Flames Win Game Eight?
Flames 1 Canucks 0

D'Arcy McGrath
November 5th, 2005

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Are you sure it isn't late April, perhaps the year 2004?

The Flames and Vancouver Canucks certainly didn't act like two Western Canadian rivals that haven't faced off in a meaningful game in 19 months. You'd think it had been two days not almost two years with the anger and intensity displayed in a 1-0 Calgary victory seen coast to cost on Hockey Night in Canada.

On The Line

A four pointer, so it was a huge game for both sides, though given the standings; you'd have to give the locals the edge in need coming in. The Flames were looking to move back to the .500 mark for the first time since game two in Columbus this season. Plus a win against Vancouver would keep the team happily moving along in their battles with Northwest clubs, as they say 3-2-0 going in.

The Flow

Neither team was given a whole lot in this one ... both teams held under the 30 shot mark with powerplays creating most of the chances, especially for the Canucks. An undercurrent of hostility mixed with some down and complete hatred dusted this encounter with a myriad of ferocious hits, intriguing fights and boisterous battles. 

Three Stars 
1 - Miikka Kiprusoff -
I failed to give the guy a star in his last shut out due to how little chance the Wild got four nights ago. While Vancouver didn't muster much more overall in this one, you can't snub the guy twice in a week for posting doughnuts. 
2 - Marcus Nilson -
A Calgarypuck game star for the winner against Columbus in a game where he was otherwise unseen. In this one, another game winner, plus a fight in defence of his linemate Stephane Yelle, and an very gritty performance overall. 
3 - Alex Auld
- A steady performance as the young tender did a great job to keep his club in it in the first forty minutes. Couldn't be faulted for the first goal as the miscue in passing the puck to Brookbank was as much Brookbank's fault as his.

Big Hit

Have to toss this award Rhett Warrener's way both for style points in the hit itself, and in the target of choice, when he leveled public enemy number one Todd Bertuzzi with about a minute left in the second period. The hit, catching Bertuzzi breaking out of the Canuck zone plopped the big dufus on his keister with his salad bowl flying through the air.

Big Save

Kiprusoff gets this one, but for what save? I'll give the battling Fin the edge for that mad scramble down two men when he stopped Daniel Sedin and then used every part of his body to hang in until Mick McGeough blew the whistle.

The Goat

The Canuck powerplay, usually one of the league's best (insert praise for Calgary Flame penalty killing here), just can't go ouch for seven in a game where they were afforded almost double the chances of the hosts. The Flames were handed three minors in one sequence in the third period giving the Canucks a full two minute two man advantage followed by another two minutes of five on four play. Besides a goal post the Canucks really didn't register a quality shot.

Mr. Clutch

The inverse ... Calgary penalty killers, and specifically Roman Hamrlik. One can only imagine that insidious lactic acid build up burn he must have felt in the legs as he was trapped on the ice for almost the entire two man disadvantage in the third period. Yet he still seemed limber enough to get around and make a difference. Team defence gets a nod as well for limiting the Canucks to only 23 shots including 6 in the third period with the Canucks enjoying all the powerplay time.

Odds and Ends

Calgary's fourth line really carried the mail again tonight, and I would suggest the return of Darren McCarty was the difference in both games. Great work down low, very physical, and tonight they're work paid off when they created the game's only goal. ... Another example of why I just hate the instigator penalty. Does anyone think Jason Wiemer doesn't have a right to go out and have something to say about that hit from behind laid on by Lee Goren? And speaking of the hit from behind, since when did hits like that not result in five minutes for hitting from behind and a game misconduct? Reputation? I would guess if Jarkko Ruutu was the villain, he'd be gone. ... Some very odd stats on a three game homestand thus far? Three games, three wins, only one goal against, and nine fights? I thought the game was supposed to be new? No more fights, all kinds of offence, and yet we get a 0.33 goals against average and Bloodsport. The Flames aren't having trouble adjusting to the new NHL, they're just dragging everyone the play back into the old world. Why not? ... Speaking of fighting, the Flames came into the game in 5th place for fights league wide and with one scrap in the Dallas game, they quite likely only trail the stars now after four tonight. The Flames are way down the list for "penalties" per game, but way up the list for "penalty minutes" per game. When the zebra blows the whistle against Calgary it's serious! ... Miikka Kiprusoff moved into first place in the shut out list with three on the season with his effort tonight, tied with Dominic Hasek who also pitched a zip tonight. On goals against terms, Kiprusoff likely moved into the top ten. Not bad for a guy that gave up a couple of touchdowns early. Looks like the "one hit wonder" banter may settle down. ... I wonder if it might be a good idea for Calgary season ticket holders to put a collection together to buy visiting Canuck fans hotel rooms. The After Hours feature on HNIC tonight with Andrew Ference featured a background of almost exclusively Vancouver fans that didn't seem to have anywhere else to go. ... The Canucks had seven powerplay chances to the Flames four, keeping alive the early season advantage binge kept by the Vancouver squad. You can't keep that up through almost 15 games without doing something right, they must be quick studies when it comes to interference fouls. ... Craig MacDonald's assist on the Calgary goal was his first point as a Flame. ... Funny to watch Jarkko Ruutu literally never go into the corner to get the puck first. He gives it up every single time. Must drive Marc Crawford nuts. ... Want to appreciate the subtleties of behind the play NHL hockey? Watch Robyn Regehr closely in a hockey game. Coverage in your own zone, when to leave the slot for the corner, careful not to touch a puck going wide to avoid tipping it, solid, solid defender. ... Speaking of Regehr, it was interesting to watch the time allotment in the game with Regehr back in full form. With Regehr moving from 18 to almost 23 minutes, young Dion Phaneuf was pulled back in ice from an average of 22 to only 15 along with Andrew Ference. Regehr, Jordan Leopold, Rhett Warrener and Roman Hamrlik all had between 20 and 22 minutes. ... Chuck Kobasew's speed burst to blow out that icing call in the third period was a thing of beauty. Kobasew and Daymond Langkow led the way with five shots each on goal. ... Phaneuf, Warrener and Ryan Kessler had game highs of four hits apiece. ... The Canucks had a slight edge in the dot with a 52/48 split. Langkow struggled while Stephane Yelle and Jarome Iginla were 56 and 57%. ... Watching Steve Reinprecht lined up with Jason Wiemer and Shean Donovan, you just know the man must be in the doghouse.

Next up - Vancouver again on Monday night.

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