Martin Gelinas was the hero of Game 7 against Vancouver, scoring the winning goal in Overtime to send the Flames on to the next stage of the Stanley Cup playoffs. So it should come as no surprise that when Game 1 of the Flames/Wings series went into OT, Gelinas would be on the ice for the big moment. Gelinas fought off three Red Wings behind the Red Wing net to get the puck over to Marcus Nilson, who fired a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the Red Wing net, giving the Flames a 2-1 victory and stealing a 1-0 lead in the series.
Once again the story of the game was Miikka Kiprusoff who faced 28 shots on the night, many of them in the first period when the Wings totally controlled the flow of play. The wings out shot the Flames 13-2 in the first frame and kept the Flames away from Curtis Joseph for the first ten minutes of the period. However, the longer the game went on the more the Flames got into their groove, slowly getting more shots on Cujo and by the third they were out battling the Wings for the puck for a good portion of the period.
With overtime came the scrambles in the Red Wing end and the will power of Gelinas to move the puck, something he did with great style. Popping the puck out to Nilson for the winner. Jarome Iginla was held off the score sheet, with only two shots on the night, as the Red Wing defence managing to slow him down and keep him under wraps. But as Iginla said after the game, the great thing about the season is that any night somebody different is winning a game for us. Tonight it was Nilson’s turn to shine.
Detroit got the scoring underway at 6:15 of the second on a goal from Robert Lang. Robyn Reghyr tied the game for the Flames with 2 minutes to go in the second. Cujo faced 16 shots in the loss as a suddenly silent Hockeytown crowd sat back stunned at the twist of fate for game one.
The key problem for the Wigs was once again the power play, which went 0-6. A carry over from the Nashville series where they went 2-29 against the Preds with a man advantage. Unless the Wings can solve that troublesome statistic they will continue to play with fire against a team that mucks and grinds their way to a victory.
It only takes one goal to win, you can outplay the Flames and out shoot them, but with Kiprusoff in the nets it’s getting harder and harder to outscore them. And as Marty Gelinas showed on Tuesday night and Marcus Nilson proved tonight, the Flames only need one clear shot to salt away another win.
Game two goes Saturday afternoon at the Joe, having already split the opening two games and gaining home ice advantage, the Flames will be aiming to burn the Wings again. If game two somehow ends up in overtime watch for Marty, when he has the puck good fortune follows.