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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:51 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Changing winds of fortunes

The wind is certainly having an impact on this game.

Calgary had the advantage in the first period and translated it into a 19-8 advantage in shots. The 19 shots are a record for an outdoor game.

But, it has been a different story in the second period as Montreal has benefitted from the wind. With nine minutes gone in the second, Montreal holds a 12-3 advantage in shots.

Travis Moen and Hal Gill might have had the best chances of the first half of the period. Moen was sprung into the zone with a sweet pass, but Miikka Kiprusoff robbed him on a short-side bid. The rebound, however, eventually found its way to Gill at the point and his booming slapper was steered away by the goalie's blocker.

Not surprisingly, Rene Bourque has one of Calgary's three shots in the period. Tom Kostopoulos also had a shot in the second, a snapper that beat Carey Price to the five-hole, but banged off Price's pad and kicked just wide of the post.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:34 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

First-period notes

Dan Craig's ice crew is doing a yeoman-like job scraping and flooding the ice during the break.

And, it appears that Craig's ministrations are paying off.

Calgary's Rene Bourque said during the intermission that the ice wasn't too bad, "about what you could expect for a night like this," he said on CBC. Although he did say that there was a bad spot to the side of the Montreal net.

Montreal's Tomas Plekanec led Montreal with three shots and Cammalleri had two. Hal Gill led Montreal in ice time, playing 7:57 despite spending two minutes in the penalty box for tripping.

Calgary might have had a record 19 shots, but only three players managed more than one. As mentioned, Bourque had six and Tom Kostopoulos and Alex Tanguay each managed two shots. Nine other players had single shots. Jay Bouwmeester led Calgary in ice time, playing 7:56.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:11 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Record effort in first

The Calgary Flames head into the warmth of their dressing room after the first period holding a 1-0 lead on a Rene Bourque goal on a 5-on-3 advantage.

Calgary, playing with a stiff wind at its back, dominated the period, holding a 19-8 advantage after 20 minutes.

The 19 shots are an outdoor game record. The previous record is 17, which was set by Detroit in the third period of the 2009 Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bourque was the most dominating man for the Flames, firing off seven shots, all of which translated into legitimate scoring opportunities.

Price, who did not have a chance on Bourque's tip-in goal, kept the Canadiens in the game with a very strong period.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 7:00 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Trading chances

After Rene Bourque opened the scoring -- No. 18 on the year for him, assisted by Alex tanguay and Olli Jokinen -- the game settled into more of a back-and-forth affair.

Mike Cammalleri, making his return to the lineup, was sprung on a semi breakaway, but was denied by Miikka Kiprusoff.

On the next shift, Tanguay had a good chance, but fired just wide of the post. Two minutes later, Bourque was looking for goal No. 2 with a slapper that Price sticked aside. Bourque gained the puck on a turnover by Subban, who was trying to make a long pass but was foiled when his stick shattered.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:50 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Ice is broken

Montreal took two tripping penalties in rapid succession to set up Calgary for the game-opening goal.

At the 6:11 mark, P.K. Subban was whistled for tripping Tom Kostopoulos in the corner. Thirty-three seconds later, Hal Gill went to the box after committing a trip at his own blue line.

Carey Price started the 5-on-3 kill well by robbing Bourque early in the two-man advantage. But, Bourque got even when he tipped a shot past price at the 8:09 mark.

Gill was playing in his first game after returning from injury, Defenseman James Wisniewski also played in the game, despite taking a puck to the cheek just three days earlier. He had to play with a full shield. Mike Cammalleri also returned to the lineup after a long absence.

With those returns, Alexandre Picard and Tom Pyatt were Montreal's scratches.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:46 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

We're underway

As expected, the ice has been an early talking point as the bitter cold has impacted the ability to maintain the ice at a proper temperature.

Earlier Sunday, Dan Craig and his ice crew decided that they would not take the Zamboni onto the ice surface for fears of further damaging the surface. So, the crew is shoveling the ice clear by hand and flooding it with a hose.

They are also patching holes on the ice during breaks to make the ice as good as possible, resulting in a few delays.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:32 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - NHL Heritage Classic chatter

Pre-game festivities

The 2011 Tim Horton's NHL Heritage Classic is just about ready to start after a spectacular pre-game ceremony.
 
Both Thompson Square and paul Brandt handled the anthems flawlessy. Brandt, a Calgary boy, belted out O Canada while wearing a Flames Heritage Classic jersey.
 
The highlight, though, might have been a fly-over by the canadian Snow Birds.
 
Now, it is time to play. The game-time temperature is minus-11, but feels like minus-20 celsius because of a strong wind that will blow at the Flames back in the first period. Montreal will have the wind advantage in the second period and the teams will switch sides midway through the third period to even out the advantage.
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Posted On Sunday, 02.20.2011 / 6:31 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Pre-game festivities

The 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic is just about ready to start after a spectacular pre-game ceremony.
 
Both Thompson Square and Paul Brandt handled the anthems flawlessy. Brandt, a Calgary boy, belted out O Canada while wearing a Flames Heritage Classic jersey.
 
The highlight, though, might have been a fly-over by the Canadian Snow Birds.
 
Now, it is time to play. The game-time temperature is minus-11 Celsius, but feels like minus-20 because of a strong wind that will blow at the Flames back in the first period. Montreal will have the wind advantage in the second period and the teams will switch sides midway through the third period to even out the advantage.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

A memorable night at McMahon

Calgary could not deliver a win for the 10,000 hometown fans that came to McMahon Stadium to see history repeat itself.

Instead, the Montreal Canadiens wore the black hats -- toques, perhaps -- by taking a 5-3 decision on a bitterly cold afternoon turning into evening in Calgary.

Montreal goalie Eric Fichaud, the youngest player in the game, made several key saves to deny some Flame attacks and "youngsters" Mike Keane, Russ Courtnall and Kirk Muller keyed the Montreal offense against Calgary goalie Mike Vernon, playing for the first time since his retirement in 2002.

Despite the scoreline, the Heritage Classic Alumni Game was a success for all involved.

The fans were treated to quite the show as many of the players that battled for the Stanley Cup in 1986 and 1989 went at it yet again.

They were also treated to a number of memorable moments.

Terry Crisp, the coach of the 1989 Calgary team that won the Cup in Montreal -- the only team other than Montreal to claim the Cup at the Forum in the history of hockey -- was once again behind the bench. The iconic Lanny McDonald -- still sporting his trademark mustache -- was once again sporing his No. 9 jersey and flying up and down a Calgary ice surface.

Bob Gainey, who has been in the shadows since stepping down as the Montreal GM last season, made a triumphant return as The Montreal alumni coach, joined by Ryan Walter and Rejean Houle.

The crowd also saw two successful penalty shots in less than a minute, one by McDonald and the other by Montreal's Kevin Haller.

Plus, they saw some of the biggest stars in the game happily grab shovels and clean the ice during the stoppage between the two 20-minute halves -- a chore to anyone that has ever played shinny that speaks to the very essence of the outdoor game.

But, most of all, the 10,000-strong crowd watched some of the most famous names in the game smile their way through a 90-minute trip down memory lane, essentially serving up the perfect appetizer for Sunday's Heritage Classic.
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Posted On Saturday, 02.19.2011 / 7:37 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Heritage Classic alumni live game blog

Emotions running high

Jim Peplinski just started jabbing at Eric Fichaud's pads after the Montreal goalie made a save.

Rick Green, though, came over and playfully pushed him away and the two joked around, mimicking that they might drop the gloves in a battle. But of course cooler heads prevailed and the two smiled as they skated away.

While the mock shoving match was playful, there is no doubt that Calgary has turned up the intensity.

But that intensity went for naught when Kirk Muller scored against the run of play during a 2-on-1 to make the score 5-3.





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Quote of the Day

We've got a team filled with captains, that's what I think. With these first two games we got in, we're really dominating and moving the puck really fast, and it's worked out really good.

— U.S. goalie Brandon Halverson after a 6-0 win against Germany in the World Junior Championship on Sunday