Edmonton Oilers 3 Calgary Flames 2

Power Outage Costs Flames 

Rick Charlton

December 26th, 2001

Another missed opportunity.

For the second time in three games the Flames jumped out to a significant lead only to have it taken away, ahead 2-0 midway through the second period but ending up on the wrong side of a 3-2 score last night in Edmonton.

The loss dropped the Flames to 16-12-7-2 on the season and left Calgary six points behind the Oilers in the NHL's Northwest Division.

Combined with a Phoenix tie earlier in the night, the Flames are now only four points removed from being out of the playoffs and are winless in their last four games.

Calgary has never beaten Edmonton on Boxing Day, now 4-0-1 on December 26.

The loss wasn't as dramatic or as demoralizing as that suffered last week in Phoenix when the Flames jumped to an early 3-0 lead before being blown away 6-3 by the time the final seconds had ticked away.

In contrast, this was a well-fought and even affair but the difference, as has often been the case lately for Calgary, came down to special teams.

The Flames were given ample opportunity to put the Oilers out of this game early with five straight penalty calls in their favour but in the end it was Edmonton which would tally twice on three power play opportunities while the Flames were only one for seven.

Calgary's power play has managed just three goals in its last 59 chances through 14 games, an abysmal rating of only 5%. In contrast, the opposition has garnered 13 goals in the same time frame.

That, in turn, pretty much sums up the Flames efforts through the last month.

With the game tied 2-2 late in the third Scott Nichol took an interference penalty at 14:53. Only ten seconds later, Eric Brewer pounded a slapper past a screened Calgary starter Roman Turek, putting the Oilers ahead for good at 15:03.

Jarome Iginla opened scoring at 2:52 of the second period. Dean McAmmond corralled the puck behind the Oiler net and spotted a pass through a maze of legs to Craig Conroy 10 feet in the slot. Conroy was stopped on his initial shot but Iginla, cruising in the crease area, was able to lob a backhand past a down and out Salo.

Flames took a 2-0 edge with a rare power play goal at 9:08 when Marc Savard patiently pulled the puck from a scramble in front and backhanded a shot over Salo for only his fifth of the year.

But Calgary allowed the Oilers back within one only 44 seconds later when Rem Murray and Josh Green sprang loose on a two on one after a poor decision by a Flames defenceman at the Edmonton blueline. Green finished off a textbook passing play at 9:52.

The goal is typical of the problems the Flames have been creating for themselves of late, giving the opposition momentum turning chances rather than forcing the other side into earning them.

The Oil completed the comeback after Ron Petrovicky, on a bad penalty for slew footing an Edmonton defenceman, and Clarke Wilm for clipping another Oiler, left Calgary short two men. The Oil, who had worked on their power play for half an hour before their regular practice earlier in the day, whizzed the puck around before finding Mike Comrie with a wide open net at 11:58.

Georges Laraque, the Edmonton monolith, managed to get himself penalized three times by the 9:07 mark of the first period, finally earning a game misconduct with a ridiculous attempt to cripple Denis Gauthier on a vicious hit from behind.

Flames almost opened scoring as the zamboni's were being parked when Savard threw linemate Jeff Shantz in alone on a nifty pass. But Shantz creased the outside of the post.

A minute later Turek had to stop a Jochen Hecht breakaway.

From there the game settled into a fairly even defence oriented contest.

Calgary is 2-10-2 in its last 14 games in Edmonton.

Edmonton outshot the Flames 26-19 on the night.

Attendance was 16,839.


Box Score


McAmmond Conroy  Iginla
Lowry Savard Shantz
Nichol Niedermayer Hentunen
Petrovicky Wilm Begin
Gauthier Boughner
Buzek Regehr
Allison Kravchuk


1 - Eric Brewer - Lived up to his Olympic billing 

2 - Jason Smith - Physically punishing throughout the game. 

3 - Marc Savard - dangerous all night, playing at speed (criticized by the coach for not doing so earlier), setting up plays and scoring on a powerplay.


Midway through the third period in a 2-2 tie, Jukka Hentunen rifled a quick wrist shot from 20 feet in the slot on a Flames power play but Tommy Salo was able to stab a pad out to keep the game deadlocked. Three minutes later his team took the lead.


We're not sure what was going through the head of Georges Laraque in the first period when he gave himself a 20 foot run to cross-check Denis Gauthier from behind. The hit launched the Flames defenceman head first into the boards from about five feet - almost identical to the Alexandre Daigle hit on Gauthier in the QMJHL so many years ago that put the defenceman in the hospital.


Oilers violated an NHL rule by having a practice - an equipment check - on Christmas Day and will likely be disciplined. . . . . . Toni Lydman missed the game with a bad case of the flu, compounded by the continued absence of Derek Morris, still expected to miss another two to four weeks. Surprisingly, but maybe not with Lydman and Morris out, Petr Buzek led the Flames with 23:58 in ice time. Janne Ninimaa led the Oilers with 24:41.. . . . .There were smiles and slaps on the back all around through the holidays and maybe everyone meant it because the opening faceoff at Skyreach saw Marc Savard at the centre ice dot after an earlier and very public demand to be traded. . . . . . . The hit count in this game should be an embarrassment to the NHL, with the Oilers credited with only 10 hits and the Flames nine. The actual count should have been triple that for both teams. Bob Boughner was credited with three while Brewer and Smith had two each. . . . . Todd Marchant dominated the faceoff circle for the Oilers with a 64% win percentage while Clark Wilm was 71% for the Flames. Overall the Oilers were 53% on the night and the Flames 47%. . . . .



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