Scoring King Crowns L.A. 

Rick Charlton

March 30th, 2002


Jarome 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 league MVP.

None of which has ever been done in the 22 year history of the Calgary Flames.

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 Felix Potvin.

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 point shot.

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 homestand.



Calgary Flames 5
Los Angeles Kings 3

Box Score


McAmmond Conroy Iginla
Wright Niedermayer Clark
Begin Shantz Sloan
Berube Nichol Petrovicky
Morris Regehr
Gauthier Lydman
Boughner Kravchuk


1) Jarome Iginla - Minus one on the night but three powerplay points tell a different story. 

2) Adam Deadmarsh - numerous quality chances and physical all night. 

3) Roman Turek - Numerous big saves in the first ten minutes to keep the Flames in it. And the best penalty killer of the night.


With 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 slot. Deadmarsh one-timed a low shot which Turek stopped with a lightning pad save.


Four LA defencemen - Mathieu Schneider, Mattias Norstrom, 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 brutal plus/minus. But Regehr led the Flames with six thundering hits and played well positionally with partner Morris, showing the promise that has many believing he will eventually be a top flight NHL defenceman. Bryan 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 Olympic Gold Medalist Catriona LeMay Doan was on hand for the ceremonial opening faceoff.