Flames Out Gun Oil in New Year's Goalfest
Flames 6 - Oilers 5

Darren Linn
December 31, 2005

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How long has it been since the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers tangled in a game this late in a season with 1st place in the Smythe....err NorthWest division on the line? Add to that, New Year's Eve, on national TV with CBC carrying it as game 2 of a double header, developing stories for both clubs, and a building up of bad blood that has been somewhat vacant for the past decade.

When all was said and done it was enough to bring Ron Maclean and Don Cherry to Calgary to ring in the New Year. The game itself didn't disappoint and delivered one of the more memorable NYE tilts in Calgary history.

On The Line

Really not all that much.

Unless you consider 1st place alone in their division, 2nd in the conference, and bragging rights for the province of some importance.

The Flow

Both teams came out skating hard with the Flames having the edge. Hard work led to Calgary forcing the Oilers to take a couple penalties and the Flames capitalizing on their early power advantage. 14 seconds after taking a 2-0 lead, the Flames gave up one to Edmonton and it was a trend that would continue all game with teams trading leads right till the final 2 minutes.

Three Stars

1 Shean Donovan. After going 38 games with nary a twine bulge to show for it, the speedy winger collected 2 goals in this one, and 3 in 2 games now, and along with linemates Jason Weimer and Chris Simon were the best line on the night for either club. Flames fans can only hope he continues this kind of production until another certain RW gets his game going.

2 Daymond Langkow. Simply put, this guy is starting to look like the player everyone expected him to be when Darryl Sutter acquired him for the seemingly heavy price of Denis Gauthier and Oleg Saprykin some 18 months ago. A defensive presence all year, he is starting to really contribute at the other end of the ice as well by being in the right spots when needed and making room for his wingers by standing in front of the net. 2 more goals tonight, to bring his season total to 13.

3 Chris Pronger. Showing why Kevin Lowe paid a big price to acquire him and subsequently promise the guy over 30 Million to become and stay an Oiler, the big man was a force all game. 4 assists on the PP, and was a big part of why the Oilers were able to stay close in this one. By miles and miles is the best Dman in Edmonton, and never was it more apparent than this night.

Big Hit

There were a plethora of body bruising , jaw-rattling, knee-weakening hits in this game. I will give the nod to Jason Weimer who rubbed out 3 Oilers dmen in their own zone on different occasions causing turnovers, and just being a really big thorn in the Oilers side all night. He also seems to have found his stride.

Big Save

Was there any? Both guys gave up questionable goals and saw their save percentages take a pretty good hit. I will give Maarkanen the thumbs up on his 3rd period stoning of a suddenly struggling Chuck Kobasew.

The Goat

Jarome Iginla. Two really lazy penalties and very little else from the team's captain and leader. Until it is confirmed as an explanation, the injury thing simply won't wash. I do believe there is something physically wrong with the 7 million dollar man, but no one on the club says anything about it. If this happens, it would explain a whole bunch. Until then? Not good enough Jarome....not even close.

Mr. Clutch

Kristian Huselius. Though he had a questionable game defensively, he was there to make it happen on the game winner. He was brought in to add offense to the team and he has done that in spades.

Odds and Ends

In a very physical affair, the Flames end up outhitting the Oilers 26-22.....Tony Amonte was a late scratch with a "rib" injury, which coincided with the return of Darren McCarty to the fold....Jordon Leopold has had many good games as a Flame this season, tonight may of been his best, all in a very quiet and efficient manner.....many a Flame fan has been bellowing about the seemingly poor faceoff abilities of the Flames. Truth is they are 13th in the league after going 52% on the night. Stephane Yelle is still very much missed in this area however.....The Flames 14th ranking in PK will surely be affected after giving up 4 on the night in only 8 chances. 50% just isn't very good in any light. One thing though, the Flame gave up a 5 on 3 goal against for the first time all year......Bryan Marchment looked like he was really struggling with speed tonight. First time all year it was evident past a shift or 2......Rookie Dman Richie Regher was the only Flame to log less than double digit minutes in his 2nd start in the show... Meanwhile big bother Robyn led all Flames players with almost 27 minutes.....Secondary scoring is no longer a problem at this point. unfortunately primary scoring is........Oilers 4th line of Laraque, Winchester and Harvey COMBINED for just over 11 1/2 minutes of icetime, the Flames alone had 15 guys play that much or more.....

Next up An afternoon tilt on Monday against the Blackhawks. Gametime 1:00 MST.

Lines -

Huselius- Reinprecht- Iginla
Reinprecht- Lombardi- Weimer
McCarty-Nilson- Kobasew
Simon - Ritchie - Donovan

Ference-Regehr light








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