Jackets Blank Flames

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December 19th, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

AP Photo

Shut Out II: Flames follow up a 3-0 win with a 3-0 loss.

One step forward, one step back.

Two steps forward, two steps back.

Not a bad plan from the outset of a season  if you're a club that's missed the playoffs for six straight seasons.

Play .500 hockey over the bulk of a hockey campaign, and you just might find that late surge to spring into the playoffs.

It does little however, for a club that took one step forward and 11 steps back in the month of November. Win one, lose one hockey just won't cut the mustard.

The Flames rolled into Columbus on somewhat of a buoyant streak. They had just completed two strong efforts; a tie in Vancouver and a shut out victory in Nashville, and were looking to turn a good road start into a good road trip.

The Blue Jackets had other ideas.

A despicable second period turned a tight game into a Jacket romp as the Columbus entry skated to a 3-0 victory on home ice on Thursday.

The Jackets opened the scoring in the first period when 28 year old Finish rookie Lasse Pirjeta scored his first of two goals on the night, pushing the 7th round pick to four on the season.

In the second the Jackets added two more goals, Tomi Kallio with a weak one from the slot, and Pirjeta on a powerplay to salt things away.

The Jackets enjoyed a 14 to 6 shot margin in the period.

The third period featured a significant boost in play for the Flames, as they out shot the Jackets by a 12-3 margin, but came up empty in the goal department.

The game marked a relatively insignificant return for sputtering star Jarome Iginla. The big winger had three shots on goal, but failed to reach the score sheet.

The loss moves the Flames overall record back to six games under .500 at 9-16-5-3, just three points ahead of the Nashville Predators for the western cellar. 

The club's record in December sits at 3-4-3.

The Flames continued a very common theme this season as once again their special teams were anything but special, coming out on the short end of the head to head battle for 18th time in 33 games this season. The Blue Jackets only scored once on their powerplay, but they did so with only four chances, compared to a Flame group that came up empty on six chances.

Teams like Calgary simply can't win in this league when they give up at least one, and often two goals when the clubs aren't playing five aside.

Add in inconsistent goaltending, and some seriously stalled seasons from the team's best players and it won't require a whole lot of head scratching to understand why the team sits near the bottom of league standings.

Oh ... and they don't have a coach. I wonder how that's going?



Columbus Blue Jackets 3
Calgary Flames 0

Saprykin Drury Iginla
Gelinas Conroy Nichol
Yelle Johansson Clark
Berube Sloan Kohn
Lydman Regehr
Montador Gauthier
Leopold Boughner

1 Lasse Pirjeta - Who? You said it. Unknown Fin scores twice to sink Flames. 

2 Duvie Westcott - Who? I know, I know. Young defenceman assists on both second period goals, and drops the gloves to boot!

3 Steve Begin - Continues to play a solid game on this road trip. Lead team with seven shots on goal ... that's right SEVEN!

Roman Turek gave up three on the night, but he had his share of good stops. In the second period he stoned Andrew Cassels slot offering to keep the score at 1-0 Columbus ... for a time.

The loss moves Al MacNiel's record back to .500, with three wins, three losses and two ties. ...  The game marked the Flames first in Columbus since a little girl was tragically killed by a flying puck. The protective netting around the league is a direct result. ... The Flames have yet to win in Columbus in two seasons. The Jackets have won all five games by a combined score of 19-8. ... The Flames pulled out their usual edge in the face off circle, but on this night by the slimmest of margins, 40-39. Mattias Johansson was the dominant Flame marksman winning eight of his 11 draws. Sean Pronger of the Blue Jackets also won eight of 11.


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