If the Calgary Flames are ever to bounce out of their seven-year-and-counting-funk, they will need more than Jarome Iginla and crossed fingers.
Last night the Flames managed to pop five goals behind the NHL's third best defensive team, the New Jersey Devils, winning 5-4 in overtime largely thanks to a second straight dominating effort from Chris Drury, Martin Gelinas and Oleg Saprykin, collecting six points among them, the kind of offensive explosion from secondary sources that has been largely missing this entire season.
For a game that started as a grinding chess-match only a purist might have appreciated, ended with a wild bang, eight goals in the final two periods, the Flames recovering from a late 4-3 deficit on Oleg Saprykin's deflection to force overtime.
From there Martin Gelinas came down the left side, patiently waited for Jarome Iginla to crowd the crease and then banked a shot off the leg of Devils defenceman Scott Stevens and behind a floundering Corey Schwab for the victory at 1:54 of the extra frame.
The contest was reminiscent of Calgary's efforts in the opening month of this campaign, Iginla only a minor factor, goaltender Roman Turek less than stellar but the Flames finding a way to pop four or five and pull some points out of the hat.
Observers of this team through the entire season might be forgiven if they fail to remember that Calgary, entering November, was in the top third of the league in goal-scoring, finding ways offensively to get themselves out of trouble and building a 5-3-3-2 record after 13 games, largely thanks to the efforts of a credible second line.
But the wheels fell off shortly thereafter, Calgary scoring only three times in its next seven games, shutout in four of them and the dive for the bottom of the standings had begun.
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Even with nine goals scored in its last two games, Calgary is the third-worst offensive team in the NHL and not coincidentally, in roughly the same place in the standings as well.
For the first time in weeks, the Flames actually have someone in their rear-view mirror in the standings, the victory advancing Calgary past idle Columbus in the Western Conference Standings with a 21-31-10-4 record.
Jersey jumped into a 2-0 lead on goals by Scott Stevens late in the first period, a play that left starter Roman Turek with a cut on his nose after he was hammered to the ice, and Brian Rafalski late in the second.
But Calgary roared back with two quick ones only moments later, first Martin Gelinas finding the net behind Schwab then a sensational marker by Rob Niedermayer, the big Calgary winger emerging from a blueline scrum to rocket in front of Schwab and lift the puck high into the net.
Calgary took a 3-2 lead at 7:33 of the third when Drury crossed the Jersey blueline and demonstrated his quick hands, catching Schwab off guard with a bullet of a wrist shot. But Patrik Elias and then Jamie Langenbrunner, the latter a soft goal of the kind that has killed the Flames this year, beat Turek at 8:22 and 15:47 respectively, the latter score seemingly the final nail in the coffin for the offensively challenged Flames.
Calgary outshot Jersey 32-26 on the night and neither team was able to score with the man advantage, the Flames zero for five and the Devils zero for four.
Next up for the Flames is Chicago on Friday, the Hawks losers of eight straight and not doing any favours for the legions of Oiler haters out there.