Conroy takes penalty heat

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 AM ET

BOSTON — Craig Conroy doesn’t smoke, but you would have understood if he had met the media with a cigarette in his mouth.

The Flames centre was ready for the firing squad.

A 5-0 thrashing is truly a team loss, but Conroy fell on the sword following Saturday’s matinee defeat at the hands of the host Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

He was in the box for the first two of the Bruins’ three powerplay goals which gave the hosts a 3-0 lead in Boston.

“First one, I definitely took the penalty. Second one,

I thought he grabbed my arm,” Conroy said of the infractions. “They scored on both of them. I felt like crap.”

To add insult to the mental injury, Conroy watched in horror on the fourth goal, too.

Patrice Bergeron was simply pushing the puck toward the front of the net in the hopes something would happen amidst the traffic headed to the cage, and it banked off Conroy’s skate and past Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

“I get the puck turned over, and when going back to the net looked to see if I could find a man, it went off my skate and in,” Conroy said. “You feel terrible.”

Seeing as the Bruins powerplay has struggled since losing Marc Savard to a concussion earlier this month, it was surprising to see them snap a 0-for-22 skid so emphatically.

But the Flames went into the game with a razor-thin margin of error and crossed the line in a hurry.

“I wasn’t pleased with the penalties we took,” said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. “(Thursday) night, it cost us a game — we took a neutral-zone penalty, a hooking infraction (on Nigel Dawes) — and (Saturday), we took hooking and holding infractions, (including) one 200 ft. from our net.

“You can’t do that. It’s not playoff hockey,” Sutter continued. “That’s why I harp on details and intelligent hockey, because at the end of the season, you need to have it.”

That’s not all the Flames need to have.

Their playoff aspirations have been nearly extinguished, so with just seven games remaining, their only hope is to be perfect the rest of the season and hope to get help from other teams.

That’s hoping for the best.

“Now, we’ve got seven games, and all you can say is ‘We’re going to go out and do our best.’ That’s all we can do,” said Conroy, who at age 38 knows full well his career could be winding down with the season.

“We’ve got to win — find a way. We’re not finding any ways right now.”


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