Streak Ends Against Lowly Hawks 
Hawks 5 – Flames 2

Darren Linn
November 18, 2005

The catch phrase to describe the NHL since the season lost and the new world order was instilled, is a simple one. New. One thing is for certain however, no matter what era of hockey you look at, there are constant ingredients that will win and/or lose you hockey games.

If you out work, out hit, out muscle, and pressure your opponents, you will win every time out. The Flames knew this formula all to well as they came in to Friday nights tilt against the suddenly surging Chicago Blackhawks riding an 8 game winning streak using that same recipe for success.

On this night it was a complete and total reversal in fortunes for the home team though, as they were the victims of being on the wrong side of every one of those variables and it translated into a very ugly loss in front of a sold out Saddledome.

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On The Line

An 8 game winning streak and an opportunity to set a new team record that was tied last time out against the Red Wings. Also an opportunity for points in 10 straight, a mark that looks good on any team at any time in a competitively balanced NHL.

The Flow

A bizarre beginning to this one as the Blackhawks were penalized 8 consecutive times in the 1st period which also produced four separate 5 on 3 advantages for the Flames of varying lengths. With a pressure type penalty kill, the Hawks survived giving up only two goals. Once the steady parade to the box stopped, the Hawks started to take it to the Flames in almost every area of the ice. It produced a well deserved 5-2 victory.

Three Stars

1 - Mark Bell. Two goals and a presence all night long, good on the penalty kill and great at even strength earns this highly touted 25 year old the top honors for this game.
2 - Nikolai Khabibulin. The much maligned of late Stanley Cup goaltender, who signed for the big bucks when he darted from Tampa Bay to the Hawks in the off season, was stellar on the night making 31 saves. He kept his team in it during the 1st period and allowed them to regroup and come out with a victory.
3 - Brent Seabrook. The young Hawks defensemen turned in a terrific performance though he didn’t hit the score sheet. A +3 on the night and looking very poised while killing penalties and getting matched up against the Flames top line often.

Big Hit

Early in the 2nd period, Flames winger Chuck Kobasew was caught looking at the puck in his feet as he crossed his blueline. Hawks winger Mark Bell saw the play developing and cut across the middle and clobbered the bewildered Flame with a heavy body check.

Big Save

With 5 minutes left in the 3rd period and the Flames starting to buzz around the Hawks net, Tony Amonte spotted Jarome Iginla alone in front of the Hawk cage and lasered a pass to him. Iginla wasted no time in getting his shot off, but Khabibulin was Johnny on the spot and quelled the opportunity. That one goes in and we may be talking about a different result.

The Goat

With so many poor efforts on the entire Flames team this night, picking out one bonehead over any other is difficult. I will give the nod to Andrew Ference though, as he single handedly was responsible for the Hawks 4th goal of the night. After making a nice rush all the way from his own end to the Hawks corner, he passed the puck around the boards… no one. Predictably the Hawks gained possession and Ference was trapped deep forcing Jarome Iginla into playing back. Two passes later, the second one a beauty from Calder to a wide open Mark Bell and it was in the net. Bing, bang, boom.

Mr. Clutch

Im going to deviate from the norm for this one. Tonight’s Mr. Clutch goes to Hawks coach, and former long time Calgary resident, Trent Yawney. When you have a young and somewhat struggling team, the coach is the one who sets the mood and the tempo for his charges. During the 1st period when the Hawks were given 8 straight minors, he could of lost his cool, which likely would of seen his players do the same. Instead he kept a very even disposition, no yelling and screaming at his players nor the officials, and he allowed his team to work its way out of what could have been a disaster.

Odds and Ends

During the clubs 3rd consecutive 5 on 3 in the 1st period, it was Darryl Sutter and not Trent Yawney that called a timeout. I understand that Sutter wanted to talk to his PP guys, but it also allowed a very tired Hawk PK group to rest up…..Khabibulin is now an astounding 15-2-2 against the Flames inn his career, his last victory coming in that infamous Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2004.…Dion Phaneuf may have been the Flames best player on the night, which on the surface bodes well for the Flames future, but with the team Sutter has assembled is simply inexcusable….Jarome Iginla was quoted in a local paper the other day saying when he looked at some game tape from earlier this season, he noticed he wasn’t moving his feet. When he started doing that after the video sessions, he started making things happen. Time to go back into the VCR office Jarome, and you can take about 15 of your team mates with you. The effort and skating was abysmal……Sutter has taken notice of the struggles on Shean Donovan, limiting the speedster to less than 10 minutes of ice time and not one second on the PK…..Speaking of the PK, or more to the point, the Hawks PP, Chicago had 1:07 of man advantage time for the entire game. Gotta be some kind of record for the last 20 years…..The Flames dominated in the faceoff circle winning 58% of the draws….This was the first off-night for Miikka Kiprusoff in almost a month, and so much so that he was yanked for the 3rd period replaced by Phillipe Sauve….Chuck Kobasew was skating hard once again, a great sign for all Flames fans as he is learning to do it on his own….Adrian Aucoin, the king of ice time the last 5 or 6 years in the NHL, is back to his old ways logging 28 minutes on the night….Stat of the night though? Flames takeaways 9, Flames giveaways 24.

Next up - Time to hit the road for another lengthy one game trip as the Flames take the ice in Denver Monday night at 7 MST.

Lines -

Kobasew- Reinprecht- Iginla
McCarty- Langkow- Amonte
Simon- Yelle- Nilson
Weimer- McDonald - Donovan





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