Singing the Blues in St. Louis 

Flames Fast Start Ends Just as Quickly

February 17th, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

Drury Conroy Iginla
Niedermayer Yelle Clark
Gelinas Johansson Sloan
Berube Begin Nichol
Gauthier Boughner
Lydman Regehr
Montador Ference

Through the first two thirds of this abysmal 2002-03 season slow starts were pretty much par for the course game in and game out.

So you can forgive many Vancouver Canucks and St. Louis Blues for not coming out of the gates with their "A" games through this Alberta Family Day long weekend.

On Saturday the Flames took the play to the Vancouver Canucks, out shooting their British Columbia visitors to the tune of 17-6 and escaping with a 1-0 first period lead.

On Monday night in Misourri it was pretty much the same thing.

The Flames came out of the gates storming in St. Louis, a matinee game south of the border on President's Day, scoring twice in the game first three and a half minutes.

Jarome Iginla scored on the game's first shot when he beat former teammate Fred Brathwaite from just out side the circle with a wrist shot.

The goal continued a stellar run for the season slumping star, as he collected his seventh goal in his past eight games. Iginla managed nine goals in the first half of the season, but has scored eight through seven games in February.

2003 Draft Watch

If the draft was held today ...

Pick Team Player*
1 Buffalo Nikolai Zherdev
2 Atlanta Marc Andre Fleury
3 Calgary Eric Stall
4 Carolina Nathan Horton
5 Florida Milan Michalek
*ranking: McKeen's 2/13/03

Two minutes later the Flames were back to double their lead, scoring again on a powerplay, with defenceman Toni Lydman doing the honours.

The early two goal lead was interesting in how the rarity was handled.

Good teams, contending teams, playoff teams are often able to shut the door, take less chances and bore the heck out of the enemy fans in salting away a victory. Teams that struggle to play systems consistently just can't, and the Flames predictably failed to force their game on the Blues.

Just over a minute after the Lydman goal the Blues brought the game back to 2-1 when Pavol Demitra notched his 22nd of the season.

Calgary bounced back however, when Blake Sloan beat Brathwaite to restore their two goal lead.

From there it was all St. Louis.

Keith Tkachuk scored with five minutes to go in the first, then again just three minutes into the second to turn a 3-1 Calgary lead into a 3-3 tie.

The bleeding didn't stop there.

Tyson Nash scored the eventual game winner when he tipped in an Al MacInnis slap shot eight minutes later.

Then with 30 seconds to go in the second period, Demitra salted things away with his second of the night on a Blues powerplay.

The two teams failed to hit the scoreboard in the third leaving the final 5-3 St. Louis.

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St. Louis Blues 5
Calgary Flames 3

1) Keith Tkachuk - Scored back to back goals to turn a 3-1 deficit into a St. Louis momentum pumped tie. 

2) Pavol Demitra - Scored twice including a big goal in the first just a minute after the Flames took 2-0 lead. 

3) Jarome Iginla - Continues hot hand by scoring once and adding an assist.

A panel on The Score discussed the Jarome Iginla situation for almost half an hour this afternoon. The general consensus was that the Flames shouldn't move Iginla, but if they chose to, the offers being bandied about in various Eastern papers didn't even come close to the offers needed to get the deal done. ... The Flames out shot the Blues by a 11-10 margin in the first period, but then were out shot 18-9 the rest of the way. ... Calgary was 1-3 on the powerplay, St. Louis 1 for 9. Is Calgary this cheap a team? This clutch a team? The pattern seems to suggest so. ...  The Flames took 52% of the face offs on the night (33 to 30), with Craig Conroy leading the way at 55%. The Flames sit 2nd in the NHL in terms of face off winning percentage, trailing only the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. ... The loss moves the Flames into 28th place in total league standings (one more game played than the 27th place Hurricanes). The last place Buffalo Sabres moved to within five points of the Flames on Saturday when they dropped the Iginla chasing New York Rangers. Buffalo lost to the Atlanta Thrashers this afternoon, a game that moved the Thrashers to within one point of the Flames.
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