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Flames Salvage Sloppy Trip
Flames 4 Wild 1

D'Arcy McGrath
January 14, 2006

One game ... one extremely fine line.

Lose the final stop on a four game junket in Minnesota and you limp home with a four game losing skid and only one point to show for a miserable road trip that featured blow leads in each and every game.

Instead the Flames toppled to the other side of that razor thin line, find their two goal lead much later, and coasting to a big 4-1 win over the division rival Wild on Saturday night. 

On The Line

As mentioned, a great chance to put a halt to an unseemly losing skid and get back on track before returning home to the Saddledome. Add in the fact that the Wild are a division foe, and one that isn't too far from that 8th playoff spot and you have an in or out four pointer.

The Flow

As careful as you'd expect with the style of game both clubs like to employ. A careful first two periods broken open by three Calgary third period goals to set the visitors up with a big win. Overall the teams played a fairly entertaining up and down game that was pretty close by way of chances, and carrying the play.

Three Stars

1 Kristian Huselius.  Quiet for the first three games of the trip, Huselius puts up a goal and two assists to pace the Flames in this one. 

2 Marian Gaborik.  No points, but the best player on the ice, and a heart stopper every time he took off with the puck. A pure talent, at least when he's not holding out.

3 Rhett Warrener. One of the veteran's best games of the season. Almost 24 minutes of ice, and a +3 on the night. 

Big Hit

We'll sway from the conventional body check, not hard to do in a game that didn't feature much in the way of high end body contact, and instead look at a fight. Chris Simon's three straight face shots to rookie giant Derek Boogaard was something to behold in their second period fight.

Big Save

Kiprusoff stoned Gaborik early in the second period when the Wild star broke in alone looking to put the Wild up by two. Instead it was Daymond Langkow that put the visitors back to even with a tally just a minute later on a deflection of a Richie Regehr shot.

The Goat

Special teams again. The Flames could have taken command early in this one with a first period two man advantage for over a minute. They didn't. Instead they took two minors of their own and surrendered the game's first goal shorthanded. They can't keep coming up on the under side of the odd man battles each and every night.

Mr. Clutch

Team defence. Back to Flame normal game style that only surrendered 20 shots against and a win. Hopefully that's a sign that what went wrong in New York stayed in New York. Attention to detail and winning those little battles are as much to Flames hockey as Kiprusoff and Jarome Iginla.
Odds and Ends

Not a flamboyant Iginla performance but you have to hand it to him for back to back games scoring a goal for the first time since just before Christmas. Iginla has now scored only eight goals since mid November. ... The Flames finished the night ouch for six on the powerplay but fared better killing penalties, only giving up the one goal on seven chances. ... Tony Amonte, Rhett Warrener, Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow were all +3 on the night. ... The Flames out hit the Wild by a 2-1 margin (18 to 9). Iginla, Shean Donovan and the embattled Andrew Ference all had three apiece. ... The Flames also bested the Wild in the face off circle taking 55% of the draws. Ironically, team ace Stephane Yelle was under water at only 40%. Mathew Lombardi of all people led the way by winning 75% of his face offs. ... If the Senators hold on to beat the Oilers tonight the Flames will remain two points ahead of both Colorado and Vancouver in the Northwest division, and four points up on the Oilers. Almost more importantly, the Flames have an 11 point lead on the ninth place Phoenix Coyotes. ... After hosting the Habs and Sabres this week, the Flames head out on a five game road trip that will take them to the end of the month of January. Where they sit in the West on February 1st should give a good indication of the season and their eventual finish. At that point they will have only 13 road games, and a total of 30 contests, a good mix of games for the home stretch.

Next up The Flames return home to host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. 

Amonte - Yelle - McCarty
Huselius Langkow Iginla
Reinprecht Lombardi - Kobasew
Simon - Nilson Donovan

Leopold - Regehr
Warrener - Phaneuf
Regehr - Ference








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