Huselius & Iginla with Hat-Trick

Calgary entered their third road-game of six and the first of a back-to-back against the SE division. The Flames are still hunting for a playoff spot and this very well could be a turning point game for the entire season. Visiting Tampa only for the second time since the 2004 playoff run, the home team, despite having poor attendance, have been touting Vincent Lecalvalier as the NHL’s best player. Yes he’s good, but anybody with hockey sense would say there’s plenty of room in the ‘best’ category for more than just Lecalvalier.

I tuned in late for this one and enjoyed the early lead for Calgary. Not even before I had a chance to sit down I was watching a replay of Tampa’s tying goal. Not bad, 1-1, but before I could open my drink, 10 seconds later Tampa Bay scores again off another failed attempt to clear the zone. A sign of things to come? Oh yes. Calgary went down 2-1 quick but the scoring wasn’t over, not by a long shot.

Against Florida a glaring issue was Calgary’s inability to clear the puck. Turns out nothing was learned in that game. Repeatedly throughout the game Calgary couldn’t clear the puck, Sarich victimized more than anybody else. The good news about tonight’s game was Calgary’s ability to score big time goals, but what about defence? It seems all sides of the game still haven’t come together for Calgary; they’re running out of time.

The game had too many chances to list, here’s the box score to give an impression of how busy it was.

Calgary 4:38, Kristian Huselius 10 (Daymond Langkow)
Tampa Bay 7:58, Vincent Lecavalier 21 (Vaclav Prospal)
Tampa Bay 8:08, Andre Roy 3 (Michel Ouellet, Shane O’Brien)
Calgary 9:29, Kristian Huselius 11 (Dion Phaneuf)
Calgary 11:22, Adrian Aucoin 5 (power play) (Kristian Huselius, Dion Phaneuf)
Calgary 13:05, Daymond Langkow 12 (Jarome Iginla, Adrian Aucoin)
Tampa Bay 18:44, Martin St. Louis 11 (shorthanded) (Vincent Lecavalier, Shane O’Brien)
2nd Period
Tampa Bay 9:38, Vaclav Prospal 14 (Shane O’Brien)
Calgary 12:16, Kristian Huselius 12 (Dion Phaneuf)
Tampa Bay 17:56, Martin St. Louis 12 (power play) (Vaclav Prospal, Brad Richards)
3rd Period
Calgary 0:25, Jarome Iginla 18 (Dion Phaneuf, Miikka Kiprusoff)
Tampa Bay 9:47, Brad Richards 11 (power play) (Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis)
Calgary 14:41, Jarome Iginla 19 (unassisted)
Calgary 15:41, Jarome Iginla 20 (Kristian Huselius, Dion Phaneuf)
Calgary 19:37, Owen Nolan 6 (empty net) (unassisted)

Interesting Penalty Call

What do you get when you cross the one-per-game Alex Tanguay with a questionable penalty? A 5 v 3 for Tampa. The reffing was solid for most of the game and then a rare call against Kiprusoff emerged — two minutes delay of game for not playing the time….Ok, I guess he needs to play the puck, and the refs need to be consistent. Tanguay would go off later for hooking and Tampa would score. The average fan would go ballistic at this point but this play would pale in comparison to the rest of the game (you kinda forgot about it).

Iginla would enter the third period with no goals and one assist. That would change. The teams exchanged leads repeatedly, fans shook their heads in bewilderment wondering if pond hockey had replaced NHL hockey. And Iginla, he scored three goals. Just like that, 2 in fact within 1 minute. If folks were wondering if Calgary could score the NINE should be a strong indicator, but how strong? Let’s hope the team didn’t expend all their scoring energy tonight with nothing to spare tomorrow (Carolina tomorrow).

If the game tonight was an indication of the Flames fortunes in the future one thing is for sure–there is work to be done. Getting W’s though during the process would make the growing pains easier to handle.