CALGARY – Jarome Iginla made the most of his second chance Saturday night, helping the Calgary Flames pick up an important two points.
After being stopped on a breakaway late in the third period, Iginla scored the winning goal in the shootout as the Flames earned an important two points with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
“It’s an important point, but more than that, it’s amazing how different it feels when you win the shootout to when you lose the shootout,” said Iginla.
The shootout was tied through two shooters with Olli Jokinen scoring for Calgary and Alex Burrows replying for Vancouver, which set the stage for the Flames captain and all-time leading scorer.
Iginla put the Flames ahead when he faked a shot, drew it around Roberto Luongo and jammed it in while he was falling. Miikka Kiprusoff then denied Mason Raymond with a pad stop, clinching the victory.
It was a different move for Iginla, who chose to shoot when Alex Tanguay sent him in alone with just over two minutes remaining, but he didn’t get it as high as he wanted and Luongo stabbed it with his glove.
“I wish I could have that shot back. I put it half way up the net when I’m trying to go bar there,” Iginla said.
Mike Cammalleri and rookie Roman Horak scored as Calgary (26-22-8). The Flames have points in five straight games and stay within two points of the Phoenix Coyotes and the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western conference.
Cody Hodgson and David Booth scored for Vancouver (34-25-6). The Canucks, who have points in nine straight, finish 3-0-1 on their four-game road trip.
“We played a really good game tonight, from start to finish,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault. “In my mind, this was probably our best game of the road trip and we lost but that’s hockey sometimes.”
Vancouver began its comeback with two minutes left in the second period when persistent pressure from the Canucks fourth line eventually resulted in Hodgson’s 15th goal.
Vancouver tied it at 8:04 of the third period on a fortunate bounce.
Dan Hamhuis’ slapshot was blocked by Blake Comeau, but the puck caromed right to Booth near the side of the net and he beat Kiprusoff on the short side.
The goal drew a roar from the large contingent of noisy blue jersey-wearing Canucks supporters littered throughout the sell-out crowd of 19,289.
“When you shoot the puck at the net, so much is created. Whether it goes on net, or is blocked, that’s how a lot of goals are scored these days,” said Booth.
Vancouver nearly took a 3-2 lead right afterwards, but Kiprusoff threw out his glove to spectacularly save a shot off the stick of Henrik Sedin from 10 feet out.
“Their goaltender made some big saves in the second half of the game. Louie made a great save with a couple minutes left off Jarome. It was a hard fought game by both teams, who were battling hard,” said Vigneault.
Kiprusoff finished the night with 29 stops compared to 16 for Luongo.
“Tremendous,” said Cammalleri, when asked about Kiprusoff’s performance. “I don’t know if anybody’s playing as well as he is right now. He’s in the zone as they say in sports and we like him there.”
Calgary took a 2-0 lead 2:41 into the second period when Lance Bouma set up Horak, left alone at the top of the crease, and he lifted a quick shot over Luongo’s shoulder.
It was Horak’s first goal since scoring in consecutive games on Oct. 26 and Oct. 28. In 35 games since, the 20-year-old had amassed just four assists, was demoted twice to AHL Abbotsford and had no points in his last 18 games.
Horak’s most recent recall came Friday after it was confirmed that Flames centre Blair Jones had broken his foot Thursday night against Phoenix.
“Unfortunately the injury bug hits, but a guy like Roman Horak comes up and gets that big goal for us,” said Iginla. “We’re happy for him, it’s a big boost for our bench, and that’s what we’re going to need.”
Cammalleri’s first even strength goal as a Flame at 17:23 was the lone goal of the first period.
The Flames lost centre Mikael Backlund early in the second period to an upper body injury after a skirmish with rugged Andrew Alberts. After Alberts bowled over Comeau along the boards, Backlund rushed in, threw a shoulder to shoulder hit on the six-foot-five defenceman, before the two dropped the gloves and wrestled each other to the ice. Upon getting up, Backlund immediately exited the ice and headed for the dressing room.
Calgary entered the night with five players on injured reserve and so far, have lost 243 man games to injury.
Notes: Each team has won twice in the season series…In a pre-game ceremony, Kiprusoff received a silver goal stick commemorating his 300th NHL win, which he recorded Wednesday against San Jose…Kiprusoff’s 301st career win moves him into a tie for 26th all-time with Mike Richter…Hall-of-Fame Flames radio play-by-play voice Peter Maher called game No. 3000 in his NHL broadcasting career…Calgary’s last short-handed goal was scored by Anton Babchuk in last year’s Heritage Classic against Montreal on Feb. 20. They are the only NHL team without one this season.