Habs Ride Hot First to Victory  

Flames Fail to Answer Sutter's Challenge

January 13th, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

Quite often when a head coach takes over a NHL hockey team he'll bide his time before making many changes, by altering the lines, style of play and "feel" of a new team.

Darryl Sutter? Pretty much the opposite.

When Sutter took the job in Calgary December 28th he basically told the assembles masses as much in saying "I won't waste any time in putting a stamp on this team".

When the Flames were blown out on home ice a few nights ago they found that this new "stamp" can be brutally honest.

"The bottom line," Sutter told the Calgary Herald after the debacle, "is that this group has to learn how to get mentally tougher before they do anything. Anything."

So with the Flames in Montreal, looking to bounce back against the Canadiens, onlookers from Calgary were eagerly expecting a charged up Flames club ... a team ready to take out the vengeance for past mistakes on the hapless, low scoring Habs.

Yeah right.

The Flames were tested and failed.

Challenged and cowered.

Saprykin Drury Clark
Gelinas Conroy Iginla
Niedermayer Yelle Sloan
Berube Nichol Dome
Lydman Regehr
Boughner Gauthier
Montador Leopold

Essentially they gift wrapped a rare home ice win for the Montreal squad by falling down 3-0 in losing a 4-2 decision on Monday night.

The quick ending started when a Jarome Iginla turn over resulted in Roman Turek playing the puck behind his net. Iginla, leaving the zone when he coughed it up, wasn't back on the boards when Turek fired the puck off the dasher and onto Jan Bulis' blade. Bulis wasted no time in wristing the puck into the Flames' empty net.

Five minutes later the Canadiens doubled their lead when rookie Marcel Hossa deflected a powerplay point shot past Turek to make it 2-0. For Hossa, it was his first of two on the night, and fourth in four games since being recalled from Hamilton of the AHL.

Scott Nichol was whistled down for diving four minutes later sending the Canadiens to another powerplay, an opportunity that they cashed in when the $3 million dollar man, Donald Audette, fired home his first goal in 20 games.

From there the game was pretty much academic.

The Flames carried the play in the second period, out shooting the Habs by a margin of 14-7 on the strength of four 2nd period powerplays, but couldn't get the game back to even terms.

Powerplay goals by Stephane Yelle and Martin Gelinas did set up a one goal third period, but the Canadiens salted things away when Hossa completed the scoring on a play that pretty much summarized the Flames evening.

Hossa recovered a rebound from the front of the net, then casually slipped a back hand past Turek while three Flame defenders stood silently by.

The loss marked the third in a row for the Flames who are threatening to turn a good start in January into another slide towards a strong draft position.

If Calgary players were smarting from Sutter's comments on Saturday night, they may be searching for Worker's Compensation after their ear drums get danced on this evening.

The road trip continues in Toronto tomorrow night. 

The game features two teams having to travel to TO after playing and losing this evening.

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Montreal Canadiens 4
Penguins Calgary Flames 2

1) Marc Hossa - Rookie used skill (deflection) and grit (going to the tough areas) to score twice. 

2) Stephane Quintal - Physical force in the Habs zone ... had five shots to lead the team. 

3) Patrick Travers - played over 23 minutes, picked up an assist and was +2 on the night.

Early in the second period Jose Theadore simply stoned Jarome Igilna when last year's scoring champ was set up from behind the net by Craig Conroy.

Not much of a hit fest so we'll give this one to the second period dust up between two pacifists Chris Drury and Richard Zednik. Richard, buddy, next time take off the helmet. 

Recent call up Robert Dome quickly adhered himself to Sutter hockey by failing to get the puck out of his own zone twice on his first shift. He finished the night ahead of only Craig Berube in ice time with 8:16. ... Once again the Flames learned the difference between above average and simply the best as the Canadiens schooled them in the face off circle by a tune of 39-27. Only Craig Conroy and Scott Nichol were able to best their counterparts on greater than 50% of their draws. Yanic Perreault was an amazing 15-1 in the circle.


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