Flames stars singe the Blues in what could be their swan song
Iginla scores game-winner, while Kiprusoff steals the game with 36 saves in what could be their last tilts in Flames uniforms
As hard as it is to believe, this could stand as the farewell.
Or the farewells, plural. You never know.
If so, both gents took the opportunity to close their time with the Calgary Flames in fine fashion.
Jarome Iginla buried the game-winning goal — the 83rd of his National Hockey League career — and, for that, was serenaded by rousing ovation from the Scotiabank Saddledome sellout.
Miikka Kiprusoff, meanwhile, provided a 36-save gem that sealed the 3-2 triumph Sunday over the St. Louis Blues. He earned a first-star bow and more cheers.
The Flames do play at home Wednesday — Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche visit — but, as everyone knows, a lot can happen between now and then, between now and the April 3 trade deadline.
“We can’t think about that,” said Kiprusoff. “I don’t think too many guys worry about that. We’re trying to do our job here.”
Sunday’s success aside — it had been their seventh straight win at the Saddledome — the Flames are languishing in the Western Conference. And, like it or not, they should be sellers, starting with you-know-who.
Iginla’s list of approved destinations — reportedly Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings — is bobbing around the Twitterverse.
The Flames captain, however, shot down that notion.
“I didn’t say anything about a list,” Iginla countered after the game. “I didn’t read any . . . but honestly, we’ve made it this far in the year (without addressing his future). I know there’s lot of speculation about our team — and me individually — and right now, with a very important win for our team, that’ll work itself out. (The trade deadline) is a week away.
“I really want to not contribute to it.”
The victory, on the heels of the latest three-loss road trip, pushes the Calgarians’ record to 12-14-4.
“We weren’t feeling too good about ourselves this past week,” said Iginla, “so this is an important win just to get the ball rolling in the right direction.”
The offensive hero was none other than Roman Cervenka.
Taking a power-play feed from Dennis Wideman, the Czech newcomer scorched a wrister over the shoulder of goalie Jaroslav Halak in the first period.
In the second period, Mikael Backlund stole the puck at the St. Louis blue line from a careless T.J. Oshie and tapped it to Jiri Hudler, who moved it to Cervenka, who deked and made it 2-0.
“What a game, eh?” Iginla said of Cervenka. “That first goal, great shot. That second goal, out-waiting the goalie and the patience there. Great to see. Because he’s been pushing himself hard and he wants to produce more.”
The Blues, peppering Kiprusoff, finally coerced a puck past him at 16:40 of the second.
Oshie, out of the penalty box after coincidental minors with Curtis Glencross, peeled the puck away from Wideman, rolled into the Calgary zone and somehow flung a shot through Kiprusoff’s gear.
Not that anyone was blaming the goalie.
“It could have been easy to spot the three stars,” said coach Bob Hartley, whose team was outshot 19-4 in the second period and 26-9 through 40 minutes. “I’ll give them to Kipper.”
Vladimir Sobotka counted at 4:48 of the third, tying the game 2-2, which set the stage for Iginla’s latest heroics.
Alex Tanguay sprung the Flames captain with Wade Redden in hot pursuit. The Blues defender knocked the puck away, but Iginla regrouped and crammed a sharp-angle attempt into the St. Louis cage.
“It was a good break,” Iginla said with a laugh. “It was a great pass by Tangs, right on my tape. I was just taking off up the middle . . . but (Redden) did poke it. A good break that it was still there. I jammed it. It was sure nice to see it go behind the line.”
That tally elicited one of the season’s loudest roars.
Iginla was asked about that reaction.
“You know what? It felt good to get that goal as a team at home, to score at home,” he said. “The fans were pretty charged up and loud. It did feel good. It’s do-or-die time for our team. I thought our fans were into the game and knew . . . how important a victory would be. It felt good to contribute.”
Follow Scott Cruickshank on Twitter/CruickshankCH
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