Iginla had a hand in the next four Flames goals – scoring two of them, as Calgary rallied back for a 7-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
“That was a really good game for us to win,” said Iginla of the thrilling showdown between the NHL’s top home team and top road team.
Tied 4-4, Iginla put the Flames back into the lead for good just 34 seconds into the third period. Looking more like a “Hail Mary” pass in football, Craig Conroy flipped the puck high in the air and into the San Jose zone. Alex Tanguay outraced Sharks defenceman Douglas Murray to the loose puck, stopped, and then fed a perfect pass to Iginla trailing in the slot who one-timed his 30th of the season past Evgeni Nabokov.
“Sometimes when things aren’t going well and they get a couple quick ones, you kind of sink. But we stuck with it and we worked our way out of it,” Iginla said. “It was pretty cool to see us score twice right after they scored. Those were huge momentum boosts.”
The goal was Iginla’s 315th of his career moving him past Joe Nieuwendyk into second spot on the Flames all-time list. The leader is Theoren Fleury (364).
Daymond Langkow added his second of the game at 16:55 and Marcus Nilson wrapped up the scoring with an empty net goal.
Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi also scored for Calgary (32-21-9). The Flames improve to 25-6-1 at the Pengrowth Saddledome including a 11-1-1 mark in its last 13.
“Obviously we’re not playing the way we’d like to on the road (seven losses in a row), so it’s important that we keep playing strong at home where we’ve been a confident bunch all year,” added Tanguay, who had three assists.
The win moves the Flames into a tie with Minnesota for second spot in the Northwest Division, three points back of Vancouver.
Matt Carle, Joe Pavelski, Mike Grier, and Kyle McLaren scored for San Jose (38-23-1). The Sharks finished up an eight-game trip with a 4-4 record.
For the most part, Sharks coach Ron Wilson was pleased with the effort from his team, which outshot Calgary 37-23. However, Patrick Marleau and Nabokov were among those that Wilson singled out.
“Nabby had a tough night, a couple of our defenceman did as well, and Patty’s line, they were a total non-factor. They were struggling just to dump the puck in,” said Wilson. “We had a lot of people battling hard and to come back the way we did, we certainly deserved better.”
Calgary led 2-0 after 20 minutes but that lead evaporated in a wild second period in which the Flames surrendered four goals in a period for the first time all season.
Carle got the Sharks going with a power-play goal at 4:36. Sixty-six seconds later, Grier set-up Pavelski tying it 2-2.
San Jose surged in front 3-2 at 15:11 when Phaneuf mishandled the puck at the Sharks blue-line and Grier raced away on a breakaway scoring his third shorthanded goal with a nifty deke to his backhand.
The Flames, however, took just eight seconds to answer back.
Off the ensuing face-off, Langkow whacked the puck forward into the Sharks corner. Rookie defenceman Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s clearing attempt up the boards was kept in by Roman Hamrlik, whose shot was deflected by Iginla in front.
San Jose regained the lead on McLarens’ goal at 18:56 but again Calgary answered right back – this time waiting just 31 seconds. Iginla’s pass sent Lombardi blazing down the wing and he whipped a shot inside the far post.
“It’s definitely a game that we felt like we should have at least got a point out of,” Grier said. “We went up 3-2 and then again 4-3, but we gave up the goals within 10 seconds afterards and then in the last minute of the period. Those situations shouldn’t happen and even the go-ahead goal in the first minute of the third period, we’ve got to be smarter as a team.”
Calgary’s red-hot power play went 2-for-4, while San Jose’s top ranked power play was kept to 1-for-7.
Notes: – Iginla’s first goal was his 100th career power-play goal… Langkow’s two goals gives him 63 points on the season, surpassing his career high set in 2001-02 with Phoenix… Conroy (elbow) returned to action after missing one game… Rookie Calgary RW David Moss (facial lacerations) missed his third game but is expected back as soon as Monday… San Jose C Patrick Marleau played in his 700th career game. He is the Sharks all-time leader in games played… With Vesa Toskala placed on injured reserve, Nolan Schaefer was recalled from Hershey Friday and backed up Nabokov.