Flames Large In Vancouver

Roman Turek and Powerplay Lead the Way 

December 9th, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

AP Photo

Have a Seat!: Denis Gauthier takes a rest after planting Trent Klatt into the Canuck's bench.

Go figuere.

You'd have to look back to November 2nd, a 4-4 tie with the Avalanche to see a game in which the Flames struck twice on the powerplay.

So what pray tell was the magic elixir that put the special back in special teams for the Calgary Flames?

Who'd a thunk the main problem with the club's man advantage situations was simply just too much darn talent on the ice?

You got it ... sit down the ailing superstar forward, Jarome Iginla, and presto, your powerplay becomes a reincarnation of the 1979 Canadiens, the 1986 Edmonton Oilers, the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Er ... well at least they got the job done.

Other than the powerplay and an astounding effort by Roman Turek, the Flames were very fortunate to steal two points in Vancouver with a 2-1 victory on Monday night.

They say that bounces even out over a season, but the Calgary squad had better hope that lady luck measures bounces by the game total and not the occurrence, as the Flames likely burned up a season's worth in this one.

The Flames opened the scoring in the first period on an early powerplay opportunity. Chris Clark fed the puck to Oleg Saprykin in the slot who managed to fire a quick, hard shot towards goaltender Petr Skudra. The rebound pounced out to Clark who was also foiled before Mattias Johansson jumped on it to score his 4th of the season.

That lead held until seconds into the second period when Artem Chubarov scored on a wraparound to settle the score.

The Flames went back up to stay three and a half minutes later when Chris Drury had his powerplay point shot redirected by grade school buddy Chris Clark to make the score 2-1.

"I was just trying to get position, I saw the lane cleared up. He had his head down trying to keep the puck in the zone. I called his name, he looked up, and I managed to get a stick on it", said Chris Clark after the game.

From there the Flames tried to batten down the hatches and bottle of the Canucks, essentially hanging on to the lead.

They were successful due in large part to the stellar goaltending of Roman Turek, some good shot blocking by the defence core and, as I eluded to earlier, a fair share of bounces for the road side.

With Jarome Iginla out of the line up the game plan was clearly to play tight defence against a Canuck team that was unstoppable through November, winning 10 in a row.

Part of said game plan would also include getting the Canucks top stars like Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Ed Jovanovski off their games. 

Denis Gauthier did more than his share in this department, especially with Bertuzzi and Jovanovski who both took silly penalties to get at Gauthier.

The Flames return to Calgary to take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, riding a three game unbeaten streak, all in the wake of Greg Gilbert's firing.

"We haven't felt this way in a long time. This what we want to feel like", summed up Clark.



Calgary Flames 2
Vancouver Canucks 1

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

1 Roman Turek - Calgarypuck first star for the third straight game. Turek was especially strong in the second period when the Canucks held a wide margin. 

2 Brendan Morrison - Over 25 minutes, and a thorn in the side of Flame players all night. 

3 Chris Clark - Stepped up in Iginla's absence with two points on the powerplay including the game winner.

Midway through the first period, Denis Gauthier created quite a stir when he pummeled Trent Klatt through the Canucks' bench door and landed on top of him inside the home side's bench. 

Roman Turek simply robbed Brendan Morrison in the first period while the Canucks were on the powerplay. The puck bounced to Morrison off a rebound and as he directed the puck towards the empty cage, Turek brought his glove around and snagged it.

Tell me ... which play is the best sign of NHL toughness? Ed Jovanovski for roughing up a helpless Denis Gauthier as he sat on top of Trent Klatt within the Canucks bench, or Todd Bertuzzi for face washing Gauthier seconds earlier? ... Just wondering. ... One of the longest "hem ins" in my history of watching hockey occurred in the second period when the Canucks managed to keep Calgary in their own zone for almost three minutes. Incredibly the Flames managed to get through it without taking a penalty. ... Who did you play for? Ex-Canuck Ryan Walter made a peculiar statement in the second period just after the Flames scored their second goal to make the score 2-1, "the Flames take the lead her in the 2nd, if only for a little while". Huh? Later he twice told viewers that Roman Turek's nickname is Huge. Right idea Ryan, but it's Large. Not Huge. Not Big. Nut Gargantuan (though that has a Master's Of the Universe sound to it, doesn't it?)   


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