Flames penalty-killers are in shutdown mode

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:08 PM ET


 The Tampa Bay Lightning rode to the Stanley Cup final on the strength of the power play.

 During one phenomenal stretch against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Bolts scored on seven of eight tries.

 But against the Calgary Flames, they are 2-for-18 and trail the best-of-seven final 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled tonight.

 One of the Flames' top penalty- killers, Stephane Yelle, said his team studied Tampa's power play and made adjustments.

 "We weren't on the same page as a unit," said Yelle. "Then we watched video and worked on things that needed to be worked on. As a unit, we felt better and we felt we weren't as out of place as the first couple of games."

 But there was also some improvisation, according to Craig Conroy, another of Calgary's penalty-killers.

 "I came around from behind the net, I had the puck and I went to throw it up to the board-side winger, which is Oleg Saprykin," explained Conroy. "It looked like he was wide open, but as soon as I get ready to make the pass, (Tampa's) D is already on their way there.

 "When we have been rimming around the boards or trying to throw it up the boards, it seems like they keep it in 90% of the time. So after that, I said: 'Okay, if we're going to do that again, we've got to start using the middle and different parts of the ice.' They just do such a good job at keeping the puck in."

 The Lightning always pinch the strong-side defenceman on power plays, so the Flames want their own defencemen to skate it out a little more, rather than just rim it around to a winger covered by a pinching defenceman.

 "If we can start doing that," said Conroy, "moving it away, moving it to the centre more, chipping it high off the glass, maybe to get in foot races with the guys pinching, we can get some odd-man rushes."

 And when a team as fast as Calgary gets in foot races for loose pucks, it's usually an unpleasant prospect for the opposition.


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