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Calgary, AB • Canada • 31 Years Old • Male
In a historic and uncharacteristically decisive win, the Calgary Flames beat the St. Louis Blues 7-3 at the Saddledome tonight. The spotlight in this game was on Jarome Iginla, who, at 18:27 of the 1st period, passed Theoren Fleury to become the franchise's all-time goals leader at 365, one-timing a pass from Kristian Huselius at the left circle. However, Iginla was not the only Flame celebrating a personal victory tonight, as Huselius AND Matthew Lombardi both snapped their long, much publicized goalless streaks. Huselius scored 7:33 into the first, taking a nice cross-ice feed from Iggy and taking a wrister which took the right bounces to find the back of the net, and Lombardi broke his streak nine minutes into the second, shorthanded, taking a beautiful breakaway feed from Alex Tanguay and racing to the net where the puck slid off his backhand to the back of the net. Tanguay himself scored two and Marcus Nilson and Daymond Langkow also scored for the Flames.

The Flames got off to a roaring start, with Tanguay outskating Martin Rucinsky down the wing and wiring a shot over Manny Legace's shoulder. Huselius made it 2-0 at the 7:33 mark before David Backes converted a pretty passing play on the man advantage to get St. Louis back in the game less than two minutes later. Iginla's historic goal with less than two minutes left regained the Flames' momentum, however, and although Brad Boyes got St. Louis within a goal again early in the 2nd, Lombardi's shorthanded goal was the final momentum shift the Flames needed. After Nilson and Langkow's goals, the closest the Blues would get would be 6-3 on another Boyes goal before Alex Tanguay's shorthanded empty netter with about five minutes left.

This was a game the Flames had to win and the way the Flames won even pleased me. It was good for the Flames to get three things out of the way: Iginla's record breaking goal, which could have become a distraction if the hype went on too long, Kristian Huselius finally snapping a long string of unluckiness to get back to scoring, and Matthew Lombardi finally doing something with that speed of his. Teams in tight divisional battles like the Flames have to win games against teams as out of it as the Blues, and the Flames delivered. They take a one point lead in the Northwest race and have a prime chance to put some more pressure on Minnesota and Colorado against Washington on Wednesday, as Minnesota is idle until Thursday and although the Avs remain two points behind, the Flames have a game in hand.

I'm still not close to being optimistic about the Flames' chances. After all, this was a game against a 14th place team and the Flames have not played close to this well or inspiring against playoff teams. However, for the sake of the playoff push, and for my hockey fan's heart if not my hockey fan's mind, I can't help but be extremely pleased with tonight's result.

And last, but not least, I have to make a comment about Jarome Iginla. He won't read this but I have to congratulate him. Who would have thought that when Al Coates traded Joe Nieuwendyk for a virtual unknown prospect back in 1995, that that prospect would become the face of the franchise and one of the NHL's most dominant players within ten years? The Flames could not ask for more of a classier captain, and this record is the result of Iginla sticking with the Flames for his entire career. Jarome has given everything he possibly can to this franchise, through the most dismal years to the franchise's resurrection and near Cup win in 2004. With his contract extension, Iginla is likely to finish his career with the Flames, or at least he will stick with the Flames through the rest of his prime. The Flames owe him for everything he has given the franchise, and the only just reward I can see is a Cup before his career here ends.

Hats off to Iginla, and let's hope the Flames emulate their effort on Wednesday.

Filed Under:   flames   blues  
March 11, 2008 9:41 AM ET | Delete
I like how Iginla said in the first period intermission that his goal when in off the butt of another player. He's a classy guy and we are extremely lucky to have him represent our team.Great blog!
March 11, 2008 12:16 PM ET | Delete
It's interesting to think about what might have been if Dallas hadn't made that trade. Nieuwendyk helped them win a Cup that year, so maybe it was worth it. But Dallas has almost always had a strong team over the past decade plus. Can you imagine if Iginla had been on that team? Would Dallas have won many more Cups had Iginla stayed in their system? Anyway, wish I'd had the tickets to last night's game. (I split season tickets with some friends). I seem to always see other team players hit milestones (Sakic's 600th for example), but would have liked to have been in person to give Iggy the standing O he deserves. Like Fleury said...see you at 500 Iggy!
March 11, 2008 12:20 PM ET | Delete
As for the game itself, you summed it up pretty well. Good to see Lombo and Juice break their slumps in the same game. I particularly like that we didn't give up a couple of late goals, as we are wont to do, to make the game unnecessarily close at the end. Was nice just to win it "easy" for a change. However, it's all about consistency with this team. I'd like to hope that a game like this will get the Flames rolling, give them the confidence they need to find their groove...but it won't surprise me at all if they stink up the joint in Washington tomorrow. Because that's just the way this team is, for some reason. (Here's hoping I'm wrong...)
March 11, 2008 5:49 PM ET | Delete
but generally they have played MUCH worse against teams out of the playoffs. They played Anaheim well despite the loss, thats the team that needs to show up everynight. As nice as the score was, a hot goalie on the part of the Blues may have had us all questioning the desire of this team to truly win. BIG road trip away from the NW Division... a great opportunity to create some distance... We are only 2 losses out of 9th... We need to win and do so often...
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