Thursday, February 02, 2006

Columbus Blue Jackets put out the Flames

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Gerard Gallant gave Marc Denis a rare start in consecutive start. It turned out to be a good decision. Denis made 36 saves during the game then added two more clutch stops in the shootout to lead Columbus to a 2-1 victory aagainst the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night.
The shootout was over quickly thanks to goals by Jaroslav Balastik and Rick Nash, the first two Columbus shooters, and Denis' stops on Tony Amonte and Jarome Iginla.
''I'm a big fan of the shootout right now because I'm 2-0 and I've stopped all five shots I've seen,'' said Denis, who has won his last five starts. Especially gratifying to Denis was clinching the win with a stop on Iginla.
''I was glad I could face one of the best players in the NHL 1-on-1 to decide the game, that's a thrill right there,'' said Denis, who had been alternating starts with rookie Pascal Leclaire the past month. ''That's why the shootout is such a big deal with the fans and that's why I think the players are fans of it too.''
Nikolai Zherdev scored for the Blue Jackets, winners of nine of their last 12.
Iginla scored the lone goal for Calgary, which has lost four of their its last five and had its six-game home winning streak snapped. It was the Flames' second straight shootout loss.
''It doesn't feel good losing two in shootouts,'' said Iginla. ''We just couldn't find that second goal in regulation tonight.''
Iginla had a great chance to win it overtime but with Denis down and unable to reach the rebound of Iginla's initial shot, the Flames captain fired the puck off Denis' pad.
''Denis made a good save on that one in overtime,'' Iginla said. ''Obviously I probably should have chipped it up. It would have been nice to see that one go in.''
Calgary also had a power-play in overtime when Columbus forward David Vyborny was penalized for tripping giving the Flames just their second power-play opportunity of the game. However, the Flames could not convert the 4-on-3.
''It was a good test for us tonight,'' Columbus' Sergei Fedorov said. ''We were a patient team, we stayed with the program, and we played well defensively.''
Zherdev tied the game 1-1 at 16:43 of the second period, taking advantage of a pair of bad breaks for the Flames.
Defensemen Robyn Regehr and Rhett Warrener were both whistled for delay of game penalties 6 seconds apart for accidentally shooting the puck over the glass. With 6 seconds left in the two-man advantage, Zherdev was set up at the faceoff dot by Rostislav Klesla and he one-timed a low slap shot inside the near post before goalie Miikka Kiprusoff could slide across the crease.
''I don't think they were careless,'' Sutter said about the penalties. ''They were under pressure and if it hits one inch down then its out of the zone and they were both trying to ice the puck.''
Back home after a five-game road trip, Calgary started fast jumping out to a 1-0 lead 5:26 into the first period. Iginla raced down the right wing and zipped a wrist shot from 30 feet out into
the top corner.

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