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A classy Iginla reaches 50 goals

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
Jarome Iginla hit the 50-goal mark for the second time in his National Hockey League career Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

In Game 82 for the Calgary Flames, the Flames captain joined the 50-goal club. It was a meaningless game for the Canucks, who had been eliminated from the playoffs. For Iginla, there was the 50-goal mark. For the Flames, a shot at moving up the standings and a potentially better position in the playoff picture.

It was also a farewell of sorts for popular Vancouver player Trevor Linden, perhaps the most well-liked captain in team history, and Iginla, the class act that he is, acknowledged that.

In fact, the entire Flames team paid tribute to Linden at the start of the third period when they backed away from the opening face-off  to let the crowd at GM Place pay homage to the 20-season Linden.

Then, following the game and in a very unusual move, Iginla and the Flames waited on the ice to shake hands with Linden.

Iginla, meanwhile, scored his 50th goal in the third period on a terrific play from Eric Nystrom, who waited patiently to feed Iginla the puck. Nystrom finished with four points in the game while Iginla had three, as he added two assists on top of his goal.

Iginla becomes the third player this season to reach the lofty plateau -- joining the likes of Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk in the 50-goal club.

The Flames captain reaches the mark for the first time since the 2000-01 season when he scored 52 times.

"When he shoots, it is usually going in," noted Flames defenceman Jim Vandermeer.

Alex Tanguay, who has assisted on his share of Iginla goals, said the 50-goal plateau is a big achievement.

"It's quite an accomplishment," said Tanguay. "He's playing tot he point where he is playing with a lot of confidence. He's got tons of skill and he is crafty with the puck, too."

Tanguay added that Iginla is the full package -- a player who plays a physical game and puts the puck in the net.

"He's physical He such a gifted athlete. It is fun for us to watch," said Tanguay.

The only other player to have two 50-goal seasons while playing for the Flames was Joe Nieuwendyk, coincidentally the player the Flames traded to the Dallas Stars to acquire Iginla in 1995. Nieuwendyk had back-to-back 51-goal seasons in 1987-88 and 1988-89.

Other 50-goal scorers in Flames uniform are Lanny McDonald (66 in 1982-83); Gary Roberts (53, in 1991-92); Theo Fleury (51, in 1990-91); Joe Mullen (51, in 1988-89); Guy Chouinard (50 in 1978-79) and Hakan Loob (50 in 1987-88).

The breakdown of Iginla's goals is fairly even -- 22 at home and 29 on the road. He has 12 first period goals, 17 second period goals, 20 third period goals and two overtime tallies this season.

And the Flames record when he scores? An incredible 28-6-1-2

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