People wonder why I don’t watch hockey anymore? lol.
- Wins: 25
- losses: 30
- shootout wins: 3
- shootout losses: 3
- points: 54
Flames cruise past Leafs, 5-1
Wednesday, 02.15.2012 / 12:49 AM
CALGARY — Hockey fans in Calgary were a lot more welcoming to the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs than the Flames were at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night.
In front of a decidedly pro-Maple Leafs crowd, Toronto was shown a lot less love by the Flames — on Valentine’s Day, no less — handing the Maple Leafs a 5-1 loss and pushing Toronto’s losing streak to a season-high four games.
“I’m kind of disappointed we let them down,” coach Ron Wilson said. “There’s a huge Leaf contingent.”
The victory maintains Calgary’s dominance over Toronto on home ice. The Flames haven’t lost to the Maple Leafs in Calgary since Dec. 27, 2002 — a string of seven consecutive games.
Calgary had especially little affection for Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, back for just the second time since being dealt from Calgary on Jan. 31, 2010. Despite the rambunctious crowd cheering on the road team, Phaneuf was loudly booed by the Flames faithful every time he touched the puck.
Alex Tanguay, who finished with a goal and two assists, wasn’t about to admit to hearing the jeers.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Tanguay said. “We knew that he’d get fired up for this game.”
Flames fans ended up with the last cheer despite some tense moments to start the game.
The teams traded posts early on. Seeing his first action in seven games after an injury sidelined Carl Gunnarsson, Mike Komisarek rang the crossbar on a seeing-eye shot from the point just 1:44 in. Jarome Iginla countered by finding iron at 4:28.
But Tanguay found the back of the net just 15 seconds later. Taking a pass from the corner from Olli Jokinen, Tanguay fired the puck over the blocker of goalie Jonas Gustavsson to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Tanguay returned the favor at 8:13. After hesitating with the puck at the Toronto blue line, Iginla sprung Tanguay and Jokinen in on a 2-on-1. Tanguay found Jokinen, who one-timed the pass into the net before Gustavsson could react.
Miikka Kiprusoff did his best to keep the Maple Leafs off the board, making a glove save after Joffrey Lupul deflected a Phaneuf point shot. On the ensuing faceoff, Toronto broke through on its 14th shot of the period. Tyler Bozak set up on Kiprusoff’s doorstep and managed to bang home his sixth goal in eight games with 3:18 remaining in the period to bring the Leafs within one.
Phil Kessel almost evened the game at 7:01 of the second period. Rushing down the slot, Kessel one-timed a pass flush off the crossbar. The misfortune proved costly for Toronto near the midway mark of the game.
After taking a lob-pass from Cory Sarich, recently-recalled Paul Byron streaked in all alone on Gustavsson. Before Byron could get his shot off, he was hauled down by Phaneuf and awarded a penalty shot. Byron picked up the puck, came down the middle and went wide right before cutting back and firing a shot past Gustavsson’s blocker to put the Flames up 3-1 at 9:15.
“It’s just the same move as I do every day in practice or in any other penalty shot or shootout … just stay calm, stay focused,” Byron said. “I made a couple fakes, read what the goalie gives me and just make the best move.”
It is the second consecutive game the Flames have received a goal from a player immediately after being summoned from the Abbotsford Heat, Calgary’s American Hockey League affiliate. Roman Horak scored in his NHL return Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
“There’s a lot of opportunity here,” Byron said. “There’s a lot of important guys out of the lineup. I think other guys on the team have got to step up and respond to that and I think everyone’s doing that.”
Gustavsson did his best to keep the Maple Leafs in the game in the third.
After Tanguay put the puck over the net on a partial breakaway, he turned aside a Blake Comeau blast near the midway mark of the third period.
But Comeau eventually got the better of Gustavsson, taking a Michael Cammalleri pass from behind the net and putting it over the glove of the goaltender with 4:51 remaining in the game. Iginla added another with 2:16 left, firing the puck over Gustavsson’s glove for his 22nd goal of the season.
“That’s how the game’s going to be when we have to gamble a bit,” Gustavsson said. “It doesn’t really matter in the end if you lose 3-1 or 5-1. At least we gave it a chance to come back.”
The pair of tallies iced the game for Calgary and gave Kiprusoff his 302nd career victory, tying Turk Broda for 25th on the all-time list.
“He’s won a Vezina,” Phaneuf said of Kiprusoff, who stopped 41 shots. “He knows how to win games. He’s one of the top goalies in the League. He’s had a lot of success and he played extremely well tonight for them.”