Flames Come Off Break Strong
Flames 3 - Bruins 0

Darren Linn
December 17, 2005

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When the 2005-2006 schedule was released last August, there were certain quirks that one could easily identify. Consecutive games at home and on the road against division rivals. The obvious lengthy break for the Olympics. The omission of an all-star game. And a full 7 day rest for the Flames in December in what otherwise can only be described as a crammed and compact schedule. The glaring worry about a 7 day rest period is the rust that can build up during that time with no competition to keep the team playing at full speed. Coming off an OT win against the Ottawa Senators one week ago, the Flames set out against the new look Boston Bruins to dispel that theory and use the time off as a motivator to head into another busy part of the season schedule.

Mission accomplished, though with a possible big price attached.


On The Line

While the Flames have been relaxing and nursing their bumps, bruises, and burn-out, the rest of the NW division and Western Conference teams have all been busily adding games to their year to date resume. Many, including Edmonton and Vancouver, have gained some ground on the idle good guys, so this was a very important game to reassert their standing as one of the West's best and keep 1st place in the division well within sight.

The Flow

The Flames came out flying off the hop and proved that rest can be a good thing when done properly. After causing the Bruins to take a penalty early on because of tremendous forechecking abilities, Dion Phaneuf let go a seeing eye wrister from the blueline for a PP marker just 3 minutes into the contest. 111 seconds later, it was 3-0 Calgary and it was game set and match from that point forward, with only some Calgary penalty trouble providing any doubt as to the outcome.

Three Stars

1 Miikka Kiprusoff.  It's almost getting redundant to see this man as a star of the night. That's a good thing for Flames fans however. Again tonight, he wasn't necessarily overworked, but made several tremendous saves and more importantly....timely saves. The look in his eyes from the drop of the puck suggested a good night was coming as he was in the zone early on and continued through out the game. He now has a league leading 5 shutouts on the season.

2 Dion Phaneuf.  The young blossoming uber star on defense was rock solid against the Bruins on the night. He scored the game winner, contributed 17 minutes of icetime including every situation, showed his maturity and discipline, and helped the team get Mikka another shutout.

3 Jarome Iginla.  No he didn't hit the scoresheet. He did every thing possible however. Looking a bit snake-bit to say the least, he hit posts, put pucks an inch past the post, and created all kinds of chances all night long. It is possible that he deflected the puck on Phaneuf's goal, but even if he did, his unselfishness would never allow him to say a word. He really is a terrific leader for many reasons, this would just be another one.

Big Hit

In the last minute of the 1st period, Flame dman Rhett Warrener caught a Bruin forward with his head down along the boards and splattered him like a bug on the windshield.

Big Save

I will give this one a tie....both by Kiprusoff. In the first period he made a pad save on new Bruin Marco Sturm that is one for the ages. Showing exceedingly great agility and flexibility, he shot his right leg out behind him while moving the other way. Then he absolutely stoned PJ Axelsson on a clear cut breakaway late in the 2nd that could of really led the B's to have some momentum heading into the 3rd period.

The Goat

Andrew Raycroft didn't have much help early on, but he still gets the dubious honor here. What happened to this guy? He looked like an all-world goalie when the last season was played. Now he looks to be fighting the puck when he does see it, and just plain doesn't see it at other times. Too bad as he really could of been something special.

Mr. Clutch

Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames PK both get a nod. Kipper for his saves at times most crucial, and the PK units for throwing a goose egg at the Bruins PP on 5 seperate occasions.

Odds and Ends

 In a bit of a stunner, Wayne Gretzky relinquished his coaching duties earlier in the evening to leave his team and tend to his ailing mother back in Ontario. Things must be very serious for such a drastic move, and well wishes are pouring in from all over the hockey world for Wayne and his family.....Stephan Yelle scored his first goal in 2 months, short handed, to make the game 3-0. Later on the same penalty kill, he went down and blocked a shot which had him limping badly as he left the ice. He never returned and was reportedly seen with a very sour look on his face and walking with a soft cast in the 3rd period. This loss would be a big one for Calgary if its one of any length.......Kiprusoff now has 2 pts on the season, putting him tied or ahead of Ritchie, Marchment and Weimer.......It may surprise some to see that Andrew Ference led all Flames in icetime oin the night with a staggering (for him) 24+ minutes. This guy is turning into a gem........The Flames got clobbered in the faceoff circle loosing 59% of them, which is a reflection of losing Yelle early on......Chris Simon who was a healthy scratch tonight should take note. When Phaneuf was manhandled a bit by Dan Lacouture in the 3rd period, Weimer was there to answer him on the next shift and duked out a draw with the feisty Bruin. He knew it was expected of him and part of his job. Simon has apparently forgotten that of late......Matthew Lombardi was noticeable all night for good things. A great sign that his recovery is complete and he is ready to contribute a little bit more. I fully expect to see him with Iginla at some point before Christmas.....What are the Leafs gonna do? Up against the cap, starting to feel the injury bug everyone expected, and the defense, predictably, is awful. They got smoked for the second time this year by Ottawa who scored 8 on them earlier on as well......A 3 point game in Vancouver between the Oil and Canucks will take a bit of the joy from tonight's win for the Flames.....

Next up The battle of Alberta heats up with the Flames making the trek to Edmonton on Monday night.

Lines -

Huselius- Langkow- Iginla








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