Dion Phaneuf's old teammates made his return to Calgary something less than a happy homecoming.
The former Flame's first game at the Scotiabank Saddledome as a Toronto Maple Leaf on Thursday night turned into a 5-2 victory for the home team when the Flames blew open a 1-1 game with three goals in 57 seconds late in the second period.
The Flames (14-15-3) won back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 24-26. Calgary beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime on Monday.
"It's been a long time since we won a couple of games in a row," said center Olli Jokinen, who had a goal and a pair of assists. "The pattern the last 10 or 15 games is we play a good game and the next day, we don't show up.
Phaneuf, the Maple Leafs' captain, played his first game at the Scotiabank Saddledome since the Flames traded him to Toronto in a blockbuster trade on Jan. 31. His return coupled with the Leafs' only visit of the season led to an amped-up sellout crowd that was replete with dozens of Maple Leaf jerseys.
Phaneuf was greeted with jeers and a few cheers when he touched the puck early in the game, but it was a quiet game from a player known for his punishing checks and big shots from the point.
"They have all the right in the world to boo," Phaneuf said afterward when asked about the razzing. "They are passionate fans here. It was a lively building. I feel when I was here I played hard night in and night out. There were a lot of nights, if not all of them, they were cheering for me. I have no hard feelings at all. It's nothing personal."
The 25-year-old attended his grandmother's funeral in Prince Edward Island on Wednesday and arrived in Calgary that night.
"It's not ideal to have to attend a funeral. It wasn't a great day yesterday, by any means," Phaneuf said. "It's tough, it's emotional to go to those things, but it was a good celebration of her life and I'm glad I got to it and I have no regrets of going whatsoever."
Phaneuf finished the night with three shots on net, three shots that were blocked and five shots that missed the net in 22:29 minutes of play.
"It was a very tough week for him, emotionally more than anything," coach Ron Wilson said. "Coming back to Alberta is hard enough but with his grandmother passing that's not a good week at all. So I thought he did fine under the circumstances."
Alex Tanguay broke a 1-1 tie at 15:17 of the second period when he fired Matt Stajan's feed from the end boards past Jean-Sebastien Giguere's glove. With Mikhail Grabovski serving a tripping penalty, Jokinen made it 3-1 by beating Giguere with a slap shot from the top of the circle at 15:50. Jokinen then shoveled the puck to Rene Bourque in the neutral zone, and he raced over the blue line before beating Giguere past the glove at 16:14 for a 4-1 lead.
"We all played hard. Not only tonight but in the last three games we have been headed in the right direction," Jokinen said.
Giguere was lifted after two periods,, and Niklas Hagman scored the second of Calgary's power-play goals at 2:30 of the third to make it 5-1, beating replacement Jonas Gustavsson with a high wrist shot from the high slot.
Grabovski scored Toronto's second goal at 8:45 of the third with a slapper from two strides over the blue line over Miikka Kiprusoff's left shoulder. Gustavsson stopped a late penalty shot by Jarome Iginla after he was tripped by Phaneuf on a breakaway, but it didn't matter as the Leafs lost their sixth consecutive visit to Calgary.
"They finished their scoring chances and we weren't very good for two periods," Wilson said. "We had one line that got the job done tonight and that was Grabovski's.
Nikolai Kulemin opened the scoring for Toronto at 6:16 of the first, beating Kiprusoff with a wrist shot from close range off a broken play. Calgary tied it up less than a minute later when Ales Kotalik's backhander from the right circle deflected off Giguere's pad and over the goal line for his first goal of the season.
|Nikolay Kulemin (10) ASST: Clarke MacArthur (15), Francois Beauchemin (5)|
1 - 0 TOR
|Mikael Backlund (4) ASST: Brendan Morrison (14)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Alex Tanguay (9) ASST: Matt Stajan (16), Jarome Iginla (16)|
2 - 1 CGY
|PPG - Olli Jokinen (5) ASST: Anton Babchuk (8), Niklas Hagman (8)|
3 - 1 CGY
|Rene Bourque (13) ASST: Niklas Hagman (9), Olli Jokinen (9)|
4 - 1 CGY
|PPG - Niklas Hagman (8) ASST: Olli Jokinen (10), Mark Giordano (15)|
5 - 1 CGY
|Mikhail Grabovski (10) ASST: Kris Versteeg (10)|
5 - 2 CGY
|Keith Aulie Hooking against Matt Stajan|
|Adam Pardy Tripping against Mikhail Grabovski|
|Mikhail Grabovski Diving against Adam Pardy|
|Olli Jokinen Too many men/ice - bench|
|Mikhail Grabovski Tripping against Brendan Morrison|
|Mikhail Grabovski Hooking against Jay Bouwmeester|