Iginla and defenceman Robyn Regehr each had a goal and two assists as the Flames routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2.
It was Regehr’s first goal in 62 games, and he added two assists in a 3:13 span in the first period to give the Flames an early 3-0 lead.
“Hey, I don’t score many but they’re pretty,” who blasted a point shot into an empty net after Columbus defenceman Adam Foote collided with goaltender Ty Conklin to take him out of the play. “He still had to put it in,” noted Foote. “He’s got talent. Someone’s got to play good hard-nose defence and he battles hard and plays against top lines and makes it miserable. He’s still got what it takes to get those points. He just got some good opportunities tonight and they went his way.”
It’s just the second time in his seven-year career that Regehr has had three points in a game. The last time was on Feb. 6, 2006 in San Jose when he recorded three assists during a 4-3 win over the Sharks.
“It’s always nice to contribute offensively,” Regehr said. “I had an opportunity to play a little bit on the power play. It was nice to be able to help the team that way as well.”
Kristian Huselius also had a goal and two assists, Mark Giordano had a goal and an assist, while Daymond Langkow and Rhett Warrener also scored as the Flames (28-17-6) won their second straight game and sixth consecutive on home ice.
Rostislav Klesla and Jason Chimera scored for the Blue Jackets (21-27-5), who lost their second straight game after dropping a 5-2 decision in Edmonton to the Oilers two nights earlier.
“We got our butts handed to us,” said Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock. “We got beat pretty badly twice. We made too many mistakes in our own zone.”
Iginla had missed the last 11 games with a knee injury. The Flames were 7-2-2 in the superstar winger’s absence.
In the second period, Zenon Konopka drew the ire of the Flames when he hit Iginla away from the play.
“I tried to step by, he hit my legs,” said Iginla, who got into a shoving match with Konopka before defenceman Rhett Warrener jumped in and roughed up the Columbus forward.
“It felt good too on the other side to be able to get up and not feel a tweak of a twinge. It gives a little more confidence on the legs.”
A short time later, Calgary tough guy Eric Godard, who also fought Jody Shelley in the first period, challenged Konopka to a fight.
“As a team we stick together,” said Iginla, who credited both Warrener and Godard for coming to his defence. “Those are pretty tough characters. They were both right there.”
After killing off two early penalties, the Flames scored goals just 19 seconds apart mid way through the first to take a 2-0 lead. Iginla opened the scoring on a power play as he converted a feed from centre Craig Conroy. The former linemates were reunited again for the first time since Calgary’s run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2004.
“Once you get out there and get going, it just feels like ’04,” said Conroy, who knows all about how successful the Flames can be if they get Iginla the puck. “I know Jarome and he likes to score goals. If he’s scoring, he’s going to feel a lot better and especially if he gets one early. I thought he looked great out there.”
After Regehr scored he set up Giordano to give Calgary three goals in the first period for the first time this season.
“It was just a bad start and then from there we just couldn’t find it,” Foote said. “A team like that’s not going to give you much after they have a three-goal lead.”
Langkow opened the scoring 30 seconds into the second when he one-timed a pass from Huselius past Conklin.
Klesla finally put Columbus on the scoreboard at 1:03 of the second as he swatted a puck past Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff while falling to the ice in front of the net.
After Huselius finished off a pass from Iginla during another Flames man advantage, Chimera replied for Columbus just as a penalty to Calgary enforcer Eric Godard expired.
Warrener rounded out the scoring in the third during a two-man advantage for the Flames when his point shot was tipped past Columbus replacement goalie Tomas Popperle by Blue Jacket defenceman Anders Eriksson.
Regehr wasn’t on the late power play because he was nursing a slight injury to his back after being checked hard into the boards hard by Columbus rookie Gilbert Brule.
“I wanted Rhett to get his 100th,” said Regehr, referring to the fact that the goal gave Warrener 100 points in his NHL career.
“I’m pretty good, just a little sore. I thought I’d get some ice on and get ready for tomorrow’s game (against the Vancouver Canucks at the Saddledome).”
The Flames were a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill and scored a season-high four power-play goals on 10 opportunities.
Kiprusoff made 20 saves in the Calgary net, while Conklin stopped 11 of the 16 shots he faced before being pulled in the second period in favour of Popperle, who blocked eight of the nine shots directed his way in his first-ever NHL game.
Notes: Defenceman Andrew Ference and forward Byron Ritchie were healthy scratches for Calgary, while defenceman Aaron Johnson (healthy scratch) and Nikolai Zherdev (flu-like symptoms) missed the game for Columbus. … For the first time in nine games, the Flames outshot their opponent. Calgary has been outshot 11 times in the past 13 games, during which time they’ve recorded a 9-2-2 record.