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Flames Clinch Despite OT Loss with Comeback In Third
Canucks 3 Flames 2 (OT)

Darren Linn
April 8, 2006

Hey, they are in. If I had asked anyone after the latest road sojourn if they were happy to just know that would happen...what would the consensus be? I thought so.

We all heard it many times the last 22 months or so. Lucky, flukey, undeserved, and finally... Cinderella. Well the truth is that the pumpkin is not going to make an appearance in Calgary this year, no matter what the detractors may want to of believed. In a game that they had no business being any part of, considering the circumstances, the Calgary Flames dug deep and fought their way to a Western Conference playoff berth. No they didn't win the game as they all may have wished, but they persevered against a sloppy start and some questionable officiating to fight back with a stirring 3rd period comeback to garner the franchises first consecutive post-season appearance in 10 long years.

On The Line

Saturday night...second game of a HNIC double-header, chance to clinch a playoff spot, chance to remain 7 points up on Colorado and 6 on the Oilers, a chance for "Kipper" to extend his club setting win total as a goalie. Nope, not much about this game had any meaning...except to the Vancouver Canucks. Lose this one and the Westcoasters could virtually say, "FORE"!!

The Flow

Flow? Hard to describe when the Flames went to the penalty box 6 times in the 1st and the Canucks joined them on 3 occasions. Maybe it's no more than perception, but is it possible to see anything but a special teams battle when playing in Vancouver? The teams actually matched up fairly evenly considering the weighted advantage the Canucks should have carried into this game. In the end though, as it should be, the rested home team was the better skating team when it mattered, though they were unable to score, or really generate much, unless the Flames were skating with only 4 players.

Three Stars

1 – Ed Jovonoski   Playing his first game in a couple months, the highly volatile Nuck dman was an inspiration to his lethargic of late, team mates. Coming back early after the undesirable abdominal surgery, Jovo scored the game winner in OT and was truly a difference maker for a team that needed a shot of adrenalin.

2 – Jarome Iginla.  The Flames leader was all over the ice in this game, but no more so than in his own end and making great defensive plays. Scoring the first goal of the Flames night on a very nifty deflection, Iginla led the charge back of a tired and depleted team, after helping them stay in a position to come back. Truly rounding into playoff form without question.

3 – Alex Auld. Though he wasn't tested all that much in this one, he made a couple dandy saves in the 3rd when his club needed him too the most. As maligned as he has been through the year, the truth is he stepped into a very difficult position and for the most part has helped keep his team at least have a chance, though distant, to make a post season that was all but guaranteed 3 months ago.

Big Hit

There were a few good collisions in this game, at least in comparison to last night’s Minnesota snore fest, including a Bertuzzi whammo on Miikka Kiprusoff. The big hit of the game though goes to Anson Carter who caught Bryan Marchment along the blueline and with his head down, and obliterated the veteran dman.

Big Save

Simplest call of the night....Miikka Kiprusoff did the splits and absolutely stoned Todd Bertuzzi when he had no business to even be close to doing so. The man simply comes up with new ways to amaze of late.

The Goat

A tie....3 ways.

The schedule maker... because there is little justice in having one team playing it's 3rd game in 4 nights after playing the night before at home and then travelling overnight to play in a city who's team had been waiting for 4 days.

Greg Millen....cause he looks like one. Well not really, but he certainly is as interesting as one when babbling non-stop about things no one understands what he is talking about.

Marcus Naslund. Mostly invisible, and certainly ineffective in his teams biggest game of the year so far. Yeah, that is quite the bargain he signed for to stay in Lotusland. Beyond feeding a wide-open Jovo in OT...he was nowhere to be seen and frankly, looked disinterested most of the night.

Mr. Clutch

Ed Jovonoski. Simply put, without him the Nucks are already booking tee times that they can now wait another 4 days to do. He was a difference maker of the biggest kind in a game that Vancouver had to have.

Odds and Ends

I have said it before and will say it yet again. Shean Donovan just isn’t a good enough player to continue to take stupid, nonsensical penalties and continue to get a regular shift. It's maddening when a guy who should be the one drawing penalties on a regular basis, is the one receiving them in the same manner. Shean if you read this piece...please stop. It is going to cost your club badly should it continue as it did again tonight.........Jarko Ruutu will get his just deserts one day, and soon. With a blatant hit from behind early in this game, it just reaffirmed his stature as no more than a marginal 4th line player in the NHL who continues to do dumb things without any retribution from the NHL....Greg Millen is an idiot, enough said........This was not a very good night for the majority of "energy" guys on the Flames. Other than a beautiful backhand off the stick of Byron Ritchie to tie the game, most of them were nowhere to be seen. MacDonald, Simon, Donovan, and company mailed this one in.....Kristian Huselius looked to be benched for the majority of the last 2 periods, which suggests he did something Darryl Sutter declares as unacceptable........Dave Nonis looks like he is not ready for primetime when shown on TV. Doughnuts are in his future one way or another......Anyone else wonder why the CBC is using polar bears in their Stanley Cup ads?.......Dion Phaneuf and Roman Hamrlik both turned in yeoman’s night of work by each going over 26 minutes of ice time...Bryan Marchment, who logged over 15 minutes in this one, is now +9 on the season. That, folks, is depth at a critical position....the battle of the dot was almost split even with the Flames winning 51%.......If there is a bright side to a loss against a bitter rival, it is this. It puts a whole lot of pressure on another bitter rival that wouldn't have been there otherwise. Oilers collars are tightening a little bit after tonight.....

Next up – Tuesday night against a very hot NAaheim Ducks club.

Lines -

Huselius - Langkow - Iginla

Simon - Yelle - Donovan

Lombardi - Lundmark - Amonte

MacDonald - Ritchie - McCarty

Regehr - Ference
Giordano - Marchment




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