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Big Effort In Dallas Comes Up Short
Dallas 3 Flames 2

Darren Linn
March 26, 2006

With the end of a grueling and ill-timed 7 game road trip on their platter this afternoon in Dallas, the Calgary Flames hockey team was going to have to dig very very deep and find another gear in order to come home at .500 for the two weeks. It, simply put, wasn't there for them.

This is a hockey team that has relied almost exclusively on a very concentrated team defense approach and backed up by one of the best goaltenders in the entire league. They kept to that formula one more time when it was permitted by the officiating and during those times, they were very good. However, like a FOX TV special "when officials go bad" would see the infuriating and mind-numbing aspect of the guys in stripes controlling a game, the Flames were unable to compete with the Stars on special teams.

In losing once again to a very good hockey team, the Flames have really put some unnecessary pressure on themselves as they head to friendly confines of the Saddledome for what will be a most nail-biting stretch drive.

On The Line

1st in the division, 3rd in the conference, confidence in themselves, keeping the Avs from passing them......well in a word...everything.

The Flow

Flow? The only flow was the continuous stream of hockey player after hockey player heading to the sin-bin. It was herky-jerky, stop and go then stop again all game. Even though both clubs came out hard in the opening 10 minutes or so, the game itself was abhorrent.

Three Stars

1 Jason Arnott   The oft maligned Dallas pivot is having a terrific year and was a dominating force all game when he wasn't in the penalty box. The winning goal and an assist gives him the honor as head of the class on a Sunday afternoon.

2 Jordon Leopold.   Flames dman scored a textbook PP goal in the 2nd to temporarily tie the game, was second on the club in ice time, and generally a pain for the opposition to play against.

3 Niko Kapanen.  The hardest working player on the Stars and PKer elite was a thorn in Calgary's PP all game...and their were a lot of them. Scoring a SH goal in the 2nd to help the Stars pull away.

Big Hit

In reality, this honor should go to Robyn Regehr for obliterating Stephane Robidas along the boards with a patented "Reggie" finish. However, the biggest hit was unintentional and it was ugly. When Brendan Morrow caught Marcus Nilson coming from behind the Stars net and their legs locked, Nilson's knee did a Gumby impression and looked to this untrained eye like a season ender.

Big Save

Simplest call of the night....Marty Turco absolutely robbed Jamie Lundmark with a glove save in the 1st period while the Flames enjoyed a man advantage. Sprawled on his belly after making a previous stop and with Lundmark looking at a gaping right side of the net, Turco flashed his leather trapper and took a sure goal away from the growing ever more impressive Calgary newcomer.

The Goat

Chris Rooney and Rob Schick. When the two guys wearing stripes are the most noticed people on the ice during an NHL game, there is a huge problem. 24 minor penalties....TWENTY FOUR. Outrageous and unnecessary to say the least.

Mr. Clutch

Marty Turco wasn't tested a whole lot, but he did make the critical saves when called upon, and when he wasn't there to stop them his post was.

Odds and Ends

The seemingly minor acquisition of Jamie Lundmark on deadline day is now looming very very large for the Flames. Never mind he is showing some flair in the offensive zone, the injury to Nilson (and very possibly Stephane Yelle) allows for Calgary to continue to ice 4 natural centers for now. That being said, I would suggest we see a call up from Omaha before the next game. Mr. Nystrom perhaps?.......How many posts/crossbars has Iginla hit this season? 15? 20? It has to be as frustrating for him as it is for Flame nation.......So, who do you cheer for tonight Flames Fans? Edmonton or Colorado? I suggest as hard as it may be to swallow, an Edmonton win in regulation would be the best result for a team that is now feeling the collar tightening........Over half the game was played with one team or the other short-handed, think about that. When you add in the 4 on 4 time, Little more than 1 period was 5 on 5 hockey. That's not good...ever.........Continuing a season long and odd trend, the Flames smoked their opponents in the faceoff circle going off at 58%, but losing......I can think of at least 7 regulars who are playing hurt or sidelined right now. A tremendous test of the depth this club apparently has.....Uber-rookie Dion Phaneuf led all Flames with over 26 minutes of icetime....Just a suggestion to Mr Sutter from a distant observer, demand your guys take tomorrow off, stay home, get some home cookin, and rest all day. Then a stiff workout Tuesday concentrating on the PP, it is getting a bit much too see this team have difficulty even gaining the zone with it....Byron Ritchie apparently felt the scorn of Coach Sutter by being benched in the 3rd for a dumb misconduct penalty in the 2nd which came after they were down a player in Nilson.

Next up Wednesday night a desperate LA Kings club comes calling to the 'Dome

Lines -

Huselius - Langkow - Iginla

Amonte - Yelle - Donovan

Nilson - Lombardi - Kobasew

Simon - Ritchie - Lombardi

Regehr - Leopold
Ference - Marchment




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