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Inside the Game: Flames cap off win

Penalty-killers set the pace in defensive-minded 2-1 win for Calgary

Tuesday, 21.10.2008 / 11:30 PM / News
By Mike Board  - CF.com Digital Content Director
INSIDE THE GAME

CALGARY 2 WASHINGTON 1

Strange but true penalty stories...

Along press row nobody could recall seeing nine minutes of penalty time handed to one player on one incident. Especially with nothing going the other way. But that's what happened to Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque when he jumped Tyler Sloan after the Washington defenceman decked Daymond Langkow in the neutral zone during Tuesday's NHL match-up at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Head coach Mike Keenan's post game news conference

Bourque received a five minute major for fighting, two minutes for instigating and two minutes for unsportsmanlike conductt near the seven minute mark of the first period.

With a vaunted attack like the Caps have, nine minutes of power play time might have put this game away early. Instead, the Flames responded with some tough penalty killing and, once Caps forward Michael Nylander drew a penalty for hooking with 4:13 left in the penalties to Bourque, the Flames were out of the woods.

 
Flames Line Combinations
Bertuzzi-Cammalleri-Iginla

Lombardi-Langkow-Bourque

Glencross-Conroy-Moss
Prust-Primeau-Boyd
Extras: Nystrom, Roy
Defence Pairings:
Regehr-Sarich
Vandermeer-Aucoin
Giordano-Phaneuf
Extra: Pardy
Goalies:
Kiprusoff (S)  McElhinney

In fact, through the nine minute span of Bourque's penalties, the Flames had as many shots on net as the Caps -- four. The penalties to Bourque, deserved or not, created an odd number. Really, when was the last time you saw a potential nine minute power play off one incident? Here's how it breaks down: Five for fighting, two for instigating, two more and the misconduct for instigating with a visor.

And then it became the Flames turn on the man advantage as the Caps took eight straight penalties, including one to Nylander, that carried well into into the second period. The bottom line was the Flames had seven consecutive power plays and capitalized once as Jarome Iginla batted down a clearing attempt and pounded a puck past goalie Jose Theodore.

Matthew Lombardi, with his first of the season, scored between one of the power plays, to stake the Flames to a 2-1 lead over the visitors.

That, as things turned out, was all the Flames needed.

No lost leads in this game. Just a gritty, defensive-minded win.

"It was a big win," said Curtis Glencross. "We had lost games after getting leads. We did it a different way this time and it feels good."

Glencross said the key to killing the early penalties was to concentrate on quick, 30-second shifts and clearing the puck whenever they got a chance.

"We stuck with it, kept it simple and got through it," said Glencross.

THE BIG HIT: No doubt about this one. Tyler Sloan steps up outside the Caps blueline and decks Daymond Langkow, who has his head down. A clean, bone-crusher from the Calgary product who was playing in his first NHL game after playing 228 AHL games and 118 games in the ECHL over a seven-year pro career. You might say he had been waiting seven years for a hit like that. He was immediately jumped by Flames forward Rene Bourque who received 19 minutes in penalties, including a misconduct, on the play. Sloan was not penalized on the play.
THE TURNING POINT: More like a turning section but the Flames escaping the early penalties to Rene Bourque gave the team confidence and momentum. Kudos go to the PK units and goalie Mikka Kiprusoff for staving off a potent Caps power play.

THE ROSTER: The Flames scratches were F Eric Nystrom, F Andre Roy and D Adam Pardy. The Caps were without D Tom Poti, F Eric Fehr and F Viktor Kozlov.

WORTH NOTING: There were plenty of Calgary connections on the side of the Caps. Forwards Chris Clark and Michael Nylander are former Flames and assistant coach Dean Evason also wore the Flaming C and was an assistant coach with the Calgary Hitmen before joining the Caps. On defence three local boys, Tyler Sloan, Jeff Schultz (another Hitmen alumni) and Mike Green all patrolled the Caps blueline...The Flames now head to Nashville for a game Thursday (only on Flames PPV and available in HD) and make a stop in Phoenix on Saturday...

BY THE NUMBERS: The win over the Caps was the Flames first in eight tries. They were 6-0-2 in the last eight dating back to 1999.. D Cory Sarich played in his 42nd game against the Caps, more than any other Flame...F Daymond Langkow entered the game with the most points of any Flame against the Caps. He had eight goals and 18 points in 29 contests...Through the first two periods the Flames had enjoyed 10:23 of power play time and were 1-7. The Caps had 9:05 of power play time and were 0-4 after 40 minutes...Alexander Ovechkin had two shots in the first, one in the second and one in the third period. He had an assist on the Caps lone goal and registered a game-high seven hits.
A SHARP KIPPER: Miikka Kiprusoff has been under the spotlight for sub-par goaltending performances early in the season. Against Washington, a team he had faced twice and not collected a win, he was very sharp. In a span of about two minutes in the second period he made five key stops as the Flames broke down defensively. The biggest save might have been him sliding across his entire net to stop former Flame Chris Clark's one-timer from just outside the crease. The series of saves were crucial as the Flames had no response offensively and were outshot 6-0 during that portion of the period.

Easliy Kiprusoff's best game of the season, he also robbed a dangling Alexander Ovechkin during a late third period power play to seal the deal on a much-needed win.

"Exceptional goaltending tonight," noted head coach Mike Keenan.