The Flames Come Marching In

Calgary Loves the Sound of Three Points in 2 Nights 

March 14th, 2004

It appears reports of the demise of the Roman Empire were somewhat overstated.

The down trodden and left for dead goaltender, boo'd by the fans a few months ago, and waivered by the club just last week stood Large, shutting out the St. Louis Blues by a score of 3-0.

Ironically the hard charging Blues hadn't lost a game since the Flames marched into Missouri and beat them less than two weeks ago. Luckily for St. Louis the two teams aren't set to meet again this season.

The National Hockey League's trade deadline caused a stir in the hockey world as it does every year in early March with many a big name moving from one local to another.

Lost in the hoopla were some more subtle moves made by the Flames in picking up Chris Simon and Marcus Naslund, to add to the earlier pick up of Ville Nieminen.

A handful of days later it would be hard to argue that any team has achieved more mileage from their new additions than the Flames ... at least so far.

The Flames opened the scoring early, for the second time in two nights and by the same authour, when newcomer Marcus Nilson took a backhand pass from linemate Shean Donovan and one timed his 10th of the season.

A ten goal season may now raise eyebrows for perusers of tomorrow morning's box scores, but the player had only six five days ago when he arrived in Calgary.

The Flames outshot the Blues by a 8-6 margin in the first period despite the Blues enjoying the only powerplay.

St. Louis revved it up a notch in the middle frame, firing 12 shots at Turek and coming close on numerous occasions.

The Flames answered the Blues pressure by adding some mid game insurance when Jordan Leopold made a smart play in setting up Craig Conroy for his 5th of the season.

Leopold picked up the puck on the blueline, saw his shooting angle was closing, but took a step to his right and fired a wrist shot towards the Blue cage. Conroy, in the slot, tipped the puck home.

The Flames didn't exactly sit on their third period lead, but they did tighten things down, forming a wall across the blueline and trying to limit the high budget Blues chances in their efforts to draw closer.

In fact the Blues were only able to muster seven third period shots on their former number one goaltender.

Roman Turek was strong again in the third on the chances he did face, but it was the Flames that zapped any late game drama when Chris Simon collected a loose puck created by Jarome Iginla to score his second in Flame silks into an empty net.

The win gives the Flames 82 points on the season, a mark that is somewhat significant in that in guarantees the team a .500 or better record for the first time since the 1994-95 season. That season, shortened by the 1994 lockout, had the team seven games over .500, a mark this year's edition will have to best if they have any hopes of making the playoffs.

The win gives the Flames an improbable three points out of four in back to back games in two tough buildings against two opponents that would like nothing better than to take a pound of flesh from Calgary.

Don't kid yourself, the bottom line at this time of season is the two points, but the interesting sub plot of a Roman Turek shutout adds a whole new positive wrinkle to the stretch drive.

Rome may not have been built in a day, but with one meaningful night the confidence and short term future of this beleaguered goaltender was built from the ground up.

With very little ground left to cover on the 2003-04 season, the Flames can use all the help they can get.





1) Roman Turek - Surprise starter, surprise winner, and surprise shut ... er ... outer. Solid in defeating his ex mates.

2) Chris Simon - Scored for the second straight game, added an assist and pulled captain Jarome Iginla out of a scrum. Good night's work!

3) Jordan Leopold - Picked up two assists.

Roman Turek may have changed the course of the game when he through out his glove hand and robbed St. Louis defenseman Christian Backman's screened drive from the point. The score was 1-0 at that point, Calgary scored to make it 2-0 a few minutes later.

The ultra confident speedster, Shean Donovan had an assault on the St. Louis zone rudely interrupted when Bryce Salvador stepped into him in the neutral zone and planted him on his hiney.

With Martin Gelinas returning to action, Oleg Saprykin was forced up stairs to munch popcorn and ponder his missed change in Nashville the night before. Oh to have a few healthy bodies. Let the hungered inner battle for ice time begin. ... A summary of the contributions of Calgary's new players? Nieminen ... 10 games, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points, +5. Nilson ... 4 games, 4 goals, 4 points, +3. Simon ... 5 games, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, +2. Not bad Mr. Sutter. ... A good deal of the reason for success tonight was finally limiting the number of powerplay chances against. The Blues went to the man advantage only three times on the night, the Flames only once. ... The Flames continued their face off circle dominance, taking 57% of the draws on the night. Craig Conroy was blistering hot for the second straight night winning 69% of his face offs. Stephane Yelle was uncharacteristically under water. ... Jordan Leopold led all Flame skaters in ice time with 21:57, compared to Robyn Regehr's 21:34. Chris Pronger of the Blues had 23:48. ... The up to date standings show the Flames 10 games over .500 once again and all alone in 6th spot. They trail the 5th place Stars by two points, and lead the Kings and Predators by three points. St. Louis is bounced back into 9th, four points back.

Simon Conroy Iginla 
Neiminen Nilson Donovan 
Gelinas Yelle Clark 
Oliwa Lombardi Kobasew

Gauthier Warrener 
Ference Lydman 
Regehr Leopold


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