Flames Blown Out in Dallas 

Penalty Trouble Does Them In Early 

March 5th, 2004

Murdered on Murderers Row.

Faced with a schedule loaded with a preponderance of the elite teams in the NHL, the Calgary Flames had acquitted themselves reasonably well the last few weeks although losing, losing, losing, usually by a fairly close margin but losing nonetheless.

The only difference last night was the margin, Calgary showing up for a special teams, penalty filled knife fight armed only with their bare knuckles, surrendering two more power play markers while being blanked with the extra man themselves seven times, the 27th zero in their last 28 opportunities through the last five games, eventually falling 5-1 to the red hot Stars in Dallas.

Calgary has faced only one sub-.500 team in its last eight games, losing five times with a tough road game in Colorado still to come.

This time it was the hottest home team in the NHL, undefeated in 13 straight at American Airlines Centre, the Stars having only modest trouble with the Flames in a chippy, sometimes vicious affair that was blown open in the third period with three Dallas goals in a span of only 4:17.

It was only the fourth time in 66 games this season Calgary had surrendered five or more goals and only the second time in his last 23 starts that Flames starter Miikka Kiprusoff had given up more than two goals in a game.

But that's what happens when you give up 30 plus shots on a consistent basis, even the impressive Kiprusoff bowing under the pressure of a tremendously sloppy third period by the Flames with the Stars given opportunity after opportunity for point blank shots.

There should be little doubt a constant stream of penalties to the box for both teams proving a decisive factor in this contest, Dallas, the sixth ranked power play in the league, scoring twice in nine opportunities while the Flames were zero for seven, Calgary appearing to fatigue in the latter stages of their third game in four nights on the road.

"It's tough on the team," said Shean Donovan after the game on FAN960 of the constant penalty killing. "There's no flow. We have to get back to playing five on five."

Calgary has given up seven power play goals in their last four games, usually a recipe for disaster although the Flames are actually 2-2 in that span.

The loss leaves the Flames 33-26-5-3 on the year, stuck at 74 points and mired in seventh place in the NHL's Western Conference.

Calgary passed on an opportunity to catch Nashville in sixth place, two points ahead and now must cast a wary glance in the rear view mirror at Los Angeles only a point behind in eighth place as well as St. Louis, just five points away in ninth place.

Dallas opened scoring on a two man advantage at 13:16 of the first period on a hard Mike Modano one timer, the Flames digging making their hole a deep one when caught once again with an extra man on the ice, leading the league in that category with 21 infractions.

Pierre Turgeon added to the Dallas lead at 4:51 of the second, again on the power play, this time Kiprusoff stopping the original Modano point shot but Pierre Turgeon scooping the rebound in from the side of the net.

A despondent Flames team got a lift at 11:52 of the second when the improbable Rhett Warrener blew his third of the year through a plainly flummoxed Marty Turco from a range somewhere between the red line and blue line.

From there the Flames seemed to gather steam, gaining an opportunity to tie late in the third period but Donovan stymied on his third penalty shot attempt of the year at 17:30.

"It was a key time for us to score and unfortunately it didn't work," said Donovan, adding he planned to go to his backhand but caught an edge on the rotten Dallas ice, forcing him to fumble a forehand attempt at the last moment. "You can't just blame it on the ice."

From there Jason Arnott, Rob DiMaio and Brendan Morrow scored quick, consecutive goals at 6:52, 10:46 and 11:09 of the final period, the Flames plainly collapsing and going soft at the wrong time in the wrong place.

Calgary does have an opportunity to finish their road trip at .500 with a win in Colorado similar to their 2-0 effort only a week and a half ago in the same location.

Flames were outshot 34-23.

Fifteen to go, eight on the road.





1) Jason Arnott - Doesn't have to be a super hero on a loaded Dallas team, responding with a fine season for the Stars and a dominant presence in this game.

2) Mike Modano - Distracted and distraught earlier in the campaign by off-ice concerns, he appears to be returning to form as one of the NHL's elite two-way forwards

3) Brendan Morrow - Sneaky cheap shot on the Flames captain was agitation at its dirtiest, later scoring the knockout marker. In other words, he was a factor in this game.

With the game 2-1 in favour of Dallas and the Flames pressing late in the second period, Marty Turco spread-eagled himself across the goal crease and stymied Shean Donovan on a penalty shot. Assist to the lousy Dallas ice.

No doubt about this one, Martin Gelinas ending up 180 degrees head over tea kettle and slamming into the ice noggin-first late in the first period after Chuck Kobasew lowbridged him with an assist from a mean spirited Dallas defender. Although Gelinas would finish the period he would later leave with an unspecified injury.

Steve Reinprecht missed his second consecutive game with a recurring injury to his shoulder. . . . . .Krzysztof Oliwa and Steve Montador were the other healthy scratches. The former may have been a little puzzling given a reasonable expectation this would be a physical affair, which it was. One wonders if Morrow would have been sneak-elbowing Flames captain Iginla if Oliwa had been in the lineup. Iginla would eventually fight Steve Ott in the dying minutes of the game, bouncing his frustrations off the head of the agitating Dallas forward. . . . . . Donovan had been successful in two other penalty shot attempts earlier in the year. . . . . . Iginla led the Flames with 21:54 in ice time while Sergei Zubov led the Stars with 24:49. . . . . . Flames were bent over in the faceoff circle like they've rarely been bent over this season, losing 61% of the draws with Niko Kapenen winning 76% of his draws. Stephane Yelle was 50% for Calgary.

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