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Iginla propels Flames to victory over division leading Wild
A spectacular performance by Jarome Iginla helped the Calgary Flames dispose of the northwest division leading Minnesota Wild by a 2-1 score Tuesday night in Calgary. After a disappointing road trip that saw the team drop all four games, a solid sixty minute effort by all four lines brought the losing skid to an end.
Calgary - December 21, 2011 - A spectacular performance by Jarome Iginla helped the Calgary Flames dispose of the northwest division leading Minnesota Wild by a 2-1 score Tuesday night in Calgary. After a disappointing road trip that saw the team drop all four games, a solid sixty minute effort by all four lines brought the losing skid to an end as the Flames earned their 15th win of the season.
It was announced by the league Monday that forward Rene Bourque was suspended for two games as a result of his hit Sunday night on Chicago defensemen Brent Seabrook. If his loss was not worrisome enough the club also placed center Matt Stajan on injured reserve after he suffered an ankle injury in the same game. Due to these series of events rookie Paul Byron has been recalled from Abbotsford of the American Hockey League and was slotted alongside Blake Comeau and Roman Horak on the third line tonight.
The Calgary Flames finally managed to start a game with intensity and were rewarded with a goal just two minutes into the opening stanza. The top line struck early thanks in large part to a Jarome Iginla pass that found the oncoming stick of Curtis Glencross before he released a backhander that beat a screened Josh Harding to the blocker side. It was refreshing to see the team score early in front of the home town crowd, but of course that lead did not last long as Minnesota tied the game up just four minutes later. Diminutive Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard somehow found himself uncontested in front of the Flames goal as he easily netted his sixth goal of the year after grabbing a rebound let out by Miikka Kiprusoff. Shortly thereafter the first fight of the night broke out as Tim Jackman squared off against Brad Staubitz, unfortunately for Jackman he was cut over the eye on an early punch that resulted in an early stoppage by the referee. A well played first period of play came to an end as the Minnesota Wild outshot the Calgary Flames by a 13-11 margin.
The other fight on the night opened the second period as Tom Kostopoulos and Clayton Stoner decided to drop the gloves at the 2:33 mark. Much like the first fight it quickly came to an end when Kostopoulos landed a hard right to the chin of Stoner that sent him crumbling to the ice surface. The fight clearly swung the momentum of the game to the home team as Jarome Iginla went back to work and managed to establish a net front presence before swatting home the 497th goal of his career. The captain was actively involved all night as the top line of Glencross - Jokinen - Iginla continues to impress on the offensive side of the puck. Surprisingly that one goal lead proved to be all the Flames needed as they easily shut down the oncoming attack of the injury riddled Minnesota Wild.
It is certainly unfortunate to see Matt Stajan go down to injury as he was finally beginning to get his game back on track after finding himself in and out of the lineup all season. However this does leave an opportunity open for youngster Paul Byron to get back into an NHL line up after impressing in his first stint with the big club. After being called out by head coach Brent Sutter, Mikael Backlund put in what I believe to be one of the better performances of his young hockey career. He played so well in fact that he was relied upon by the coaching staff to take a faceoff in his own zone with less then 12 seconds to play in the game. He ended up winning that faceoff and continued on to create a turnover in which killed the remaining seconds off the clock.
Tuesday’s Starting Line Up
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
Paul Byron - Roman Horak - Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos - Brendan Morrison - Tim Jackman
Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Derek Smith - Scott Hannan
TJ Brodie - Cory Sarich
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