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Flames Fall Flat in Denver
Avalanche 7 - Flames 4

D'Arcy McGrath
January 24, 2006

Hey even good teams lay a big fat egg once and a while.

The Calgary Flames ended an impressive four game winning streak by doing just that in Denver on Tuesday night, to the tune of a 7-4 drubbing by the Colorado Avalanche.

Even their past road trip, a journey that began with three straight losses, featured games where the Flames competed, led, and in some cases should have won.

Not tonight however, as the team looked one part tired, and another disinterested in going down to their divisional hosts.


On The Line

A great chance to add even more real estate between themselves and their other Northwest pals. The Canucks had blown one in Columbus, and the Edmonton Oilers were idle. And ... lets face it, every game is simply huge given the surreal log jam in the West.

The Flow

The Flames had a decent first period, surviving a tough start and for the most part taking the play to their hosts. The second period was a different story however as the Avalanche took advantage of numerous misques, and some spotty defensive coverage and goaltending to run up a four goal lead.

Three Stars

1 Joe Sakic. Simply one of the best ... all time. Avalanche leader had two goals and an assist on the night, moving past Guy Lafleur on the all time goals list. Sakic now sits at 561.

2 Chuck Kobasew.  With the way his play has come on of late it was only a matter of time until his goalless streak came to an end. He did so dramatically scoring three on the night to move his season total to 14.
3 Alex Tanguay.  Slick forward fed Sakic twice and scored one of his own as well.

Big Hit

Andrew Ference, while killing a penalty, crunched both Rob Blake and teammate Marcus Nilson almost leading to a wide open Avalanche player and a powerplay goal against.

Big Save

David Aebischer simply stoned Marcus Nilson in the first period when he reached back and got his mitt on a labeled shot that would have tied the game at one a piece. Not a lot in the way of great goaltending from either stopper the rest of the way, however.

The Goat

The Flames had a good start and looked to be heading toward two points until two game variables got firmly in the way. One ... the powerplay. Was just awful through forty minutes with the game on the line and the Avalanche scoring on their chances. The other goat? As mean as it sounds, Phil Sauve simply has to be better. All the goals certainly couldn't be hung on the infrequently seen backup, but he has to stop some tough ones and give his team a chance. He didn't.

Mr. Clutch

Certainly not a Flame in this one given the way this game went down. We'll toss it to Joe Sakic for another great night in a very great career. He was dangerous every time he was on the ice, giving his ex-teammate Phil Sauve fits.

Odds and Ends

The ice in Denver was just brutal, leading to at least Chuck Kobasew's giveaway resulting in a goal, and possibly even Shean Donovan's boo boo. ... Line combinations. Not a great game to praise lines, but the Flames really do have a nice quartet of trios up front right now. Huselius is a good mix with Daymond Langkow, Jarome Iginla looks great with Matthew Lombardi, and I really like Chuck Kobasew with Stephane Yelle and Darren McCarty. Even the fourth line with Chris Simon, Marcus Nilson and Shean Donovan has some punch. ... What was Phil Sauve thinking going down the ice to fight with 30 some seconds left in the game? Just odd in my opinion, there wasn't enough of an incident to warrant such a thing. Like Roger Millions pointed out there must be some history between the two goaltenders. ... Any guesses on how Sutter reacts to this one? He's been a pretty cool customer after losses this season, unlike past seasons. ... Kobasew scored his three goals on only three shots. ... Pretty much an off night for all the Flames best players with the possible exception of Steve Reinprecht who had some zip. ... Ritchie Regehr is a player, probably a full time player as early as next season. 

Next up Back to back games in Chicago, games three and four on a five game trip that wraps up in St. Louis on Monday.

Lines -

Reinprecht-Lombardi- Iginla
McCarty- Yelle- Kobasew
Simon-Nilson- Donovan








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