Flames Finish West Trip In Style 

.500 Record After Crowing Kings

March 18th, 2003
Rick Charlton

Lowry Conroy Iginla
Saprykin Betts Clark
Gelinas Yelle Donovan
Begin Nichol Sloan
Gauthier Boughner
Leopold Regehr
Lydman Ference

He continues to dominate.

Jarome Iginla, with his 34th goal of the year, the 19th time the Flames superstar has scored in the last 20 games, led his Flames to an impressive 4-1 road win at the Staples Centre in LA last night.

Iginla added an assist as well as a late game fight with Kings Steve Avery.

Dave Lowry, with a goal and an assist, and Craig Conroy, with three assists, were also key elements as Calgary's top line slaughtered their King counterparts, dominating throughout.

"It started right away, the first four or five minutes of the game, Dave scored right away on a rebound of mine," said Conroy after the game, citing the effort of the entire team as a major factor in the win. "It was just a good all around night for our team."

The victory brought the Flames into a tie with San Jose in the NHL's Western Conference on the very day that Dean Lombardi, the Sharks GM, was terminated.

If you expected ex-Sharks coach Darryl Sutter, now mentor of the Flames, to be gloating that his ex-boss had taken the fall you would have to think again - Sutter called Lombardi earlier in the day with condolences.

Flames are now 25-33-11-4 with 65 points on the season, still technically in 14th place in the West but now within four points of three teams tied with 69 points.

Calgary's recent hot streak has served to eliminate them from the race for the bottom of the NHL standings and the first pick overall in the NHL's June draft.

With only 10 games remaining, the Flames are five or more points ahead of five other teams in the standings and two ahead of 15th place Columbus in the West.

Calgary is now .500 under Darryl Sutter, no doubt management believing that to be a selling point as the season winds down and the press to sell tickets for next year begins to heat up.

Lowry opened scoring at 7:59 of the first, scooping up a Conroy rebound and bouncing a shot off the post and behind Kings rookie sensation Christobal Huet.

LA tied the game late in the period when Jaroslav Modry retrieved a loose puck in front of Turek and drilled a point blank shot through Flames starter Roman Turek at 16:49.

2003 Draft Watch

If the draft was held today ...

Pick Team Player*
1 Buffalo M.-A. Fleury
2 Atlanta Milan Michalek
3 Carolina Nikolai Zherdev
4 Pittsburgh Nathan Horton
5 Columbus Braydon Coburn
6 Calgary Eric Staal
7 San Jose Andrei Kastsitsyn
*ranking: Red Line 2/26/03

The game was a tightly fought affair from there, both teams with their chances and both Huet and Turek holding their teams close, the only interruption being Iginla skillfully hooking a flying rebound at knee level high into the net at 11:20 of the second.

The game was tilting in the balance until 15:26 of the third when Saint John call-up Blair Betts, taking the place of the injured Chris Drury, hustled through the LA defence to an open puck and passed to a wide open Oleg Saprykin, the latter finding the net behind a startled Huet.

It was left to Jordan Leopold to nimbly step past a shot-blocking LA defenceman and then drill a high drive past a screened Huet at 18:20 of the final period.

Turek wasn't a factor in this game, his detractors believing that to be a good thing, the Flames netminder turning in a workmanlike effort with 26 uneventful saves.

Huet faced 32 Flames shots.

Calgary was one for four on the power play and LA was zero for four.

Next up is Washington on Thursday night as the Flames begin a five game homestand.

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Calgary Flames 4
Los Angeles Kings 1

1 Jarome Iginla - One of the NHL's truly dominant players in the second half of the season, collecting a goal and an assist as well as a fight with a nobody. 

2 Craig Conroy - three assists and playing like a captain. 

3 Dave Lowry - He's not dead yet, revived from minor league purgatory and credited by coach Sutter for reviving the fortunes of Conroy and Iginla in the second half of the season.

Conroy was working for the puck behind the Flames net late in the first period Avery came out of nowhere to send him crashing into the boards and down to the ice.

With the Flames shorthanded midway through the first period, Conroy sprang Iginla lose on a short breakaway, the Flames sniper shooting quickly for rookie Huet's five hole but the young unknown kept the Kings deficit at 1-0, falling sharply to his knees to close the gap.

LA entered the game with ten players unable to play and Maxim Kuznetsov, pencilled into the lineup, had to withdraw with a bruised foot, leaving the Kings further short-handed . . . . .An injured Stephane Yelle managed to suit up but hasn't scored in 28 games. "I'm really happy the way he's playing," said Sutter earlier in the day but said Yelle isn't scoring because he hasn't been going to the net lately. . . . . . . Drury has a groin pull . . . . . .Toni Lydman led the Flames in ice time, 24:23 on the night. Mattias Norstrom led the Kings with 27:45 in ice time . . . . . .Surprisingly, the Flames, one of the best teams in the league in the faceoff circle, were thoroughly whipped with a success rate of only 38%. Derek Armstrong of the Kings was 68% while Yelle was 55% for the Flames. . . . . . Sutter says he there are "two or three guys" on the farm in Saint John who have earned legitimate shots for promotion before the end of the season. "Its important for me (to evaluate them) because I don't know them at all."


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