both again over 20 minutes. Toni Lydman led the Flames with 25:34 in ice time while Dan Boyle logged 26:11 for the Lightning . . . . . . Flames were 61% in the faceoff circle, led by Craig Conroy's 64%. Vincent Lecavalier was 46% for Tampa.


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