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Flames Enter Break With Bulge
Flames 3 - Blues 2 (OT)

Darren Linn
February 10th, 2006

You could see it on all their faces. From head coach Darryl Sutter to, gate-master for the night, Miikka Kiprusoff. Just get through this one with a win, and away we go, literally, to points unknown for the majority of the players and coaching staff. 

Staring at a full 2 weeks of rest and relaxation, and riding a modest 2 game winning streak, the Calgary Flames were determined to win their NHL contest on Friday night and head into the Olympic pause, guaranteed at least a share of 1st place in the very tough North West division and a lofty 16 games over the .500 mark for the year.

Standing in the way were the household names of Jay McClement, Lee Stempniak, Dennis Wideman, Jesse Boulerice, Kevin Dallman, and Mike Glumac. A similar group that took 2 points from the local heroes less than 2 weeks ago, and who came into this game playing their best hockey of the 05-06 season.

As with everything else this hockey club seemingly experiences, it didn't come easy but they got the job done. Enter one young man who took the team on his very broad shoulders and carried them into the lofty heights so rarely seen in the last decade or more. Ladies and gentlemen welcome your Calgary Phlames.

On The Line

The usual. Win and be assured that 1st place in the division is at least partially theirs, or lose and know that depending on other results they could be tied for 7th in the conference. It's that close and makes every single point a critical one as we head into the post season.

The Flow

It was an unusual game in that even the though the Flames were unable to pull away and assert themselves on the scoreboard, they never seemed not in control of what they were doing nor panicky about how the game was being played. With the home team getting their first taste of the Brian Boucher era, one would of thought they would of been more reserved in what they would do, but that wasn't the case. For the most part they free wheeled it (as far as that can be applied to this team) and skated with an enthusiastically young St. Louis team.

Three Stars

1 Dion Phaneuf  What else is left to say about the best rookie defender to hit NHL ice in a very very long time? With 2 goals, 3 hits, 5 shots, and over 18 minutes of icetime, he was simply put, the best player on either team for the evening. Flame fans should truly understand how special the next number of years are going to be and savor them. The kid is the real deal and looks to only become better.

2 Dennis Wideman.  2 months ago I had never really even heard of this guy. After watching him a handful of times, it's become apparent that the Blues unearthed a good one in the 8th round of the 2002 draft. Though the numbers aren't overwhelming, the guy plays a very complete game and can skate like the wind. At least there are a few things to build on in the Blues future, and he is one of them.

3 Brian Boucher. The latest addition to the Flames squad, along with Mike Leclerc, saw his first action with a new club and delivered exactly what the club is looking for. A mostly steady 60 minutes, making the saves when needed, and allowing the team a chance to win when he plays. Welcome to Calgary Brian, and keep it up.

Big Hit

Though not noticed by the St. Louis TV crew and not repeated by the Flame radio guys, late in the 1st period, Robyn Regehr caught Keith Tkachuk along the boards and absolutely rubbed him into oblivion. It seemed to take the big winger out of the game for the most part of the night.

Big Save

Though it wasn't overly difficult, the timing could not of been better. Brian Boucher stopping a Peter Cajanek one-timer late in the 3rd period to help send the game into OT. If that save isn't made, there is a likely meltdown once again on message boards and on call-in shows around Calgary, and a bad taste in the mouth of all Flame players for 3 weeks.

The Goat

No question this one goes to the mostly invisible Jarome Iginla. On the opening Blues goal, the captain was caught playing spectator on the ice and allowed the aforementioned Dennis Wideman an unobstructed path to the net, where the young man roofed a backhander over a bewildered Boucher.

Mr. Clutch

The D-train. Dion Phaneuf has done it time after time all year when called upon and did so again in tonight's game. The OT winner that the club was looking for, poise beyond his 20 years and a calming influence on players 10 years his senior. Anyone think that Nashville or Atlanta would like a do over in that 2003 draft?

Odds and Ends

What a brutal week for the NHL as an entity. With a scandal that seems to grow by the day, encompassing the hockey royalty known as Gretzky, current and past players, management and others, the Olympic break comes at a good time. Let the league PR machine go to work and see if they can stem the tide of bad news.....Interesting choice, in my humble opinion, in seeing Brian Boucher get the nod with a 3 week break coming up. once again Darryl Sutter looks to have made the right choice however.......OK there are a lot of questionable play by play and analysts in NHL TV booths around the league. However, no one, and I mean no one, is as bad as the Blues Bernie "how did I ever get into the hall of fame" Federko. This guy is ill prepared, sees things no one else does, continues to ramble on and on about things no one could possibly care about, and has an irritating voice on top of all that. Case in point tonight? He wondered why Miikka Kiprusoff didn't get the start tonight before heading to Italy to play for team Finland. Ughhh, it's just painful.......Calgary is now 14-8 on the year when giving up the 1st goal of the game according to FSN.....Regehr senior led the team in icetime once again, logging a yeoman effort of 26:30.....Andrew Ference was solid once again and is starting to quiet down his critics....The Flames clobbered the Blues in the faceoff circle by winning 57%......Is anyone happier to see the 3 week break than Darren McCarty and Rhett Warrener? Both guys are just covered with bumps, bruises and soreness.....What has happened to Kristian Huselius? Yikes.....

Next up A 3 week break from NHL action for the spectacle known as the Olympic Games. Enjoy them everyone.

Lines -

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

Regher 2.0-Phaneuf



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