Flames Wake Up In Third
Flames 4 - Wild 2

Daniel Lemmon
December 29, 2005

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Up and down and up and down … so goes the race for the Northwest division lead. Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton all rotating based on games played, points, and who’s currently got the ugliest haircuts. All three teams have seen struggles of late, the Flames have lost their defensive stride with the absence of uber-defensive forward Stephane Yelle, the Canucks have had a tough time at home with one win in six tries, four losses to the Alberta duo of the Northwest, and the Oilers dropping two in a row to the Wild after a wild ride where the team managed to score goals at the most opportune of times.

With all this bouncing around a change in the Northwest lead is something that should very well have been expected, and that’s what was delivered, with some notable contributions from… unlikely sources.

On The Line

Having sole possession of first place in the Northwest, with only Vancouver having a game in hand and yet another one of those important divisional match-ups had the big red circles around it on the whiteboard tonight.

The Flow

Someone wake me up when the first period was over… BRUTAL flow. Here’s how it went. The Flames have the puck in their own zone. Try to rush… get stopped… this time dump it out to centre where a waiting Wild player shoots it back into the Flames zone… Repeat. The first half of the second was owned by the Wild and the third belonged to the Flames who finally figured out how to skate.

Three Stars

1 – Shean Donovan.  For the past few games Donovan has been trying to shake the King Kong sized ape off of his back with little success, though you could see the weight was lessening as game after game his speed started to return to him. Garbage goal, but getting it in the last minute of the second period very well could have sparked the Flames performance in the third.

2 – Miikka Kiprusoff. Was surprisingly busy, held the fort for the most part and was there when his team needed him to be with Wild pressure in the third.

3 – Jason Wiemer. For a guy who has been pretty brutal for most of the games he’s played in his second tour of duty with the Flames he actually had a pretty impressive game. Jason also gets a gold star for shooting rather than passing to finally get his first goal of the season.

Big Hit

KABLAMO! Bryan Marchment obliterated Wild forward Kyle Wanvig right at the centre ice face-off dot in the third period, he got a charging penalty for it and for half a second I was worried he might have taken out Wanvig’s knee… Thankfully that wasn’t the case.  

Big Save

Sprung in on a partial break in the third period, Calgary native Wes Walz was stoned by Miikka Kiprusoff to keep the game in the Flames favour. Extra credit goes to the post for the follow-up save on the rebound.

The Goat

I may get some heat for this, but I’m going with Jarome Iginla. Challenged to play better by his coach, his fans, and some of the commentators on TSN he still didn’t show up. Proof of the lackadaisical approach Iginla has been taking to games can be seen on his one on one shorthanded with Pierre-Marc Bouchard where he STOPPED SKATING once he crossed the blueline and half-assed a shot that was deflected into the netting, then promptly fell over like it was time for his 9 PM nap. Patience is running thin in Calgary for the 7 Million Dollar Man. Just wait for playoffs right? He’ll wake up then won’t he?

Mr. Clutch

The posts. Dion Phaneuf solidly clanged one off a post which then sprung Brian Rolston on a breakaway where he got hooked by the former post-hitter leading to a penalty shot where Rolston nailed to post. Put that one in and the Flames might have folded like a cheap tent. Second place by about a hundredth of a percent goes to Richie Regehr for his timely blast to the net that resulted in the game winning goal.
Odds and Ends

 In the entire NHL one player has scored the most against the Minnesota Wild, something hard done by given the choking nature of the Wild’s play. That man is Jarome Iginla. Where is Jarome Iginla? Can anyone find the 7 Million Dollar Man? Aside from one period against the very same Wild where he took the Flames on his back and forced a win he’s been invisible. Not skating, not hitting, not strong on the puck, Jarome is not doing any of the things that have been his bread and butter in seasons past. If criticism is going to be the key to unlocking the mysterious winger, then I’ll blast him until he shuts me up. Please make a fool of me Jarome. Talk about exciting. You dress for you very first NHL game with you big brother in the line-up and you almost get your very first NHL goal in the same game. Great shot by Richie to get the game winning goal on net, if Steve Reinprecht hadn’t gotten a stick on the blast it might not have gone in, but for a few brief moments I’m sure both Regehr brothers were we jumping like their pet monkey’s the must have had as children. The Flames have now amazingly scored a power play goal in seven straight games. Considering how disorganized the Flames power play units look on the ice this is a very surprising sight to see, but it’s helping them get points, and that’s all that matters right?

Next up – The Battle of Alberta part 5... New Years Eve edition! Watch all the action on CBC or listen on the Fan 960 starting at 8 PM MST.

Lines –
Amonte - Reinprecht - Iginla
Huselius – Langkow – Nilson
Richie – Lombardi - Kobasew
Simon - Wiemer – Donovan

Leopold - Regehr v1.0
Marchment - Phaneuf
Ference – Regehr v2.0






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