CALGARY – Jarome Iginla doubled his goals on the season in one night and in the process gave his team a confidence boost when it needed it most.
Iginla registered a hat trick to lead the Calgary Flames to a 7-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
The Flames (8-10-0), who had lost eight straight games to the Blackhawks dating back to March 16, 2008, had lost seven out of eight games heading into the contest.
“There were some good bounces tonight,”Iginla said modestly.“It does feel good. We’re going to keep going and keep believing that bounces are coming for our whole group.”
Iginla still has confidence the Flames can fight to get back into contention for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“It just seems every year there’s always a team or two that nobody thought has a chance to regain some momentum and they climb back up and they make the playoffs,”Iginla said.“This year we feel that can be us, but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
David Moss had a goal and two assists for the Flames, while Niklas Hagman, Brendan Morrison and Curtis Glencross chipped in with a goal and an assist each.
Alex Tanguay, who set up three goals, said the win is a definite confidence booster for the Flames, who kick off a five-game road trip on Sunday in Detroit against the Red Wings.
“We need to make up some extra ground,”Tanguay said.“Tonight was a good example of how we have to play. Let’s remind ourselves to play the same way on the upcoming road trip.”
With five games over seven days on the trip, the Flames have their work cut out for them to continue to gain ground in the standings.
“We’ll enjoy this one tonight and start to get ready for our next game because they’re coming very quickly,”said Calgary coach Brent Sutter.
Jack Skille and Troy Brouwer replied for the Blackhawks (10-10-2), who played the second of five straight games away from the United Center in Chicago.
“Calgary played well, they played hard, but we weren’t up to par,”said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.“It was one of those games where there’s nothing to be happy about.”
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves, while Chicago’s Marty Turco stopped 29 of 36 shots he faced just two nights after recording an 18-save shutout in Edmonton against the Oilers.
“I was far from perfect and when pucks are going through me like they did tonight it’s an awful feeling,”admitted Turco.“It’s one you want to forget about.”
Chicago opened the scoring when Skille counted his third of the season at 6:12 of the first period. Skille broke into the Calgary zone on the right side and fired a shot that squeaked under Kiprusoff’s left arm.
After Hagman’s game-tying goal at 8:52, the Flames went ahead just over three minutes later on a power-play goal by Moss, who shovelled a rebound past Turco.
“At that point in the game it was big for us,”said Moss, who was screening Turco on the play when Tanguay fired the initial shot from the point.
Kiprusoff made a pair of big saves to help the Flames maintain their one-goal advantage heading into intermission. First, Kiprusoff turned aside a heavy wrist shot off the stick of Patrick Kane before he made a great glove grab on a blistering slap shot by Marian Hossa on the man advantage.
Iginla then put the Flames up by a pair at 10:01 of the second period when he finished off a nice three-way passing play with linemates Tanguay and Matt Stajan.
On a late power play in the middle frame, Iginla tipped in a shot by Tanguay past a screened Turco.
With 4:17 left to play, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville summoned Turco to the bench in favour of an extra attacker. Kiprusoff then made a nice glove save to thwart a quality scoring chance by Kane.
With Turco back in the net, Morrison then roofed a rebound over the fallen goalie before Iginla blasted in a slap shot to complete the hat trick.
Glencross finished off the rout when he converted a feed from Morrison with just under a minute to play.
“I don’t think we competed very well tonight,”said Chicago defenceman Brian Campbell.“I don’t think we showed any initiative and we didn’t get to the pucks first and win battles.”
Brouwer added a late goal for Chicago when he swatted a puck out of mid air past Kiprusoff with 19.3 seconds left.
Notes: The win ended Calgary’s three-game losing streak. …The Blackhawks are in the midst of a six-game road trip with the Barnum and Bailey Circus having taken over the United Center. …Chicago forward Patrick Kane celebrated his 22nd birthday on Friday. …Forward Tom Kostopolous and defenceman Anton Babchuk made their debuts for the Flames after being acquired in a trade from the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. …The Hawks had outshot nine of their last 10 opponents prior to Friday’s game when the Flames won the battle on the shot clock by a 36-33 margin.