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Flames Cool Down Red Hot Ducks
Flames 3 Ducks 0

D'Arcy McGrath
April 11, 2006

So what happened to that Calgary Flames hockey club that locals felt they knew and most of the time adored?

The cardiac kids, the heart break ridge hockey club that never took the easiest path between point A and point B, torturing and tormenting their fan base in the process ...

The Flames picked up two more points in feasting on roast Duck to the tune of 3-0 at the Saddledome on Tuesday night. The deuce gives them a 6-0-2 record, and points in eight straight games making a complete mockery of what was supposed to be a nerve racking finish.

Works for me.


On The Line

Incredibly less than usual when compared to every game story I've had to write since January. They have a playoff spot, they have some breathing room for the division lead, and while they still need a few outcomes, no one particular game at this point classifies as a MUST WIN. Nice change. Not many of these to come in the next (fingers crossed) two to three months.

The Flow

You just had to appreciate the first period, at least if you can, or will yourself to do so. Two teams whirling around the ice at breakneck speed using said speed to make sure the other club doesn't score instead of netting one themselves. Nothing literally happened in the first frame. The second featured some good Duck pressure early, and a good round out for the Flames as they took Chris Simon's marker to the room after two. The third period featured two goals in the first minute of play, a surprise to say the least from a team that can't seem to score at the best of times this season to salt things away.

Three Stars

1 Daymond Langkow  Scored his goal on what he called a set plan just five seconds into the third period on the tail end of a Flames powerplay. Also found Chris Simon for a great one timer set up for the game winner. Added a third point on the Huselius goal.

2 Miikka Kiprusoff.  Much like that home win to Dallas a few weeks ago, Kiprusoff was solid, but didn't have to be brilliant in picking up the shut out. He stopped 35 shots for the goose, but most were kept to the outside giving him a relatively easy night.

3 Rhett Warrener. Quite the comeback game for a guy that missed 17 straight regular season games. Was a warrior on the blueline taking the smash mouth lime light from that rookie guy that sits in the same dressing room.

Big Hit

It only took Rhett Warrener a few shifts to get back into the swing of things after missing over a month of action. The surly defender found a streaking Jeoffrey Lupul with his head down and ideas of going around the veteran only to get stopped abruptly with an open ice hit.

Big Save

Miikka Kiprusoff was a net blocking nightmare for the Duck's Andy McDonald. In the first McDonald hit a Dion Phaneuf skate, but two other times in the game the Duck forward was set up in the slot (by Scott Niedermayer in the first, and Teemu Selanne in the second) only to be foiled on one timer attempts.

The Goat

No goat in this one. Literally none. No passengers from the Flames, and Ducks had a pretty good effort given the fact they played last night and probably downed the odd cold one after clinching a playoff spot.

Mr. Clutch

Rhett Warrener again ... what a presence. Dion Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr get a lot of press for their bruising reputations in the defensive zone, but having #44 back on the ice solidified the third pairing and kept things pretty casual behind the blue. Not to mention what this guy does behind closed doors.

Odds and Ends

For the second straight game Sutter experimented with a shake up to the defencemen patrolling the Flames blueline on the powerplay. Gone from unit two again were Andrew Ference and Robyn Regehr, added were farmhand Mark Giordano and forward Jamie Lundmark. Not much of a chance to show their stuff tonight, but the pair was affective in Vancouver. I wonder how Giordano or Lundmark would fare with Ference however, as he was pretty effective in setting up Phaneuf in Roman Hamrlik's absence. Not my job I guess. ... The Oilers lost in Detroit tonight giving the Canucks a game in hand while still clinging to a two point lead with two home games left. What a mess. Glad the Flames are home and clear for a playoff spot. ... The Flames had a bruising fourth line on display with some new bodies in the lineup. The feisty Byron Ritchie up the guts flanked by Chris Simon and Darren McCarty. Typically that unit scored the team's first goal. ... The Lundmark, Matthew Lombardi, Tony Amonte continued to be the team's best, working the puck down low, moving it well and exploding with speed when the chance arose. Just need a little finish. ... Goal scoring; the Flames had ten game segments in the first thirty games of the season where they averaged 2.2 and 2.4 goals per game. In the first 30 games of the season they averaged only 2.43 goals per game. To put that in perspective, the last place club to this point in the season, the Blues average 2.44 per game. Since game number 30 the Flames have averaged 2.83 goals per game, not lighting it up but closer to the 20th overall spot than the bottom. ... On the defensive side of the puck, a goose egg tonight gives the Flames a 0.04 lead on the Senators for the Jennings Trophy. The Sens gave up three in their win tonight. .... Kristian Huselius' third period goal gave him 20 on the season, the club's fourth player to hit that mark. Dion Phaneuf still seeks 20 for his rookie season. He has three cracks at it. ... Luckily Darrian Hatcher is in that other conference now that Matthew Lombardi is playing the best hockey of his career. He hasn't hit the sheet to the extent where he'll get noticed, but watching the time he takes and the creativity he shows I have a feeling the guy is breaking out. Hopefully next month. ... To the superstitious out there, the Flames close out their season in Anaheim next week. Have a look at the 2003/04 season and you might see a similar finish. ... With Rhett Warrener back we still don't get a chance to see all six defenders together as Jordan Leopold is still out with a groin injury. The team has 79 games in the bank and we've only seen 19 games with all six together. The club is 13-3-3 in that situation.

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

Lines -

Huselius - Langkow - Iginla

Leclerc - Yelle - Donovan

Lombardi - Lundmark - Amonte

Simon - Ritchie - McCarty

Regehr - Ference
Giordano - Warrener




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