50 For Iginla; Flames Lose

Rick Charlton

April 8th, 2002

As the final moments tick off on another year without a post-season, it seems the final score in many of these waning games has become irrelevant for the Calgary Flames.

The focus instead is the mesmerizing watch of Jarome Iginla's pursuit of the Art Ross and Maurice Richard trophies.

Iginla didn't disappoint last night, striking twice for his 50th and 51st goals of the season in a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Black Hawks in Chicago. It was the 11th time this season Iginla has scored two or more goals.

Iginla becomes only the seventh Flame in Calgary's 22 year history to score 50 or more goals, joining luminaries Lanny McDonald, Haken Loob, Joey Mullen, Theo Fleury, Joe Nieuwendyk and Gary Roberts.

With only three games left and an 11 goal lead over Boston's Bill Guerin, it is a pretty safe assumption that Iginla will be the runaway winner of the NHL's Rocket Richard Trophy as the league's premier goal scorer.

The two points also give Iginla a fairly imposing lead over Vancouver's Markus Naslund for the Art Ross Trophy for the NHL's points championship. Iginla, with 51 goals, 43 assists for 94 points, now has a 10 point lead over Naslund (who had two points early in his game last night), the latter with only four games left to play.

The loss dropped the Flames to 31-33-12-3 on the season for 77 points and 11th spot in the NHL's Western Conference. Calgary would need to go 2-0-1 at the very least in their final three games to finish with a .500 record on the season.

The victory was the 400th of Brian Sutter's coaching career. The loss was the sixth straight on the road for the Flames and the ninth game in a row without a win outside the Saddledome.

Calgary was fortunate to be even close in this game after being thoroughly outplayed in the first period, down 3-0 at one point before closing the gap to make things interesting.

In a moment eerily reminiscent of last year - in fact, the night before - Iginla lost the puck to Tony Amonte who tossed to Alex Zhamnov for the one-timer on Calgary starter Mike Vernon. Amonte stuffed the rebound from beside the net.

The Flames surrendered 10 first shot goals last season - many by Vernon - and while technically the second shot in this game the effect was still the same.

Roman Turek gave up Nashville's opening marker the previous night scarcely a minute into that game as well.

Another Chicago odd man rush was cashed by Steve Sullivan on a deflection of a Steve Poapst, putting the Flames down 2-0 only 5:50 in.

The shifty Michael Nylander was inexplicably left alone with Vernon at 17:45, deking the veteran Flames netminder out of his shorts before lifting a backhand into the net for a crippling 3-0 Chicago lead.

Then it was Iginla at 19:41, rocketing down the wing and blowing a classic power play slapper over Thibault's shoulder, popping the water bottle for his 50th of the season.

Iginla added his 51st while on his back, dragging the rebound of his original shot under his body and into the net at 5:51 of the second period.

It was only Calgary's seventh shot of the game.

Iginla had several chances the rest of the way but Thibault was equal to the challenge.

Flames were one for five on the power play while Chicago was zero for seven.

Hawks outshot the Flames 33-17.

Attendance was 17,009.

Next up is Phoenix at the Saddledome Tuesday night.




Chicago Blackhawks 3
Calgary Flames 2

Box Score


Wright Conroy Iginla
McAmmond Niedermayer Clark
Berube Shantz Nichol
-- Betts Christie
Morris Regehr
Buzek Lydman
Boughner Kravchuk


1 Jarome Iginla - two goals and probably cinched the scoring championship as well. 

2 Michael Nylander - goal and an assist and a great compliment to Sullivan 

3 Steve Sullivan - goal and an assist and buzzing all night


Late in the second period, Nylander was caught with his head down by Bob Boughner, flattening the Chicago winger amid gasps from the hometown crowd.


Dean McAmmond on a power play nearly brought the Flames back to a 2-1 deficit but a quick glove hand from Jocelyn Thibault left the Flames shaking their heads in frustration.


Steve Montador was the latest call-up from Saint John. . . . . . . .Iginla played 6:58 of the first, 8:02 of the second and 8:37 in the third. . . . . Chicago entered the third period leading with the knowledge they were 30-0-3 in previous similar situations this year. . . . . . . Flames entered the game 4-1-1 in their last six against Chicago but the loss gave the season series to Chicago 2-1-1. . . . . . .Scott Nichol was 75% in the faceoff circle while the Flames were 54% overall. One of the worst nights of the season for Conroy at 36%. Alex Zhamnov and Sullivan were both 66%. . . . . . . Nichol and Chris Clark led the Flames with five hits each while the Flames had 25 on the night. Hawks were led by Poapst with six hits and had 27 on the night. . . . . . Vernon had four giveaways on the night - half the Flames total. . . . . . . Regehr had four blocked shots.