Calgary Flames Out In Barn Burner
Oilers 5 - Flames 4

D'Arcy McGrath
December 19, 2005

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Please Santa ...

Let there be a seven game playoff series this spring between the two Alberta teams. I don't care if it's first versus eighth, fourth versus fifth, or who has home ice, but the province desperately needs to see games that really matter between these two hockey clubs.

A pre-Christmas boisterous crowd in Edmonton were treated to a whale of a hockey game tonight, making one wonder if a game could mean more by the pace and intensity on display at the Rexall Center.

The home side eked out a tight 5-4 win with a goal with less than a minute left to make the Western standings just that little bit more packed.

On The Line

A big four pointer between the division rivals, both in the meat of the playoff sandwich for the first time in sixteen years.  A win by the Oilers would move the Edmonton squad to even in points with the Flames, though the Flames would have a game in hand.

The Flow

Ferocious, physical, intense. Three words pretty much sum the whole thing up. Both teams finished checks, went to the net hard, and through every thing they had on to the ice, though the Oilers did hold a territorial edge over the pace of the night.

Three Stars

1 Shawn Horcoff.  The slumping Oiler pivot had two goals, including the game tying goal on a bank shot in the third period, plus an assist to pace the home side.  
2 Igor Ulanov.  I feel dirty doing it, but the old plodding Russian rearguard scored twice on the night, and you have to acknowledge it ... I guess.  

3 Kristian Huselius.  Better in the first half than the second, but Huselius paced the Flames with two points in the first period, including the opening goal - his first as a Flame.

Big Hit

With momentum firmly in the Oiler's back pocket, Ryan Smyth took it up another notch when he simply melted Jordan Leopold down in the corner in the third period. Added to the wild Oiler finish.

Big Save

Jussi Markkanen on the a Lombardi to Kobasew pass was a huge save in the third period, but the big save on the night was Miikka Kiprusoff diving across the crease to deny Ales Hemsky on a second period wrap around.

The Goat

The Flames on a whole didn't have their best defensive effort of the season, but veteran Rhett Warrener led the way in this dubious category, having a very weak night. He finished minus 2, was on the ice for four of the Oilers five goals, and missed Pisani late for the game winner.

Mr. Clutch

I'll give this one to Matthew Lombardi for showing great legs, and zip for a guy that was on the shelf for more than two months. The Langkow, Huselius, Iginla line was the big one in the first half of the game, but the second line led by Lombardi could have won it with their play in the third.

Odds and Ends

Huselius' two point night gives the winger nine points in just six games in Calgary, paying immediate dividends. With Lombardi back, and Huselius on board, the Flames actually have two players that can dangle the puck a bit and create things with their hands. I was pretty sure they already had two with Steve Reinprecht, but he just hasn't been visible this season, though he scored tonight. ... The loss was the Flames regulation setback in Edmonton since March of 2002. ... This game could have been bigger than just the four point swing in the standings. By scoring four on Miikka Kiprusoff, those pesky Oilers may have salted away the demons that seemed to be playing with their gray matter in the three games in Calgary. They solved him with traffic. Great Oiler play? Off night for Kiprusoff? Or bad crease clearing effort by the blueline? ... Can't really fault the Oilers play by play crew on the night, fair call of the game without too much in the way of pom pom waving. ... I thought Iginla was going to have a monster night when he and Peca had an exchange in the opening minute. ... Bryan Marchment should have had an assist on the first Calgary goal when he took the puck off Jani Rita. ... Doesn't that Daymond Langkow strike off the goal post on the Chris Pronger giveaway loom large now? ... Hands up. How many would have guessed either of; Calgary scoring four in Edmonton? And losing? ... Is it me or does the Ethan Moreau that plays for the Oilers now not resemble that guy that's worn #24 in Edmonton for the past few years. Really playing well. ... I have never seen a guy as affective killing a penalty without a stick as Darren McCarty in the second period. Usually I wonder why they just don't leave the play and get a stick but he actually broke up plays, forced additional passes and held his lane. ... Anyone that has thought Robyn Regehr to be a lumbering defenceman before hasn't watched the big guy track a player like Ales Hemsky in the defensive zone. ... You sure noticed the absence of Stephane Yelle in this one. The third line, usually Calgary's game controller was completely ineffective tonight with Steve Reinprecht moving up with Nilson and Darren McCarty. Nilson, especially, had a very poor night.

Next up The Flames return back to the Saddledome to host Craig Conroy and the L.A. Kings on Wednesday night.

Lines -

Huselius- Langkow- Iginla








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