Turco The Difference as Flames Fall in Texas
Stars 2 - Flames 1 

Darren Linn
October 23rd, 2005

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When Darryl Sutter made changes to a Calgary Flame team that came one goal shy of winning the Stanley Cup the last time hockey was played, he envisioned upgrades to allow for two things, more depth and more offense. Well the team may be deeper than at any time in the last dozen years, but the offense is still missing in action, and maybe even gone to a place that it may be hard to retrieve. 

In a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night, the Flames same weaknesses that have plagued them in all their losses this season, were right back in the spotlight. 

With an anemic power play the talk of the town and promises from the players and the staff it would be getting better, it looks like it may very well be the Flames bane this season and cost them offensive improvements from last season. On the bright side the Flames penalty kill is really running hot right now, but without scoring more than one goal a game, it will be many nights of low-scoring and close loss games. This has to change. 

On The Line

As much as anything, team identity and self-confidence as a group. Also shaking the gorilla known as the Dallas Stars off their collective backs, while trying to stay within reach of the division leading Vancouver Canucks. The team hadn’t amassed two wins in a row this year, something that has to have the coaching staff wondering hard about.

The Flow

The first period almost resembled old-time hockey with banging and crashing the tone of the game. It settled down somewhat in the 2nd with a lot of back and forth, North and South, skating by both squads. All in all the game resembled one from October of ‘02 more than the new NHL.

Three Stars

1 - Marty Turco. Solid all night, handled the puck more often and at times better than the majority of Stars defensemen. Finished the night with 29 saves, and shutting the Flames  own in the late going.
2 - Brendan Morrow
. Had the game winning goal and an assist, while being his typical miserable presence all night even when taking a couple minor penalties.
3 - Tony Amonte
. Had the Calgary goal and was tremendous on the PK when asked to do so. Saved a goal himself to keep things close and was dangerous all evening in the Stars zone.

Big Hit

There were a lot too choose from on the evening. I will give the nod to Steve Ott for rearranging Byron Ritchies internal organs with a glass-rattling jolt in the 1st period.

Big Save

Marty Turco kept the game tied with a tremendous pad save off Tony Amonte during a 2 minute 5 on 3 in the second period. After getting a great pass to the left of the Stars goalie, Amonte one-timed a pass that was labeled, but Turco anticipated brilliantly and flashed out the left leg.

The Goat

This is easy. The Flames power play. As a group, as individuals, and as a system, it is a miserable failure at this point of the season. An NHL team simply has to score with the man advantage in the new era NHL, and the Flames just don’t do it often enough. Though the lone marker of the night came off the PP, the lack of success on a 5 on 3, and seven other opportunities was a glaring reason for the loss and lack of offense.

Honorable mention to Jason Weimer for taking a ridiculously stupid crosschecking penalty when the Flames had just scored and were still on the powerplay.

Mr. Clutch

Marty Turco gets the nod here as well for making not just big saves, but very timely ones all night long. Kiprusoff was solid as well though and if not for a pinball goal in the 3rd, had his team getting at least a charity point.

Odds and Ends

The Flames last regulation win against the Stars came on December 14th 2001 according to the Stars broadcast crew…. Marty Turco now sports a 21-4-1 record against Canadian teams, yikes…..Dallas debuted two new faces in their first ever NHL games, Junior Lessard and Vojtek Polak did not look out of place when on the ice, though both played in a limited capacity…The Flames showed a huge improvement in the faceoff circle from past games by scoring 56% of the puck drops…..Dion Phaneuf was the team leader in ice time once again logging almost 27 minutes…..Jarome Iginla continues to fight the puck badly and is starting to look like he is pressing too hard, he needs to just play his game and start getting physical….Darren McCarty was clobbered into the end boards early in the 2nd period and did not return….the 4th line duo of Ritchie/Weimer were on for both goals against, and has this writer wondering (for the 100th time) why Weimer was ever signed to begin with, though the signing occurred before the new NHL rules were known.

Next up - LA Kings Sunday Oct.23rd






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