Should auld acquaintance ...

Flames and Habs Tie the Knot on New Year's Eve

December 31st, 2002
D'Arcy McGrath

AP Photo

Flying Oleg: Oleg Saprykin jumps in the air to avoid a hit from Montreal's Ron Hainsey.

New Year's Eve is known for many things.

You can never find a taxi cab.

You have/get to neck with a gaggle of strange women.

You have to pretend to know the words of Auld Lang Syne when you know, if asked, you couldn't even spell the title.

And on most years ... the Calgary Flames host the Montreal Canadiens.

A decade and a half ago the festive matchup featured two juggernaughts. The upstart Flames from the West, and the defence first, Patrick Roy led Habs from the East.

The best versus the best to roll in a New Year.

These days, well things have changed. Out west the Calgary Flames are going through coaches faster than Badger Bob used to go through note pads or kleenex. 

The Montreal outfit has some similarities - a French Canadian star in the nets, a defence first mentality, to name a few, but generally the Habs get out played most nights and hand on for points.

Glory to sorry? Seems that way.

On this night however, the paying customer got what they came for, in a relatively spirited 1-1 tie to bring in 2003.

The two teams played to a draw in the first period, with Montreal out shooting the Flames by a 11-9 margin.

The second began with a Calgary goal when Chris Clark took a Denis Gauthier pass and went in alone on Theadore, deftly sliding a backhand into the cage for a 1-0 lead.

Ten minutes later the Canadiens tied the score when Richard Zednik got his stick on a Patrice Brisbois flip at the net, tipping the puck past a startled Roman Turek.

That was it for the scoring.

From that point on it was defence first hockey and solid goaltending providing the show for the fans, as the two clubs ground out a draw.

The tie gives new Flames coach, Darryl Sutter a 1-0-1 record in two games with Calgary. It also moves the team's record on this pivotal five game homestand to 1-1-1 with the Tampa Bay Lightening and Minnesota Wild still to come. The Lightning were pounded in Ottawa earlier this evening.

From the Montreal point of view a tie continues their winless skid on this marathon road trip as the Habs now have a 0-2-1-1 record through four of their seven games on this jaunt.

The Flames out shot the Canadiens by a final mark of 31 to 24 including a 15-8 edge through the third period and overtime.

Incredibly, that marks the 17th straight game in which the Habs have been out shot contributing to the fact that Montreal chapter sits last in both shots for and most shots allowed league wide.

The point gained moves the Flames out of a tie with Nashville in the Western Conference cellar and into a tie with Columbus for 13th place.

Montreal remains up two points on Pittsburgh and Carolina for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East. 



Calgary Flames 1
Penguins Montreal Canadians 1

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

1 Jose Theadore - Theadore continues to show last season's touch keeping the Habs in games. Stopped 30 of 31 shots.

2 Roman Turek - Didn't receive as much work, but was solid in a game that was bound to be low scoring

3 Chris Clark - Just when you thought the man didn't have hands ... great highlight reel goal for the homeside.

Midway through the second period Jarome Iginla managed to wiggle his way between two Montreal defenders and get in alone, but was stoned by Theadore on a break.

Get Your Calgarypuck Gear!

The Flames may have only scored one goal, but under Sutter's watch they have only allowed three goals in six periods plus an overtime period - 1.44 goals a game. Now to get them scoring ... Montreal at Calgary on New Year's Eve and no Hockey Night in Canada? Could it be that they turned their backs because TSN had regional rights to the Leaf/Canuck game killing their chances of a double header? ... Montreal out dueled the Flames in the face off circle by a margin of 31-23. Joe Juneau and Yanic Pereault, two pivots that are always near the top of the league in terms of face off percentages were a combined 20-7 on the night. Chris Drury had a particularly tough night for Calgary winning only six of his 18 draws. .... It appears Darryl Sutter has abandoned the "spread it around" mentality followed by Greg Gilbert for dolling out ice time amongst his defencemen. Toni Lydman (26:12) and Robyn Regehr (24:23) saw little change in their allotment, but Denis Gauthier (24:55) and Bob Boughner (24:03) took considerable ice away from Steve Montador (13:48) and Peter Buzek (13:56). ... You know an organization has history when you examine a line up card and see the myriad of football numbers on the Montreal side due to jersey retirements ... 60, 38, 43, 52, 54, 65, 71, 79, 82, 90, 93, 94.
Read other Stories
Talk About it!