As the Brier patch looks longingly at the Pengrowth Saddledome ice, the Flames had one more game to take care of before leaving the friendly confines of home ice for seven straight on the road. Tonight, the Flames welcome the team that stole the 2004 Stanley Cup from them, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The last time these two teams met, the Flames won in a most bizarre game by a bizarre score of 9-6. That couldn’t possibly happen again could it? Uhm.. funny you should ask.
On The Line
For the Flames, keeping the bulge on the Canucks at 10 points, assuming the Canucks could win their game against the Blue Jackets, and some good vibes before the team heads out on the road. For the Lightning: “dude, can we go home so I can work on my tan?”
The game did not start out well for the home side. There was a lot of standing around, watching what else was going on around the rink, and midway through the first, the standing around cost the Flames as a puck squeezed out on to Eric Nystrom’s stick, he got a tap on the arm, and the puck slid off his stick right onto the waiting one of Evgeni Artyukhin and the visitors are up 1-0 quickly. But before the end of the first, Jarome Iginla would get one goal closer to 400, and tie the Flames franchise record for all-time scoring as a scramble in front of the net would allow Iginla to fish the puck out and push it behind McKenna to tie the game. Not a great start to the game, but things were going to get interesting, and quickly.
The second didn’t start off much better than the first, as the hobbit, Martin St. Louis would net his first in 8 games to put the visitors up 2-1. Shortly after however, history would be set as Jarome Iginla trying to centre the puck to Mike Cammalleri would bounce the puck off of Mark Recci, and onto the stick of Dion Phaneuf who blasted the puck towards the net for Craig Conroy to tip past McKenna to tie the game up. But Iginla wasn’t done there. Moments later, on a power-play, Mike Cammalleri would get his 33rd of the season from David Moss, and Jarome Iginla. The first assist for Iginla wasn’t originally credited, so Iginla made sure of things. And moments after that, defensive scoring king, Cory Sarich would fire a puck towards the net that Jamie Lundmark would get a tip on and the Flames were up 4-2. Our frantic night of goal scoring was not done there though. Tampa would score three more before the period was out on goals from Lecavalier, Stamkos and Prospal. Flames fans were shaking their heads heading into the second intermission.
The historic night for Jarome Iginla wasn’t over yet, a questionable decision by Flames head coach Mike Keenan to put Curtis McElhinney in net might have sparked the Flames as Jarome Iginla would get his 400th career NHL goal on a slapshot feed from Craig Conroy. But the decision to replace Kiprusoff would prove to be dubious at best. Tampa Bay would answer right back as a wild rebound off the initial Mark Recchi shot would land directly on the stick of Ryan Malone who made no mistake pounding the puck past McElhinney. Then on a Robyn Regehr double minor for high-sticking Vincent Lecavallier, the aforementioned Lecavalier would blast his second of the night behind McElhinney, who’s replacement only seemed to exacerbate the Flames problems. With a late power-play and the goalie pulled, the Flames would get within one as Jarome Iginla would get his fifth point of the night on Todd Bertuzzi’s 15th of the season. The hobbit would get an empty netter to end the game 8-6. We beat you by one more, so we’re still better than you are.
1. Jarome Iginla: The guy got five points, two goals, his 400th goal of his career, and now leads the Flames in every category of interest.
2. Mike McKenna: Hard to believe that a guy who allowed six goals can be the second star, but his saves were timely, stoning the Flames when they were pressing for the tie.
3. Mark Recchi: Five assists on the night for the aging veteran.
There were saves in this game? Well.. yes, count any of McKenna’s saves in the final moments of the game with the Flames trying to score the tying goal..
There was a lot of hitting tonight. Jim Vandermeer had #91 in his targeting system, and Regehr’s Tunnel of Death was open for business. And when in doubt, go with the TOD. Regehr slammed David Koci into the end boards in spectacular fashion.
Uhm, goatending (intentional). Kiprusoff wasn’t too good, but McElhinney was abhorrent.
Give this one to Vincent Lecavalier for creating the chance that drew the power-play for the game winning goal, and scoring that winning goal as well.
Odds and Ends
On a night where all we want to talk about is Jarome Iginla, there is a black mark. No one will remember the details of tonight’s game, but the loss, and the epic failure of the loss tonight, will be fresh on the minds of fans and players tonight. But alas, the historic nature of tonight’s game will outlast all. And it should make things easier to forget, and tonight is a game the Flames will want to forget for sure. The further question that tonight’s game brings up is how will the Flames play against the East on this road trip? If they get into this loosey goosey, pond hockey dribble, then who knows how this trip will go. But if the Flames play the Western conference game, then they have nothing to worry about.
Just forget about tonight, except for the unforgettable parts.
Calgary starts the Brier tournament in Ottawa on Tuesday night on Pay-Per-View. The game starts at 5:30 MT.
Lines (To Start):
Cammalleri – Conroy – Iginla
Lundmark – Lombardi – Bertuzzi
Glencross – Boyd – Moss
Van der Gulik – Peters – Nystrom
Phaneuf – Vandermeer
Regehr – Aucoin
Sarich – Pardy