Iggy Claims Trophy Share in Loss 

Bring On Those Wily Canucks!

April 4th, 2004

He's a Rocket man once again.

It took until the final game of the season for Jarome Iginla to overcome a poor start to this campaign, scoring his 23rd in his last 34 games and 41st of the campaign in a 2-1 loss yesterday in Anaheim, a goal that allows him to climb into an historic three way tie atop the NHL scoring race with Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Rick Nash of Columbus.

It is only the second time in NHL history three players have led the league in goal scoring in a single season, the above trio joining Charlie Simmer of Los Angeles, Danny Gare of Buffalo and Blaine Stoughton of Hartford with 56 each in the 1979-80 season.

It is the lowest total to win a scoring championship since Gordie Howe's 38 in 1962-63, although Howe accomplished the feat in a 70 game schedule.

Pro-rated to 82 games, the winning total this year is the lowest since Ted Lindsay's 33 in 1947-48, also in a 70 game schedule.

To suppose that Iginla would have arrived at this point seemed unthinkable weeks before Christmas when he was mired at five goals, ridiculed left and right, his leadership questioned, even his own coach saying he was a "30 goal man," the same moment in time Kovalchuk had jumped into the goal scoring lead with 18 and Nash had 16.

Rendering his achievement all the more remarkable has been his continued lack of success on the power play, only eight of his 41 goals coming with the man advantage, a fairly low percentage for a Rocket Richard Trophy winner. In comparison, Nash had 19 power play goals and Kovalchuk 16 this season.

But there he is again, atop the league scoring race, having done it the hard way, his employer once again facing the difficult challenge of trying to sign him in the off-season.

Iginla's pursuit of the scoring title was only one of many subplots in this final game of the 2003-2004 regular season, the Flames finding out early in the contest they would be facing Vancouver in the first round of the playoffs after Dallas secured a victory over hapless Chicago.

It will be Calgary's first playoff appearance in eight seasons.

The much-maligned Roman Turek quietly completed a personal shutout streak of 180:03 before allowing two quick goals to Vaclav Prospal and Sergei Fedorov midway through the third period as the Ducks pulled away for the 2-1 win.

Turek's streak eclipses the mark of 160:07 established by Fred Brathwaite in 2001 but does not qualify as an official record as it was not performed in consecutive games.

By not playing in this game, Miikka Kiprusoff secured a modern day NHL record for the lowest goals against average in a single season at 1.6949, eclipsing the 1.72 mark established last season by Marty Turco of Dallas.

Calgary was also attempting to win its 22nd on the road, which would have tied a club record.

The loss, snapping a three game win streak, leaves the Flames 42-30-7-3 in 2003-2004, good for 94 points, the highest point total for a Flames team since a 42 win/97 point campaign in 1993-94, ten seasons ago. Calgary finishes a comforable sixth in the wild Western Conference, a result few would have predicted on opening night.

Iginla opened scoring in this game at 9:26 of the second period, breaking free shorthanded, his hard wrist shot beating Giguere through the wickets to give Calgary a 1-0 margin.

"I was very fortunate to get the one I got," said Iginla after the game on FAN960. "I went in and fortunately the puck found five-hole."

Iginla found his teammates foregoing obvious scoring opportunities in an effor to feed him the puck, a likely factor in a game that was likely the only meaningless contest Calgary would play this year.

"The other team started to key on it and there wasn't a lot of room out there," he said.

The roof fell in on Calgary quickly in the third period, Turek falling away from the post as Martin Skoula cleverly popped the water bottle over his shoulder at 8:05 to tie the game then Sergei Federov following up with a nifty backhand that found a seam through traffic and through Turek's legs at 9:59.

While Calgary poured on the juice and had several point blank opportunities in the final minutes, Giguere looked to be in his previously lost Conn Smythe form, securing the victory for the home side on Fan Appreciation Night.

Calgary was scoreless in five powerplay opportunities while the Ducks scored once in four extra man advantages.

Anaheim outshot the Flames 26-23.

Next up is Vancouver on the road, believed to be on Wednesday evening as the curtain rises on the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Yes, THOSE playoffs.





1) Jean Sebastien Giguere - The Iginla goal wasn't a world beater but the ex-Flame and former Conn Smythe Trophy winner was the margin of difference.

2) Jarome Iginla - It wasn't just the goal that gained him a star, it was also 20:59 in ice time and six shots attesting to a dominating performance.

3) Sergei Fedorov - Misses the playoffs for the first time in his career but goes down fighting with the game winner.

With seconds remaining, Giguere flashed out a left pad to rob Mike Commodore in front of the Anaheim net and, if you want to throw in another one, robbing Iginla on a one timer only a short time later.

Denis Gauthier found Vaclav Prospal near the faceoff dots in the Calgary zone, sending the Anaheim forward flying with a solid, confrontational check.

Ville Nieminen sat out the game, resting his arm after being whacked with a stick against LA Friday night. . . . . . Oleg Sapyrkin and Andrew Ference were healthy scratches while the status of Stephane Yelle continues to be nebulous. Calgary can also ill-afford to be without Toni Lydman on defence heading to Vancouver. . . . . .Flames were a miserable 34% in the faceoff circle, one of their worst performances of the season, Craig Conroy leading the way at 50%.The Ducks had four players with a success rate exceeding 60%. . . . . .Robyn Regehr led Calgary with 24:17 in ice time while Ruslan Salei led the Ducks at 23:33 . . . . . Garrett Burnett of Anaheim may face some league disciplinary action carrying over into next season after jumping Krzysztof Oliwa from behind and earning a two minute instigating penalty, five minutes for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and a game misconduct in the first period. . . . . . Ex-Flame Martin St. Louis, a leading candidate for the Hart Trophy in the off-season, had some complimentary comments for former Flames director of player personnel Nick Polano in a Tampa paper. "(Polano) signed me in Calgary. When he got fired, I called him and thanked him for believing in me." . . . . . .

Simon Conroy Iginla 
Gelinas Lombardi Clark 
Oliwa Nilson Donovan 
Sonnenberg Loyns Kobasew

Regehr Leopold 
Gauthier Warrener 
Commodore Montador

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