Flames White Wash Rangers

Iginla Continues Dominance in MSG    

January 5th, 2004

Faced with an ever widening pothole in their season, the Flames called out the road crew for some repairs.

Jarome Iginla, with only two goals at the Saddledome but 11 on the road and Matthew Lombardi, scoring only once in Calgary but seven times in away rinks, led the way with a combined two goals and two assists as the Flames rolled over the listless and disorganized Rangers 5-0 last night in New York.

Andrew Ference, with only one goal at home, now has three on the road as well, contributing two on the night while adding an assist.

Denis Gauthier, scoring for the first time in 88 games, added the final Calgary goal.

It was a 36 save shutout effort for Jamie McLennan, his second straight 5-0 win on the road and his fourth shutout of the year, the diminutive and little respected Flames netminder now 9-7-1-1 in various lengthy relief performances for Calgary.

Flames won their fifth in a row on the road after two consecutive losses on home ice.

Similar to their 5-0 romp in Boston last month, the Flames were confronted with a big, dumb, slow Rangers team in the first period, their team speed cutting through the disinterested New Yorkers like a hot knife through butter.

The Rangers team defence was either hit with a stupid stick before the game or got the start time wrong since any organized effort to halt the Flames scampering was virtually non-existent, the Calgary crew opening up a 3-0 lead by the time 20 minutes had passed.

Yet again we can see in the NHL that lazy talent can be beaten by a strong, hardworking, counterattack team on most nights in a long, long season.

How did this look to those watching the details? Brian Leetch had seven shots but ended up a minus three. Calgary's Toni Lydman was plus three on the night.

"The last few games at home . . . we got away from some of the basic things we need to do," said Ference on FAN960 after the game. " Tonight we got back to relying on each other and playing as a "group" of guys."

While the Rangers did direct 36 shots at the Flames net and more than a few were quality chances, Calgary's defence was always Johnny-on-the-spot in clearing rebounds, rarely allowing the Blueshirts a second chance.

Ference scored one of the strangest goals of the season, pounding a dump in off the side stanchion only to have it ricochet like a rocket at the Ranger net just as bug-eyed goaltender Mike Dunham left to play it off the backboards.

"Probably the ugliest I've ever scored in my life," said Ference on FAN960 after the game. "I practiced it all morning."

For Dunham and the rest of the Rangers, the former in the New York net as relief for Jussi Markkanen after the Flames racked up an early 3-0 edge, there was nothing left to do on the night but shake their heads.

Iginla opened scoring at 6:48 of the first, ridiculously wide open in the slot after a Rangers turnover at their own blueline, blowing a wrist shot past Markkanen.

Ference added a power play goal on a slow blueline wrister through traffic at 12:50 before Lombardi made it 3-0 at 19:42, lofting a backhand over Markkanen off a brief scramble in front of the Ranger net.

Like the Ference and Lombardi goals, the Gauthier marker at 1:44 of the second was the result of Flames allowed to park themselves in front of Markkanen with nary a scratch of objection from the Rangers, his point shot sailing gracefully straight through to the back of the net.

The victory couldn't have been more timely for Calgary, sinking ever closer to a non-playoff position as their minor funk continued, winners of only one in their last five.

Calgary is now 20-12-3-3 on the season, good for 46 points in sixth place in the NHL's tough Western Conference, a four point edge on Nashville and Los Angeles with a game in hand on each.

Flames are five points up on hot Phoenix, currently occupying the ninth spot in the NHL's Western Conference, also with a game in hand on the Coyotes.

Looking up, Calgary moved to within two points of Colorado for fifth spot.

The win may have been a costly one for the Flames as Stephane Yelle was cut over the left eye after falling into the boards, forcing his removal as a precaution. The early verdict was a three stitch cut but likely nothing too damaging. If he's unable to play against the Islanders Tuesday night, such would be the decrepit state of Calgary's injury reduced roster that centre Steve Reinprecht would likely return to action one game earlier than expected.

Calgary was one for four on the power play while the Rangers were zero for three. The Calgary marker was only the second in the last 54 chances for the Flames.

Calgary directed 27 shots at the tandem of Markkanen and Dunham.

Next up is a trip to Long Island to play the Islanders Tuesday night.





1) Jarome Iginla - A goal and two assists in a dominating performance.

2) Jamie McLennan - big saves in the second period on Anson Carter kept the Rangers flapping their arms in frustration.

3) Matthew Lombardi - In a game where Calgary's speed intimidated the Rangers, he was the fastest Flame of all.

With the Flames up 4-0 but the Rangers pressing, Mark Messier passed cross ice from the far corner to a wide open Anson Carter, the inevitable one-timer halted by a sliding McLennan.

The hit itself was trivial, the implications for the Flames enormous. Anson Carter and Yelle tangling along the boards, the Flames centreman banging his left eye area, cutting himself for three stitches and an early trip to the dressing room. The Flames are already without centremen Reinprecht, Craig Conroy and Blair Betts.

Dan Lacouture had to be helped from the ice after initiating a fight with big Robyn Regehr, getting beat up for his trouble then falling to the ice without his helmet . . . . . Miikka Kiprusoff, injured but still remembered, was named the NHL's Defensive Player Of The Month for the NHL earlier in the day . . . . . How well is it going for the Flames this year? The Ranger victory was the earliest a Flames team had won its twentieth of the season since 1990-91. . . . . Jordan Leopold was on the ice for 22:34 in ice time, consistently leading the Flames in that area. Of note as well is that Jarome Iginla is now regularly logging over 20 minutes a night, 21:59 to be exact in New York. Predictably, Brian Leetch was the the workhorse for the Rangers with 22:41 in ice time. . . . . . Steve Montador is the only Flame now without a goal . . . . . . Montador went toe to toe in a spirited bout with Pascal Rheaume in the first period, the Calgary defenceman/winger getting the decision. . . . . . After another great game in New York, how long do we have to wait for the "Iginla to Manhattan" rumours to resume. Tomorrow's papers? . . . . . . Flames were solidly whipped in the faceoff circle, Iginla winning 60% but Lombardi's 22% bringing the team average down to 33%. . . . . . Rangers had five guys over 60% in the faceoff circle. . . . . Lombardi and Saprykin had four shots each to lead the Flames. . . . . . Leetch had seven shots for the Rangers.

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