King Crowns L.A.
Iginla might be the only reason to watch the Flames these days, the
playoff fortunes of Calgary all but mathematically toasted.
But what a reason he is.
Iginla scored twice, his 45th and 46th of the season, while adding
another assist, to bring a near sellout crowd of 17,056 to its feet last
night at the Saddledome, all aware the performance they were watching
might eventually lead to an historic collection of awards at season end.
The tallies gave Iginla a formidable nine goal lead over Washington's
Petr Bondra in the race for the Maurice Richard Trophy, emblematic of
the NHL's best sniper. Iginla also widened his lead for the Art Ross
Trophy to nine over second place Markus Naslund of Vancouver atop the
NHL's points standings. And, of course, both those awards together might
be enough to push him over the top as the NHL's Hart Trophy winner, the
None of which has ever been done in the 22 year history of the
And, as an after-thought, Calgary won last night, 5-3 over the
visiting LA Kings, continuing their curious if not fatal predilection of
beating the better teams (3-0-1 against the Kings this year) while
struggling against the bottom feeders.
The victory left Calgary in something of no man's land in the NHL's
Western Conference, still eight points clear of 10th place Dallas but
comfortably ahead of 12th place Minnesota by five points. Flames are
29-31-12-3 on the year with the obvious goal in their seven remaining
games of finishing at .500 or better for the first time since 1994-95.
But the Iginla watch was on in a major way last night, the budding
Calgary superstar beginning to overcome a recent dry spell to pull
within four goals of 50 this season, the likelihood of his crossing that
barrier looking increasingly better with seven games left to go.
Iginla's total of 46 matches the sum of Theo Fleury in 1995-96.
Should Iginla reach 50, he would be the first Flame to do so since Gary
Roberts totalled 53 in 1991-92, ten years ago.
Chris Clark opened scoring at 19:08 of the first, whacking at a
fluttering puck near the side of the net and knocking it past LA starter
Calgary exteneded its lead to 2-0 when Iginla scored on the powerplay
at .3:52 of the second period, lifting a backhander past Potvin after
the Kings netminder had let out a juicy rebound on an Igor Kravchuk
But the Kings roared back to tie when Ronning drifted a screened
power play shot through Turek's pads at 4:49 of the second followed by
Mattias Norstrom pounding a blueline shot over Turek's shoulder at 11:12
with the teams playing four on four.
It was then Rob Niedermayer's turn for some rare heroics. Stepping
across the LA line, Niedermayer wired an explosive wrist shot past the
glove hand of Potvin at 5:39 of the third period. Dean McAmmond restored
Calgary's two goal lead at 16:06 of the third on the powerplay before
Jason Allison made the game close again at 17:03.
But Iginla, on another Flames powerplay, put this one on ice,
stripping the puck from Ronning only feet in front of Potvin and
whacking a backhander over the glove of the LA netminder at 19:11.
Kings outshot the Flames 28-26 and were particularly impressive on
the powerplay, although managing just one goal in five man advantage
opportunities. Calgary was a rare three for six on the powerplay.
Next up is Atlanta on April 2 as the Flames continue this five game
Jarome Iginla -
Minus one on the
night but three
tell a different
Adam Deadmarsh -
chances and physical
Roman Turek -
Numerous big saves
in the first ten
minutes to keep the
Flames in it. And
the best penalty
killer of the night.
OF THE GAME
the Flames ahead 1-0
in the first and
Calgary hemmed in
their own zone on an
LA powerplay, the
Kings tic-tac-toed a
passing play that
ended up on the
stick of Adam
Deadmarsh in the
one-timed a low shot
which Turek stopped
with a lightning pad
LA defencemen -
Phillipe Boucher and
Jaroslav Modry - all
played between 23
and 25 minutes of
ice time. Derek
Morris led the
Flames with 25:22 in
ice time . . . . . .
. Lost amid the
Iginla hoopla was
the fine game turned
in by Robyn Regehr,
much maligned this
year for a lack of
aggressiveness and a
But Regehr led the
Flames with six
thundering hits and
showing the promise
that has many
believing he will
eventually be a top
Smolinski and Mikko
Eloranta led the
Kings with four hits
apiece. . . . . . .
Flames were 58% in
the faceoff circle
led by the 70% of
Jeff Shantz. Jason
Allison was only 33%
for the Kings. . . .
. . . . Three time
LeMay Doan was on
hand for the