Annoying Wild Grind Out Tie

Calgary Owns the Puck But Can't Pierce Trap    

December 29th, 2003
D'Arcy McGrath

Playing the Minnesota Wild is a lot like a visit to the dentist.

You don't look forward to it, but you have to do it at least twice a year, and no matter the outcome you know you'll have a bad taste in your mouth and a splitting head ache.

The Flames escaped this battle with the Wild without any cavities scraping out a 2-2 tie with the streaking Jacques Lemaire coached defensive specialists.

Saprykin McAmmond Iginla
Green Yelle Donovan
Gelinas Lombardi Kobasew
Lowry Betts Clark
Regehr Leopold
Montador Warrener
Lydman Ference

Giving up the first goal against the Wild is usually game over, so a draw in this one is somewhat pleasing though the Calgary squad clearly deserved more in out shooting their visitors by a wide 46-19 margin.

"They get that penalty shot, but that's the kind of team that they are. It is frustrating", Dean McAmmond told Sportsnet after the game.

"After they got that goal they just sat on it, trying to win with that one goal. We talked about, and got a bounce or two."

"There were some things slipping in our game, we did a little soul searching and did a better job tonight.

The first period featured two distinct halves.

The first showing an anything but tired Calgary club taking the play to the visiting Wild and out shooting them 13-5 but coming up empty.

The second half a complete flipside with the Wild taking the play to Calgary and capitalizing when Pascal Dupuis pounced on a Sergei Zholtok rebound to beat Miikka Kiprusoff.

The second period was literally tipped toward the Minnesota end with the home side holding a 14-1 shot margin in the period. The Wild end of the ice was literally slush by the end of the stanza.

The Flames seemingly found a way to come back and break the infamous Wild trap but not by scoring themselves.

Calgary scored two goals in 2:21 of play both off the kneed pads of Wild defenceman Andrei Zyuzin.

First Martin Gelinas wheeled around the net and passed the puck off of Zyuzin and into the Minnesota cage, and then Dave Lowry made a similar play attempting to feed Chuck Kobasew out front.

The third period featured more of the same with the Flames taking it to the Wild to the shot tune of 13-5 but the Wild scored the only goal on a penalty shot.

Richard Park froze Kiprusoff with a forehand to backhand move to tie the game and send 16,279 Saddledome patrons home frustrated.

It wasn't that the goal was cheap, Jordan Leopold did put his hand on the puck in the crease and sweep it out, but to see a team only generate 7 shots for the last 45 minutes of a 65 minute hockey game and still get a point was mind numbing.

The tie is a big one for the Flames however, as the club managed to avoid any of the three games against teams in their division chasing them (they also beat the Oilers twice this week).

They did lose some ground to the Vancouver Canucks who turned back the Colorado Avalanche in Denver tonight.






1) Dwayne Roloson - He was the Wild tonight turning aside 44 of 46 shots in a game that likely should have finished 6-2

2) Dean McAmmond - No goals, no assists but eight shots on goal and a great night in the opposition zone.

3) Oleg Saprykin - For much of the same reason as McAmmond. The duo were great forcing the play on a line with Jarome Iginla.

With the game knotted at two and time ticking down the befuddled Chuck Kobasew found himself alone in front of Roloson but couldn't get the puck over the goaltenders extended pad.

Rhett Warrener turned a routine rub out into an exclamation point when he lifted the towering Christian Brandner off the ice and into the glass.

You just had a feeling that this one would end up a tie when you noticed the Wild's overtime record going into this one (0-0-8), not exactly a team that takes chances. ... The Flames have played more inter-divisional games than any other team in the NHL. ... The club seems to have found a new top line as the new trio of Jarome Iginla, Dean McAmmond and Oleg Saprykin were simply brilliant tonight. The game may have been the best game of Saprykin's career as he finally showed a little patience and poise with the puck finding teammates and getting shots off himself. ... I am now convinced that this "too many men on the ice" phenomenon is more than a coincidence. Me thinks Calgary coach Darryl Sutter is cheating on line changes throughout the game and only getting caught a low percentage of the time. You just know that this would be more of an issue to Sutter to bring up if it wasn't part of the risk he's willing to take to play his system. ... The Flames are now a combined 7-3-1-1 in back to back games this season a huge change from past season (4-2-0 in the first game; 3-1-1-1 in the second). ... Can anyone tell me just how big your television has to be to not be angry when Sportsnet shrinks the tube to shot out of town scores? ... Really struck me at how much the Flames have changed in the past year when I noticed Dave Lowry celebrating his goal with Chuck Kobasew, Matthew Lombarid, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold, all 23 or under. ... The Flames have one more shot to best the franchise record for wins in the month of December. ... Calgary now sits two points up on the Avalanche and in 2nd in the Northwest. With divisional leaders they sit 5th in the West, 6 points up on a playoff spot. ... Calgary's record is now 19-10-3-3 good for 44 points after 35 games. Two seasons ago that hot start had eroded to a 16-11-6-2 record, or 40 points after 35 games.

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