Tanguay’s golden goal zippers Jackets in overtime
Brodie's gamble pays off as Flames net crucial two points with 4-3 victory in Columbus
COLUMBUS - T.J. Brodie dished the puck, then raced towards the net — the other team’s net.
Overtime or not, the Calgary Flames defenceman had been determined to lead the attack.
His aggressive approach led to a three-on-two, and that three-on-two — with Jarome Iginla setting the table, with Alex Tanguay expertly finishing — led to a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in National Hockey League action Thursday at Nationwide Arena.
Not that Brodie’s bold decision made Bob Hartley cringe.
Rather, the Flames coach was all smiles.
“Everyone has the green light,” said Hartley. “It’s all about common sense. We don’t want to play on our heels. We promised the fans that we could give them an uptempo team. We’re far from perfect . . . but we’re certainly exciting.”
Brodie explained his high-wire act.
“I knew their forwards were probably tired . . . and they were both behind me,” the soft-spoken 22-year-old said after his best night in the NHL — two points, plus-three. “So I figured that I might as well create something. It worked out. If it went the other way, (Hartley) might not have been too happy.
“Lucky for me, we scored.”
Speaking of luck, Calgary’s wins lately have come with losses.
Tuesday in Detroit, Miikka Kiprusoff departed.
Thursday, Michael Cammalleri (hip flexor) couldn’t start and Mikael Backlund (unspecified) couldn’t finish.
Hartley, ever buoyant, was unfazed.
“This (sport) is far from a perfect world,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate. I feel bad for the players getting injured, but it creates opportunities. (Blair Jones) did a great job when we went down to three centres. We didn’t miss a beat. That’s a good sign.”
A not-so-good sign had been the travellers’ sluggish opening period.
Only 25 seconds after Roman Cervenka scored — his first NHL goal — the Blue Jackets got busy, Matt Calvert rifling a wrister over Leland Irving’s trapper.
The youngster blamed himself.
“A little bit of the nerves,” said Irving. “I just wasn’t aggressive enough. I caught myself a little deep.”
Mark Letestu then one-timed a lovely fake slapper from Derick Brassard to make it 2-1.
“I bit a little bit on the fake shot,” explained Irving. “The guy made a good shot right inside the post.”
Irving, though, regrouped, blocking 21 of the next 22 shots.
“I’m very happy for him, personally,” said Tanguay. “Since the start of the year, he hasn’t had it easy. He hasn’t seen any action and he had a hard time in the minors, where he wasn’t playing much. But he got here and he’s been working (an extra) half-hour every day before practice. Good for him that the hard work is paying off for him.”
Backlund authored the lone second-period goal when he slammed a rebound past goalie Sergie Bobrovsky.
Which left the Flames deadlocked after 40 minutes.
Four times in the first seven dates, they’d been level through two periods — with no wins.
And after Lee Stempniak and Vinny Prospal traded goals — the former at 8:33 (with a power-play assist going to Irving), the latter at 11:00 — the stage had been set for another Flames flop.
However, only a minute into the extra period, Brodie shifted the puck to Iginla, who fed Tanguay, who, like, really teed it up.
“Absolutely, that was the driver coming out, for sure,” Tanguay, grinning, said of the 37th game-winning goal of his career. “Brodie made a great play — got the puck out of our zone, then drove the net. And when you drive the net, lanes open up. Then Iggy, fake shot . . . and I knew he was coming over to me. Then I just had to shoot it. I had pretty much four by six. I (shot) as hard as I could and it went in.
“But it’s not about points, it’s not about goals, it’s about winning. And right now, we’re back to .500.”
Moving to 3-3-2, the Flames visit Vancouver on Saturday.
“I’ve told the players many times — and I reminded them (Thursday) morning — that to win one, to lose one, to win one, to lose one, will get no teams into the playoffs,” said Hartley. “Not this year. Not in an 82-game schedule. You need to put together some winning streaks.
“I’m proud of those guys. We’re asking a lot. We’re very demanding, intensity-wise and discipline-wise, but they’re responding well.”
Follow Scott Cruickshank on Twitter/CruickshankCH
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