Jarome Iginla is making a strong case for being named the NHL’s most valuable player with a three goal performance against the Minnesota Wild.
Dion Phaneuf had a big goal
With just 23 seconds remaining in the second period, the captain won a crucial face-off in the offensive zone and then buried the rebound off of Dion Phaneuf’s shot. Iginla’s first goal of the night tied the game and sparked the Flames three-goal third period.
After this third goal, hats rained down and the sold-out crowd broke into “MVP” chants. Iginla’s 48th of the season came at 6:47 in the third period.
In addition to his hat trick, Iginla was a powerhouse in the face-off circle. He won 67 per cent of his face-offs.
Dion Phaneuf and Matthew Lombardi also scored for Calgary.
Phaneuf notched his first career short-handed goal just three minutes into the second frame. During a line change, he bulldozed his way through four players and his one-handed backhand slid under Josh Harding’s legs.
Harding started in goal for the Wild. It was his first action in eight games.
Even with the Flames coming on strong in the final period, Minnesota kept the pressure up until the very end. Kim Johnsson scored his second of the night with just 55 seconds left but couldn’t net the equalizer with the extra attacker.
The win puts the Flames only one point behind the Wild, the Northwest Division leaders. Calgary has one game in hand on Minnesota, putting them in a good position to take ownership of the division and securing home ice advantage in the playoffs.
THE BIG SAVE: : During a power play, the puck hopped over Phaneuf’s stick, sending Brian Rolston and Branko Radivojevic in on a two-on-one against Adrian Aucoin. Miikka Kiprusoff had to slide across the ice and make a huge pad save in order to preserve the Flames the lead.
THE BIG HIT: IWild enforcer Derek Boogaard went in for a hit on Phaneuf but the young defensemen stood his ground and sent Boogaard to the ice.
THE TURNING POINT: With just 23 seconds remaining in the second period and the Wild leading by one, Iginla won a key face-off and ended up potting his 46th goal of the season. His first of the night tied the game 2-2.
QUOTABLE: "I think the build-up for the game is totally justified. These are playoff-style games. We've played 75 games now and it comes down to this. Everybody knows what is at stake and you see the games have gotten harder. As they should." - Flame Jarome Iginla.
THE ROSTER: The Flames scratches were D Rhett Warrener (ankle), D David Hale, F Eric Nystrom, F David Moss and F Dustin Boyd.
WORTH NOTING: For the second straight game, the Flames moved defenseman Jim Vandermeer to the wing for a face-off where he promptly dropped the gloves with heavyweight Chris Simon…Eric Godard and Derek Boogaard also traded punches early in the first period…the Wild ran into penalty trouble in the second period, taking three straight, but managed to kill off all three with relative ease…after sitting on the bench for the majority of the Flames victory over Colorado on Thursday, Kristian Huselius was on the for ice just 6:32…Mark Parrish was a healthy scratch for the Wild for the second night in a row.
BY THE NUMBERS: Jarome Iginla recorded his seventh career hat trick…the Flames have won six of seven games against the Wild this season…after only allowing 16 shots against Colorado, the Flames were out shot 33-31…Beniot Pouliot scored his first two NHL goals…the first two fights of the game came less than ten seconds apart with Eric Godard facing off against Derek Boogaard and Jim Vandermeer fighting Chris Simon.