High-scoring tilt takes Flames down memory lane

PETER MAHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

When it comes to the birthplace of current Calgary Flames, the community providing the greatest influence is Edmonton.

Rarely do the four capital city boys on the Flames roster try to say much to teammates from other locales about their hometown, but they do have their moments.

Like when the Flames and Tampa engaged in, for this era, a once in a blue-moon game last Thursday.

The 9-6 Flames victory, in jest, brought out the kid in the Edmontonians, with prodding from some of their teammates, like guys from Potsdam, N.Y., Syosset, N.Y., Recife, Brazil, and Turko, Finland.

For a broadcaster, it brought back memories of the Flames-Oilers battles in the '80s, some not-so-pleasant.

The current Flames, some of whom were barely old enough to walk, let alone skate, when 8-7, 9-6, and 7-5 games were relatively common, had a little dressing room fun as they revelled in their recent rarity.

The players recalled how the '80s Oilers, regardless of who they were up against, would jump into a lead, slow down and then pour it on at the end.

That was the way it went in the Flames conquest of the Lightning.

Flames players had fun making individual player comparisons with the Oiler dynasty years, as though they were casting audition for roles in a movie.

Miikka Kiprusoff was Hall-of-Famer Grant Fuhr, the goalie who'd allow some goals early in games, but slam the door when it was on the line.

Defenceman Dion Phaneuf, an Edmontonian who had five assists against the Lightning -- one shy of Gary Suter's Flame record for defencemen -- was Paul Coffey.

Captain Jarome Iginla, another native of the provincial capital, was cast as Jari Kurri after notching three goals and one assist.

Kristian Huselius, with three goals and two helpers, assumed the role of fellow Swede Kent Nilsson for his wizardry with the puck.

Mark Smith, another Edmonton-born Flame, drew a favourable comparison to a smaller version of Dave Semenko.

Somehow, Calgary rookie Eric Nystrom got to be Wayne Gretzky for the fantasy game, perhaps thanks to a couple of nifty manoeuvres he made in the game without scoring.

Daymond Langkow, another member of the Edmonton clan, was given the junior-sized Mark Messier role, although Owen Nolan had the build to play the Hall-of-Fame centre.

There is no debate the Oilers of the '80s were great, but they never had a long road trip as successful as the one the Flames just completed.

The double hat-tricks a week ago, executed by Huselius and Iginla, marked the sixth time during the club's stint in Calgary that the feat has been achieved, but the first in 14 years. The past produced a few unlikely candidates for three-goal games.

Ron Stern was in the midst of one of his rare scoring streaks on Feb. 4, 1993 when he and Robert Reichel both notched hat-tricks against San Jose. Until the contest vs. the Lightning, that's the last time the Flames had celebrated a pair of three-goal games.

The first time it occurred, it was a predictable pair. Lanny McDonald and Kent Nilsson achieved the feat in February 1983 in a 7-3 win over Pittsburgh.

A year later, also against the Penguins, McDonald collaborated with Doug Risebrough to produce a pair of hats.

Joey Mullen, like McDonald, was also involved twice. The first was in January 1989, when he hooked up with another high-scorer, Joe Nieuwendyk, against the Los Angeles Kings.

Later the same year, Mullen teamed up with a most unlikely source, Dana Murzyn, to achieve the feat.

Rarities. That's the catchword describing the present-day Flames longest road trip of the season, which wrapped up last night in Columbus.

Even coach Mike Keenan got into the act, becoming the sixth coach in NHL history to win 600 games.


Videos

Photos