Ducks spell doom in Flames opener

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Lockout be damned, Sun columnist Eric Francis is determined to press ahead with the 2004-05 NHL season. Today he starts steering the Calgary Flames through their 82-game season using the latest video-game technology ... and a little imagination.

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The season opened much the same way it finished for the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup final.

Miikka Kiprusoff's heroics weren't enough, Robyn Regehr and Shean Donovan suffered injuries and the Flames lost 2-1 last night against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, as the 2004-05 regular season kicked off.

"I've seen this movie before and I didn't like how it ended the first time either," shrugged Flames coach Darryl Sutter. "We can't just count on Iggy to do everything -- we need a few more bodies if we're going to live up to the expectations you (media types) have put on us."

Iginla opened the scoring 15 minutes into the season, snapping home a nifty pass from linemate and pre-season star Matthew Lombardi, who has bounced back well from a playoff concussion that ruined his summer.

The Flames captain then found himself in a second-period fight with Keith Carney that did little to pump up a Flames squad that immediately allowed goals by Sergei Fedorov and Andy McDonald.

From there, J-S Giguere outduelled Kiprusoff with a series of circus-like saves.

Penalty problems forced Kiprusoff to make a large number of his 22 saves in spectacular fashion, while both Regehr and Donovan left the game early following separate slashing incidents. Regehr shrugged off the wrist injury, suggesting, if anything, his badminton career would be put on hold. Donovan's departure raises speculation the knee injury suffered in last year's final isn't completely healed yet. Both are expected to miss tomorrow's game in L.A.


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