During this harsh winter, everyone needs a good jacket. A jacket that can keep you warm against the biting northern prairie wind. Tonight however the Calgary Flames found some jackets that were almost too warm. But the Flames found a way to find the right size and squeeze out a 4-3 over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Scotiabank Saddeldome.
The boys in red got off to a shaky start as Craig Rivets opened the scoring just 3:45 into the first period. But the Flames shook off the early setback as Olli Jokinen equalized five minutes later finishing off a lovely Curtis Glencross pass. Just 44 seconds later captain Jarome Iginla continued his torrid pace as he snapped home his 29th of the season. Jackets goalie Steve Mason thought he had it, but the puck slipped out of his glove and over the line.
The Flames got off to another slow start in the second as Antoine Vermette notched his 16th of the year just 1:53 in. But the Flames struggling power play finally came to life. Vermette took a double minor high sticking penalty which proved fortuitous for the Flames. Rene Bourque scored his 22nd of the year off a rebound. Then Glencross tipped home his 21st of the year on the same power play.
The Jackets did have a wonderful opportunity late in the period. Rookie Matt Calvert was tripped up by Marc Giordano and was awarded a penalty shot. But Mikka Kiprusoff came up large stoning the flashy rookie.
The third period was full of wild action. Jan Hejda pulled the Jackets within one, firing a shot past a screened Kiprusoff. The Flames had a two man advantage a short time later but failed to capitalize. The Jackets were awarded another penalty shot as the refs claimed Giordano threw his stick at Vermette on a breakaway. Coach Brent Sutter was livid on the bench as he threw a tantrum that would have made Mike Milbury proud. But Kiprusoff shut the door again.
The Jackets did go all out in the last minute. They pulled Mason for the extra attacker and charged the Flames zone with a full assault. In that last minute there was more acton in front of Kiprusoff’s net then at Charlie Sheen’s place on a Saturday night but the Flames held off the Jackets for a much needed two points.
With this win the Flames improve their record to 34-24-9 for a total of 77 points. The Flames leapfrog the Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes to 5th place in the bunched up Western Conference. Flames next game is Sunday when they host the Nashville Predators in another huge game.
Game Notes: Newly acquired Frederik Modin and Brett Carson made their debuts tonight. Neither saw much action. The three stars as selected by Rogers Sportsnet were 1. Jokinen 2. Kiprusoff 3. Glencross