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The Game Rush: Flames down Thrashers

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames





CALGARY -- Miikka Kiprusoff received the Molson Cup Three Star award for November prior to Wednesday's game against the Atlanta Thrashers. Then he went out and showed why he won the award.

Kiprusoff turned in yet another solid performance in the Flames net, making 24 saves, and the Flames got goals from Nigel Dawes, Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque, the latter into an empty net, as they defeated the visiting Thrashers 3-1 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Dawes opened the scoring when he tipped an Aaron Johnson point shot past Thrasher starter Johna Hedberg at 2:09 of the second period. Jokinen then beat Hedberg with a hard blast from the face-off cricle at 14:28 to give the Flames a 2-0 lead.

Coming off a long, six-game road trip, the Flames discussed the potential to be a little sluggish in their first game back home. While the start was a little slow -- the Thrashers outshot the Flames 6-1 through the first seven minutes of play -- the Flames got their legs going in the second period and outshot the Thrashers 14-6 in the second period.

"We talked about that. We want to continue to go in the right direction. We've got these games at home and we want to build on what we did on the road," said forward Eric Nystrom. "We have to make sure we are playing with a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity."

"It's always a little difficult coming back from a long road trip and playing at home," said Robyn Regehr, who returned to patrol the Flames blueline after missing the final game of the Flames six-game trip in Los Angeles on Monday. "The last five minutes of the first period I thought we got back to our game, got chances and from that point on pretty much controlled the game."

The Thrashers made things interesting when Colby Armstrong scored to make it 2-1 in the third period. The goal was reviewed for a potential kick-in but was ruled as legitimate after the review.

Bourque iced the game when he stripped Ilya Kovalchuk of the puck at the Flames blueline with Hedberg pulled for an extra attacker. Bourque then waltzed the length of the ice to deposit his eighth of the season.

"We played patient hockey. After that first period we played pretty solid and deserved the two points," said Jokinen, who nearly scored on a breakaway in the third. "It was a big win for our club."

The Flames are back in action Friday at the Pengrowth Saddledome for their first match-up of the season against the Minnesota Wild. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MST on Flames Pay-Per-View & The FAN 960.

Great goaltending, again, from Miikka Kiprusoff and a gritty, team effort that showed patience and determination.
After a somewhat sluggish start the Flames got rolling with two goals in the second period courtesy Olli Jokinen and Nigel Dawes. Calgary's patience paid off as they created several odd-man rushes as the game progressed.

F Craig Conroy was a scratch just prior to the game because of an undisclosed injury suffered when he collided with Oscar Moller in Los Angeles on Monday...The Flames lone healthy scratch was D Staffan Kronwall...With COnroy sidelined Dustin Boyd moved to the third line to centre Curtis Glencross and Eric Nystrom. Brandon Prust centered the Flames fourth line with Brian McGrattan and Freddie Sjostrom...D Robyn Regehr, after missing Monday's game in Los Angeles, was back in the line-up

The Flames and Thrashers have an interesting history -- neither team has won against the other on the road. The Flames are 4-0 at home and 0-5-1 in Atlanta...D Aaron Johnson, acquired in a trade with Chicago on October 7, collected his first point as a Flame -- an assist on Nigel Dawes second period goal...The Flames have now scored the first goal in 23 of their 30 games this season...Olli Jokinen now has two goals in his last three games...The Flames were 0-4 on the power play generating four shots with the man advantage...

In the second period the Thrashers top sniper, Ilya Kovalchuk, slipped into the slot, dangled a little and then fired a snapper that was headed top shelf when Miikka Kiprusoff snatched it out of thin air with a terrific catcher save. Although Kiprusoff wasn't too busy in the second period (just six shots) that save kept the score at 1-0 and the Flames scored shortly after to give themselves a two-goal cushion. At the other end John Hedberg makes a great pad save on Eric Nystrom on a wrap-around attempt in the third.
F Rene Bourque might be reviewing a second period shot in his head overnight. He picked up a rebound and was looking a a wide-open, yawning net but slid the puck just wide. He did, however, make up for it by icing the game with an empty-net goal at 19:21...The Flames host Minnesota on Friday at the 'Dome in a game that will also be shown on Flames Pay-Per-View...Nigel Dawes had a second-period goal disallowed when it was ruled he high-sticked it into the net...Jarome Iginla had two assists and is now just six helpers shy of moving past Theo Fleury for second spot onb the Flames all-time assists list...In a third period fight Curtis Glencross claimed the decision over Atlanta's Colby Armstrong...


Miikka Kiprusoff
Strong start while his mates got going
Johan Hederg
Strong, 29-save performance in loss
Olli Jokinen
Scores, was a threat offensively all game

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