CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - Jarome Iginla could be kept in check for only so long.
The Flames captain scored twice and added an assist Thursday night as Calgary beat Montreal 3-2, handing Bob Gainey his first loss in three games as the interim coach of the Canadiens.
Iginla's 20th goal tied the game 1-1 in the first period. His second of the night at 10:51 of the second was the eventual winner.
"Jarome's our captain and he's our catalyst," Flames forward Shean Donovan said. "He's the guy who gets things going for us and it's a lot of fun."
From a scramble behind the Canadiens net, Steve Reinprecht worked the puck out front where Iginla swatted a backhand past Jose Theodore to make it 3-1.
After scoring just four times in a 19-game stretch through November and December, Iginla has found his scoring touch in January with goals in three straight games and six goals in seven contests.
"These last six games, I've been feeling better and things are starting to roll," Iginla said. "As a group, we're creating more scoring chances and it's good for everybody's confidence."
Daymond Langkow also scored for Calgary, which has won five in a row at home.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 16 saves to record his NHL-leading 24th win.
Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev scored for Montreal, which started a difficult six-game road trip that features stops in Vancouver, Carolina, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Toronto.
"Give Calgary credit, they worked extremely hard tonight and we just came up a little short," Montreal defenseman Craig Rivet said.
The Canadiens have lost five straight away from home and have won just once on the road in 15 tries (1-11-3), dating to Nov. 4th.
Montreal had won its first two games under general manager Gainey, who took over as coach on Saturday after firing Claude Julien.
"We lost our rhythm and we lost our cohesiveness in the second period which didn't make us very effective either at attacking or defending," Gainey said.
After being benched in back-to-back games by Julien, Theodore started for the third game in a row under Gainey and made 27 saves in seeing his record drop to 16-12-5.
"They're a good team and they have success the way they play," Theodore said. "They play with a lot of intensity and they create a lot of traffic."
Calgary led 2-1 after a penalty-filled first period in which all three goals came on the power play.
After Koivu's goal put the Canadiens in front at 3:07, Calgary answered at 5:41 on Iginla's hard one-timer from the faceoff dot with the Flames on a 4-on-3 man advantage.
"We got some great power-play opportunities and fortunately we were able to put it in," Iginla said. "Those can be big momentum shifts one way or the other whether you get one or not."
The Flames then took its first lead at 15:01 converting on a two-man power play.
With Montreal already killing off a major penalty to Sheldon Souray, who was assessed a match penalty for intent to injure in a fight with Darren McCarty, Niklas Sundstrom was sent off for tripping.
Calgary fired seven shots on Theodore before Langkow finally scored on a tip-in of Dion Phaneuf's shot with 4 seconds remaining on the two-man advantage.
Notes: A lengthy ceremony was held before the game honoring Al MacNeil, the Flames' coach in their first two years in Calgary after the franchise moved from Atlanta. MacNeil spent 25 years with the organization. ... The six teams Montreal will face on its trip were a combined 88 games above .500. ... Montreal D Andrei Markov will be out three weeks because of a rotator cuff injury.
|PPG - Saku Koivu (11) ASST: Sheldon Souray (11), Mike Ribeiro (21)|
1 - 0 MTL
|PPG - Jarome Iginla (20) ASST: Andrew Ference (19), Kristian Huselius (17)|
1 - 1 Tie
|PPG - Daymond Langkow (15) ASST: Dion Phaneuf (17), Tony Amonte (15)|
2 - 1 CGY
|Jarome Iginla (21) ASST: Steve Reinprecht (18), Matthew Lombardi (9)|
3 - 1 CGY
|Alex Kovalev (10) ASST: Saku Koivu (23)|
3 - 2 CGY
|Jarome Iginla Charging against Francis Bouillon|
|Mark Streit Hooking against Shean Donovan|
|Dion Phaneuf Unsportsmanlike conduct against Jan Bulis|
|Sheldon Souray Cross checking against Jarome Iginla|
|Jordan Leopold Holding against Mike Ribeiro|
|Sheldon Souray Match penalty against Darren McCarty|
|Sheldon Souray Fighting (maj) against Darren McCarty|
|Darren McCarty Fighting (maj) against Sheldon Souray|
|Niklas Sundstrom Tripping against Shean Donovan|
|Chuck Kobasew Hi-sticking against Mike Ribeiro|
|Richard Zednik Interference against Daymond Langkow|
|Matthew Lombardi Hooking against Mark Streit|
|Jordan Leopold Hooking against Mathieu Dandenault|