Sutter's Magic Well Runs Dry
2 - Flames 1

Darren Linn
November 25, 2005

When Darryl Sutter took the reins of the Calgary Flames, first as head coach and eventually general manager, he made it a priority to his players that to make the playoffs they must beat the Edmonton Oilers on a regular basis.

Coming into the 13th such meeting following Sutter’s edict, the Flames had followed that theory flawlessly by posting a 9-1-1-1 record over the parts of 3 seasons. On Friday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome the two clubs put it on the line once again as the NW division rivals hooked up for the 3rd time this young NHL season.

The results were something different from the norm of late however, with the Oilers heading home with a shootout win thanks to the stick of Fernando Pisani on the Oilers 4th attempt in the showdown. As a consolation however, the Flames pick up a single point and lose little ground to the rest of the excruciatingly tough NW division.

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On The Line

Winning 10 of their last 11 games has put some lofty expectations on the local team, and they looked to live up to that pressure by setting a club record for wins in a single month, with the current mark of 10 being accomplished a handful of times in years past.

The Flow

For what is seemingly becoming a bit of a bad habit, the Flames came out in the 1st period flatter than day old soda. The Oilers were full marks for playing the majority of the opening frame in the Flames zone however, as they never let up on the struggling home side. It eventually paid off with a nice goal from Radek Dvorak off a beautiful pass from Jarret Stoll. The Flames started to pick it up in the 2nd and really started pressing in the 3rd and into overtime. Without the heroics of raw rookie Mike Morrison in the Oilers net, this one may have been decided in the Flames favor.

Three Stars

1 - Mike Morrison. The 1st year goaltender who was 4th or 5th on the Oilers depth chart coming into the 05-06 season was splendid in his BOA debut. With 27 saves and help from his depleted blueline brigade, the youngster was the difference in tonight's game.
2 - Miikka Kiprusoff. Another strong performance from the Flames goaltender earns him this spot tonight. With 33 saves, many of the spectacular and difficult variety, he held his club in the game and allowed them to come back and tie things up late in the 3rd.
3 - Marcus Nilson. The speedy Swede showed flashes of his 03-04 performance with deft moves and hard work both along the boards and in front of the net, along with a very good defensive effort.

Big Hit

In what was a relatively tame affair considering the two teams involved, there wasn’t a whole lot to choose from. The nod goes to Oiler defenceman Jason Smith who caught Calgary center Craig MacDonald along the boards in mid-ice with his head down. Smith put his shoulder into the Flame pivot, sending him backwards from the direction he had been going.

Big Save

Early in the 2nd period with the Flames scrambling a bit on killing a penalty, Kiprusoff stoned Marty Reasoner twice with his toe and then his pad, to keep the game within reach. Honorable mention to Morrison here as well, who stopped Iginla from about 6 feet away in overtime and preserving the tied score.

The Goat

The Flames forwards as a group. Besides Nilson and Jarome Iginla, the rest of the frontliners were in a word…. indifferent. With an Oiler blueline missing Chris Pronger and using marginal guys like Cory Cross and Igor Ulanov along with rookie Dan Syvret, the Flames forwards should have been making life miserable for the Oilers. Instead they were content to play a perimeter game without much effort for a good chunk of the time. Coaches Sutter, Preston, and Playfair will not be happy with their team after this one.

Mr. Clutch

Miikka Kiprusoff. Again the Flames would have been dead and buried long before the 3rd period if not for the effort of the fabulous Finn. Making highlight reel saves every step of the way, “Kipper” allowed his team to steal a point from their Northern rivals.

Odds and Ends

Chris Pronger was a late scratch for the Oilers with what was reported as a sore/bruised knee. Something Oiler management has to be hoping is a very minor injury that won’t sideline the former Norris winner any longer….. Interesting detail from broadcaster Roger Millions about suddenly struggling Flame winger Chuck Kobasew. According to Darryl Sutter, Kobasew missed yesterdays practice for a “maintenance” day. This suggests that Kobasew is nursing an injury, and with the way he has played recently, would explain A lot. Millions went on to explain that Sutter told him there were 3 guys that probably shouldn’t of dressed for this game because of various ailments. The speculation from this observer are Kobasew, McCarty and Warrener are those three. One has to wonder why they did dress, when able bodies are sitting in popcorn row…..The Oilers showed why they are 1st in the entire NHL in the faceoff circle by going 59% on the dot. Even more impressive on this fact is that Mike Peca who is one of the best in hockey was actually the worst of the Oiler centers on the night going off at 33%. …In what surely has to be a revelation to many a Flames fan, Calgary is actually a very respectable 9th in the league on the dot…..M.A. Bergeron led all skaters in the game with an astounding 30:35 of ice time. How much was Pronger being relied on again?…One also has to wonder why Sutter played the Ritchie/MacDonald combo so little as they showed a lot of jump in the little time they did see the ice….Some nastiness in another game this evening as Tampa was blown out by New Jersey and late in the game Cory Sarich tried to kick a Devils player. I wonder if Colin Campbell will say that “its clear that Sarich isn’t a 2 shift guy and therefore shouldn’t be subject to discipline”? 

Next up – The Flames kick off a 5 game road trip on Tuesday night in Nashville.

Lines -

Kobasew- Reinprecht- Iginla
McCarty- Langkow- Amonte
Simon- Yelle- Donovan
Nilson - Ritchie - MacDonald  






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