CALGARY – Jarome Iginla became the Calgary Flames’ all-time leading scorer, but the Tampa Bay Lightning spoiled the party.
Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis each scored twice and Mark Recchi added five assists to lead Tampa Bay to a wild 8-6 victory Sunday night over the Flames. It put a damper on a celebratory night for Iginla, who had two goals and three assists to give Iginla 834 points and move the Calgary captain past Theoren Fleury (830 points) into top spot on the Flames all-time scoring list.
“That was right out of the 80s,” said St. Louis. “A wide open game, a lot of goals, everybody got involved, it was a fun game to play.”
Having already set the Flames’ scoring record earlier in the game, Iginla fired up the fans again 14 seconds into the third period with his second goal of the night and 400th of his career to tie the score 5-5.
However, just over two minutes later, Tampa Bay struck back with the go-ahead goal on a power play. Curtis McElhinney made a kick save on Recchi’s shot, but the rebound into the slot was fired in the Calgary net by Ryan Malone.
Lecavalier scored the eventual game-winner on a slapshot at 8:32, also on the power play.
Todd Bertuzzi got the Flames back within a goal at 16:46 but St. Louis wrapped up the scoring with an empty net goal.
Evgeny Artyukhin, rookie Steven Stamkos and Vaclav Prospal also scored for Tampa Bay (21-30-12), which ended a seven-game road losing streak.
Craig Conroy, Mike Cammalleri and Jamie Lundmark also scored for Calgary (37-19-6), which lost in regulation time for the first time in 10 games (7-1-2). The Flames head onto the road for a season-high seven-game road trip that begins Tuesday night in Ottawa.
Iginla’s milestone 831st point came when Conroy deflected in a Dion Phaneuf shot after Iginla had started the sequence getting the puck back to Phaneuf at the blue-line.
“I was excited to get it at home. I wasn’t too picky about it being a real nice one. It was cool to get it on Conroy’s,” Iginla said. “Unfortunately the night didn’t go the way we wanted, we let it get away from us. Looking back on it down the road, it’s still going to be a great night.”
Iginla’s 834 points have come in 922 career games. Fleury had set the mark of 830 points in 791 career games. The two were teammates for three seasons from 1996 to 1999.
Iginla wasn;’t initially awarded an assist on his record-breaking point, and before the off-ice officials added him to the scoring play, Iginla added another assist that was celebrated by the sell-out crowd of 19,289 as the record-breaker.
On Cammalleri’s 33rd goal that put the Flames ahead 3-2, Iginla sent a pass to David Moss down low, who then neatly set up Cammalleri in the slot.
When that goal went in, the crowd knew that point would put Iginla past Fleury and they immediately rose to their feet in a lengthy standing ovation.
Lined up opposite Iginla on the subsequent face-off, even veteran Lightning forward Recchi acknowledged the feat giving Iginla a tap on the shins with his stick.
“He’s the face of the franchise. When you think of the Calgary Flames, you think of Jarome Iginla and it’s great to see him get that opportunity and to do it at home is nice too,” said Recchi. “He’s had a great career and he’s an amazing player. To be the franchise leader, that’s a great honour.”
It was a milestone night for Recchi also, who moved past Bryan Trottier into 14th on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with 1,426 points (535 goals, 891 assists).
Trailing 4-2, Tampa Bay turned the game’s momentum around with three goals in the final five minutes of the second period. Lecavalier, Stamkos, and Prospal all scored in succession to wrap up a back-and-forth seven-goal second period for the two teams that came on just 17 shots.
“It’s a wake-up call for us,” said Conroy. “If we try to run and gun, that’s not the way we’re going to win games.”
Recchi was not surprised that the Lightning fought back despite the adversity of how the game had gone blowing two early leads, how the winless road trip had gone, and how the season has gone.
“We have too much respect for our coaching staff. The guys in here have stuck together through this. Guys aren’t going to quit,” said Recchi. “It’s been an interesting year, a frustrating year for all of us, but at the same time, you’re not going to quit on each other.”
Flames starting goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff stayed on the bench to start the third period leaving with 14 saves on 19 shots.
Iginla had pulled even with Fleury in the first period on a power-play goal at 15:44.
Tampa Bay finished up 3-for-5 with the power play against a normally stingy Flames penalty killing unit that entered the night ranked third in the league and having not given up a power-play goal in the previous four games.
Notes: Calgary rookie RW Brandon Prust (concussion) is back on the sidelines. After missing 31 games with a broken jaw, Prust was re-injured Friday night in his fourth game back when he was elbowed by Minnesota’s Derek Boogard, who has been suspended for five games. Prust is one of seven Flames currently injured. . . . Recalled from Quad Cities (AHL) to take Prust’s spot was forward Warren Peters. . . . Calgary’s not back at the Pengrowth Saddledome until March 18. . . . St. Louis and Lecavalier are the lone remaining members of the Lightning team that beat the Flames to win the Stanley Cup in 2004. The Flames have six players remaining.