On a night where he could have scored a few more, Jarome Iginla’s 497th career goal proved to be the winner in a 2-1 Flames win over the Northwest Division leading Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. Iginla’s trio with Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross were dominant on this night and were good for both goals Calgary scored, helping the team snap a four game losing skid in the process.
It was a very strong start to the game for the Flames, as they did excatly what they needed to against a negative possession team like the Wild. They controlled possession, worked a hard forecheck, and made starting goaltender Josh Harding work for everything. At 2:47, Calgary opened the scoring thanks to a pretty rush finished by Curtis Glencross started by a nice Iginla pass from the right side. Glencross went backhand for his 11th of the season and a one goal lead. Some poor defensive coverage about four minutes later had the game tied, however, as the Wild scored the equalizer off a faceoff win. After Jared Spurgeon’s shot was stopped by Miikka Kiprusoff, Pierre-Marc Bouchard was on the doorstep for his sixth. With Minnesota turning things for a good ten minute span following their goal, the first period ended 1-1 with scoring chances favoring Calgary 8-7.
The second period saw the home side really take over, doing exactly what they needed to after a meh stretch in the first. The Flames outshot the Wild 13-6 and outchanced them 6-1 in the middle frame, scoring the final goal of the hockey game at 6:02 at the tail end of a powerplay. With Calgary doing a nice job holding the line, the puck filtered to the front of the net where Iginla worked for space and puck possession, eventually cashing number 13 on the season and 497 for the career.
Calgary was pretty strong in the final frame, allowing zero Minneosta scoring chances on three powerplays (albeit one lasting for only 13 seconds). The Wild ended up outchancing the Flames 6-5 in the period, but that’s pretty decent for a 20 minute stretch where the opponent is supposed to be chasing. Calgary did a decent job controlling possession, even as the Wild activated their D.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because, for the most part, they played their type of game which translates well against the Minnesota Wild. Save for a ten minute span in the first period, Calgary was the team that ran this game. That isn’t going to lead them to victory on this night, but against the Wild, it should unless their goaltender goes into game stealing mode. Harding was good tonight, but the Flames did more than enough to win this game.
(pretend that says 497) He’s just three goals away from the milestone, and this was one of Iginla’s best games of the season. Along with his linemates, they were the most dominant lines on the ice, and as Coach Sutter said postgame "chalk one up for me." Brent showed us a Tanguay-Backlund-Iginla look this morning but went right back to the captain with Glencross and Jokinen to start this game. The three combined for a +13 in even strength scoring chances, and Iginla could have had number 498 and 499 as well.
Sum It Up
Pretty decent night overall for the Calgary Flames, and it was the type of game they needed after riding a four game losing skid prior. They weren’t world beaters, but they were solid and composed for the most part and controlled things en route to victory. Things won’t be so easy on Thursday night when Detroit pays their first visit to Calgary, but who knows, maybe you catch the Wings on an off night?