CALGARY – For Jarome Iginla, it was an unlikely way to score a history-making goal.
The Flames captain scored on a penalty early in the second period to become the 10th NHL player to reach 30 goals in 10 straight seasons, helping Calgary beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Sunday night.
“I never dreamt it would be on a penalty shot,”Iginla said.“I’ve had a few of them in front of the fans here at home and I haven’t put any penalty shots in at home until that, so that was a treat for me.”
Mike Gartner and Jaromir Jagr share the record with 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons.
“I definitely feel extremely blessed to hit that and be able to do it 10 years,” he added. “It’s something that when I started out, I never would have dreamt that.”
Iginla had been 0-for-5 in his career on penalty shots at home and 1-for-7 overall.
“I’ve been working on some moves with Tangs (Alex Tanguay), he’s been showing me stuff, and Olli (Jokinen),”Iginla said. “I figured I was going to go in and try a move and fortunately it worked tonight.”
Iginla was awarded the penalty shot when he was tugged down from behind by Sergei Kostitsyn as he broke in on Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. On the shot, he cut to his right and slid the puck through Rinne’s legs to tie the game.
“I thought that I had it, but he’s a good goal scorer for a reason and he put it through me and it was a big goal at the time, for sure,”said Rinne.
Mark Giordano also scored for Calgary (35-24-9), which moved into sole possession of fifth place in the Western Conference.
Calgary is 15-3-3 in its last 21 games and has been especially hot at the Scotiabank Saddledome, losing just once in regulation in its last 14 games.
Martin Erat and Ryan Suter scored for Nashville (33-24-9), which sit in a three-way tie with Anaheim and Minnesota for ninth place in the West, one point back of the Los Angeles Kings.
Midway through the third period, Curtis Glencross jammed in a rebound for his 22nd goal to put the Flames into the lead for good.
“We kept trying to get pucks and bodies to the net as much as we could all night,”said Glencross. “Olli (Jokinen) tried to put it out front and it was sitting there for me and I had an open net.”
Making his 20th straight start, Miikka Kiprusoff made 21 saves to improve to 31-20-5.
Kiprusoff’s best stops came in a mad scramble in the game’s final seconds as the Predators poured on the pressure with Rinne pulled for an extra attacker. With five seconds left, defenceman Shea Weber bombed a slapshot from the blue-line that Kiprusoff sprawled to get a piece of.
Rinne made 33 stops, falling to 0-4-2 in his career versus the Flames, one of only three teams he hasn’t beaten.
However, he did his best to keep the Predators in there in a second period in which the Flames outshot the visitors 13-4.
“This was for sure our biggest game of the year, so right now we’re disappointed,”Rinne said.“But at least we have a chance to bounce back right away in San Jose.”
Erat, the most dangerous player on the ice in the first period, opened the scoring at 2:47, knocking in a rebound after Kiprusoff kicked out a pad to deny rookie Jonathon Blum.
Giordano tied it at 7:15 on the power play on a bizarre goal. The defenceman’s shot hit a Predator stick, fluttered into the air, went off Nashville’s Shea Weber, then in off the post.
The Predators regained the lead at 15:58 on Suter’s shot from the blue-line.
“It stings,”said Predators defenceman Shane O’Brien. “We had a chance to go up 3-1 on the power play and we had a couple chances and we just don’t bury them. We keep making the same mistakes over and over again and that’s why we’re on the outside looking in right now.”
Others players who have 30 goals in 10 or more season include: Phil Esposito (13), Wayne Gretzky (13), Bobby Hull (13), Marcel Dionne (12), Mike Bossy (10), Jari Kurri (10) and Darryl Sittler (10).
Notes:. At 471 career goals, Iginla is also closing in on the top 50 on the NHL’s all-time goal scoring list. He’s two back of Denis Savard and Alex Mogilny, who are tied for 49th with 473… Iginla’s other penalty shot goal came Nov. 10, 2005 versus Phoenix’s Curtis Joseph. … Iginla has only been used once in Calgary’s 13 shootouts this year, failing to score in his one chance. He is 7-for-28 in his career in shootouts… Tanguay’s seven-game points streak came to an end (three goals, eight assists)… Calgary C Mikael Backlund (flu) was back in the line-up after missing one game.