Here's some good news for Team Canada: Jarome Iginla is getting hot.
Iginla scored twice on Saturday night to lead the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in their last pre-Olympic game. Both goals came against Jonas Hiller - the same goaltender he'll face on Tuesday when Canada opens its Olympic schedule against Switzerland.
The Flames captain now has 6 goals in his last 10 games - a big change from the previous 15, in which he scored just once.
"We had a lot of shots and we had a lot of quality scoring chances," said Iginla, who leads the Flames with 27 goals. "It's a good way to go into the break."
Iginla gave Calgary its first lead at 2:42 of the second period, one-timing a cross-ice pass by Curtis Glencross past Hiller. He made it 3-1 at 13:58, snapping a shot through Hiller's legs to finish off a 2-on-1 break with Niklas Hagman.
He was on the ice in the final minute, but wasn't able to hit the empty net despite the urgings of the sellout crowd of 19,289 at the Pengrowth Saddledome that chanted "Iggy, Iggy."
"Our captain obviously contributed big here tonight," Flames coach Brent Sutter said.
Anaheim, which got 35 saves from Hiller, finishes off its pre-Olympic schedule Sunday evening in Edmonton.
"Nobody on our team played to their best level -- me included," said Hiller. "I could have stopped at least one of the goals that they scored."
The Ducks own a franchise-record 11-game home winning streak, but have dropped 11 of their last 16 away from the Honda Center -- all in regulation.
"They boxed us out and we accepted to much of it," coach Randy Carlyle said. "We didn't do a good enough job creating chances. Tonight we just didn't seem to have the execution or desperation that was required."
The Ducks played without injured center Ryan Getzlaf, who hurt his ankle earlier in the week. Getzlaf is hoping to recover in time to play for Team Canada at the Vancouver Games, Executive Director Steve Yzerman said Saturday he'll wait as long as possible to give Getzlaf every chance to be ready.
Eric Nystrom had a first-period goal for Calgary, which is clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Flames are even in points with seventh-place Nashville at 69 points, but the Predators own the tiebreaker because they've played two fewer games. Dallas and Detroit are tied for ninth, one point back. Anaheim and St. Louis are tied even with 65 points, four out of a playoff berth.
Iginla isn't the only Flame heading for Vancouver on a high note. Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves for the win and has a 1.90 goals-against average since being lit up for six goals in two periods at San Jose on Jan. 18. But because of the Flames' lack of offense, he has won just four of those games.
Carlyle was disappointed with the lack of traffic his team generated in front of Kiprusoff.
"Anytime you're not in the goalie's face and screening him and getting those second and third opportunities, then he's having an easy night," Carlyle said. "You're not going to score on many NHL goalies from the blue-line if he can see the puck all the time."
After Troy Bodie put the Ducks ahead at 13:25, Nystrom tied it with his the sixth goal of the season and first in 43 games since Nov. 14. Carrying the puck down the right wing, it appeared Nystrom was going to carry the puck behind the net when he cut in at the last second and jammed the puck past Hiller.
Nystrom's slump has been a microcosm of the team's offensive struggles in recent months. Calgary entered the night having scored either one goal or no goals in eight of their previous 16 games.
"Our overall game throughout from a goaltender through was real strong here tonight," Sutter said. "Now we've just got to make sure we handle everything right when we get back, and we will."
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report
|Troy Bodie (4) ASST: Scott Niedermayer (30), Kyle Chipchura (3)|
1 - 0 ANA
|Eric Nystrom (6) ASST: Nigel Dawes (16), Jay Bouwmeester (21)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Jarome Iginla (26) ASST: Curtis Glencross (15), Ian White (19)|
2 - 1 CGY
|Jarome Iginla (27) ASST: Matt Stajan (27)|
3 - 1 CGY
|Scott Niedermayer Hooking against Niklas Hagman|
|Daymond Langkow Hi-sticking against Kyle Chipchura|
|Adam Pardy Fighting (maj) against Troy Bodie|
|Troy Bodie Fighting (maj) against Adam Pardy|
|David Moss Hi-sticking against Petteri Nokelainen|
|Troy Bodie Holding against Mark Giordano|
|Matt Beleskey Fighting (maj) against Curtis Glencross|
|Curtis Glencross Fighting (maj) against Matt Beleskey|