Ribero and the Stars Dowse the Streaking Flames

Jason HackettAnalyst IDecember 22, 2007

Icon Sports MediaThe game started off on the wrong foot for Mike Ribero, as he was leveled less then a minute into the game. It would be him who would get the last laugh though!

The Calgary Flames had turned around their season, having won six in a row during their last road stand. Coming into tonight's contest, the Stars just flew into town after losing to Vancouver the night before.

The Flames were hoping to take advantage of the tired Stars team and continue their streak. Dion Phaneuf knew that the Flames had to wear down the Stars, and just 57 seconds into the game, he leveled Mike Ribero with a viscous (but clean hit). The Flames were pumped up after the hit, and thought that they would be able to continue this trend the entire night.

Ribeiro was never known for his hitting ability, nor his physical retaliations, but he is one of the hottest players on the Stars roster right now. So less then two minutes later, he would get retribution on Phaneuf by picking up the puck in front of Kiprusoff and backhanding home the first goal of the game.

It was a very nice play by Ribeiro, as he out waited Kipper and roofed one past the sprawling Flames netminder. The rest of the period saw the teams go back and forth, with the Stars taking most of the advantages, lead by Hagman's undying shooting touch.

The second period saw the Flames come out flying, no doubt having had a stern talking to by Mike Keenan. On a blast from the point, Tanguay was able to pick up the loose puck and bury it into the wide open net. Some Stars players were complaining about Goaltender interference on the play, as both Tanguay and Boyd were planted in front of Mike Smith as the shot from Regehr came through—but the refs saw nothing.

Later in the period, the Flames killed of a crucial penalty, looking like the old defensive minded team that was just one game away from winning the Stanley Cup a few years back. Just as the penalty had expired, Lombardi took a pass from Dion Phaneuf (as he returned to the ice) who turned on the jets. Having gotten past four Stars players, he wristed a shot towards the net.

Unfortunately for Mike Smith, he was way out of position and the shot had some deadly accuracy, as it bulged the twine in the top right hand corner. The Flames were flying high, but the Stars kept charging back.

Calgary was struggling to get anything offensive going, despite the fact the Stars were playing with just five defensemen for most of the night. The Stars began to use their team speed to their advantage, as Nicklas Hagman took his eighth shot of the night and tied up the game as he wristed home a cross crease pass from Loui Erickson.

The remainder of the third saw many scoring chances for both sides, but both Kipper and Smith were on top of their game.

Late in the third, Antti Miettinen took a hooking penalty with just under two minutes left in the third. The Flames tried desperately to score the probable game winner, but in attempt after attempt, the Flames were stymied and unable to score.

Playing four and three to start the O.T. period, the Flames fans in the dome were just humming for a goal—but the Flames were only able to muster one shot. The Stars took the puck after the kill and entered the Flames zone, where Zubov took a shot towards the net and Ribeiro, being johnny-on-the-spot, deflected the puck past Kiprusoff and into the net. It was his second of the night and the obvious game winner.

Side note: The Flames have now lost more games at home so far this season than all of last season combined. Jarome Iginla had his goal streak ended at five games, during which he scored eight goals. Ribeiro now has seven goals and twelve points in his last seven games; eat your heart out Canadiens!

The three stars of the game were Alex Tanguay, Niklas Hagman, and Dion Phaneuf. I guess scoring two big goals doesn't give you a star any more :)