Kiprusoff "Large" in Besting Northern Rivals
Flames 3 - Oilers 0 

October 15th, 2005

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While the NHL has attempted to re-invent itself through the course of multiple rule changes, more divisional games, and a crackdown on obstruction type penalties, very little has changed for success in the Calgary Flames camp. It’s a simple recipe for success.

Start with a healthy dose of skating, a dash of puck pressure, add a small clove of well played special teams, mix in a large portion of solid goaltending, lastly a gallon of Jarome Iginla being himself, and voila, a palatable result is assured almost every time.

For the first time in the young 2005-06 campaign, Coach Darryl Sutter and his troops managed the right combination of ingredients and skated to an impressive 3-0 victory over the suddenly sliding Edmonton Oilers. Much to the delight of a raucous and sold out Saddledome.

On The Line

Respect, confidence, and a general feeling of uneasiness surrounding the Flames. A 1-3-1 start to a season with large expectations will do that. It was also an opportunity to pull themselves out of the North West division basement and into a tie for 3rd place with Minnesota and Colorado, and 2 points back of first place Vancouver.

The Flow

Exceptional for the most part, although the penalties during the 2nd period made for the appearance that the ice was tilted towards the Flames net for most of it. The Flames kill of a 2-man disadvantage for 2 full minutes early in the 2nd was likely the key to the game.

Three Stars

1 - Miikka Kiprusoff. A return to form for the 04-05 Vezina finalist. 33 saves for the shutout, and many of which, were of the spectacular variety.

2 - Dion Phaneuf. Led the team in ice time, was +1 on the night, and provided the Flame faithful with cheering opportunities all night. Unleashed no less than 6 shots on a 5 on 3 advantage late in the game.

3 - Jussi Markaanen. If he hadn’t played as well as he did, this game would have been much uglier for the Edmonton faithful.

Big Hit

Who else?  Dion Phaneuf was rock solid in the physical department once again. A 1st period blasting of Brad Winchester gets him the nod in this category for the 4th or 5th time this season. Though it can be said that there many more near-misses than big time hits.

Big Save

Ales Hemsky will be having nightmares about the save that Miikka Kiprusoff made on him during a 5 on 3 PP the Oilers were enjoying in the second period. With a Chris Pronger rocket missing the net and the rebound coming to Hemsky just above the hash marks along the boards, he ripped it at the open net. Kiprusoff dived backwards and got his paddle on the puck, a foot off the ice and deflected it out of harms way. It may end up being one of the saves of the year in the entire league.

The Goat

This belongs to one Cory Cross. Looking like a keystone cop, Cross bumbled the puck just outside his blueline, lost his position on Jarome Iginla, and allowed the Calgary Captain to sweep in all alone on the Oiler net. He made no mistake buy going 5-hole on the startled net minder, and catapulted the Flames to victory. Honorable mention goes to the Flames faceoff men as well…posting a putrid 37% success rate on the night.

Mr. Clutch

Again, this has to go to Miikka Kiprusoff. Saves at critical times, the best PK on the team all night, and the ability to give his team a lift when they seemed to be bogging down.

Odds and Ends

With the announcement earlier in the night that Brett Hull has called it a career, it should be pointed out that he scored his 1st of 741 goals in the silks of the Calgary Flames…. In a “battle’ that should last for many more years, it was interesting too watch Matthew Lombardi and Jarret Stoll go head to head against the clubs that drafted them originally. For now, advantage is too Lombardi however…the Flames penalty Killing unit was perfect on the evening, killing all 8 times they were down a man or more….This was Miikka Kiprusoff's 8th career shutout….Robyn Regher, appearing during the 1st intermission on HNIC said he is still looking at 2-3 weeks before making a return, but it could be longer….Bryan Marchment acquitted himself rather well in his 2nd game as a Flame…Chuck Kobasew comes in with less than 10 minutes of ice time for the 2nd game in a row…The referees really have to figure a couple things out. Missed calls both ways tonight, and ridiculously chinsy ones made at critical times both ways, something has to change….Can George Laraque look any more out of his element?…Shean Donovan really seems to be fighting the puck early in the year as well…Greg Millen is quite possibly the worst “analyst” employed in the game, he seems to lose track of what is actually happening all the time…best example was his comment that the Oilers were not supplying any puck support during a power play….that had ended a minute earlier. Then his backtracking to attempt to cover himself was just embarrassing.. Also his insight on the slow start of Conklin because he missed so much of camp being injured….when it was actually Markaanen…

Next up - Phoenix Coyotes, Tuesday Oct.18th

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