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Flames-Canucks: Inside the Game

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames


Jarome Iginla scored his 50th goal of the season and led his team to big 7-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

The win also gives Calgary the chance to take over 6th sport in the Western Conference.

If Colorado is unable to get a point in their game on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild, the Flames will take over the 6th position and face off against the Wild in the first round of the playoffs.

Curtis Joseph got the start in the final game of the season. It was his fifth start of the season. The move made sense on two fronts for the Flames - it gives Miikka Kiprusoff a break before the playoffs and the starting goaltender hasn't been all that sharp against the Canucks this season.  He is 2-4-1 and has a 5.83 goals against average in three losses in Vancouver.

The Flames got on the board early in the first period. Eric Nystrom picked up a Henrik Sedin turnover in the neutral zone and wasted no time in getting it over to an open David Moss. The young forward's wrist shot beat Roberto Luongo at 1:33.

Vancouver answered back when Jarome Iginla turned over the puck in the defensive zone. Byron Ritchie was right there to pick up the loose puck and backhand it in the net. Ritchie's goal came at 8:42 and was his first in 44 games.

The next goal came just 23 seconds later. Matthew Lombardi threw the puck in front of net and Luongo managed to get a stick on the pass but unfortunately for him, he knocked the puck right to Kristian Huselius. The winger didn't hesitate on the chance and went five hole on Luongo. His goal came at 9:05, with Lombardi and Robyn Regehr getting the helpers.

After his assist on the first goal of night, Nystrom made another smart move that resulted in a goal. Seeing the Canucks defense get mixed up who they were covering, Nystrom went to the goal and had took a pass from Moss. He had a wide open net to bat the puck into, getting his second goal of the season at 16:16. It was his first tally in 41 games.

Curtis Sanford took over in net when the second period started. Luongo let in three goals on nine shots. The Canucks outshot the Flames 15-9 in first twenty minutes.

Iginla was literally centimetres away from getting his 50th goal of season in the second frame. His wrist shot beat Sanford and it trickled through him. It rolled slowly towards the goal line but it looked like there wasn't enough force for the puck to go across the line. Dustin Boyd was right at the doorstep and potted his 7th of the season at 15:12. Iginla and Hale got the assists.

The third period began with standing ovation for Trevor Linden. It's widely speculated that this is Linden's last season in the NHL. Both teams paid salute to the long-time Canuck by banging their sticks on the ice and boards.

Iginla got his 97th point in the third period, giving him a career season in terms of points. Iginla's shot bounced off a defenseman and Daymond Langkow picked up the puck and shot. His rebound was grabbed by Alex Tanguay and there was no room to give the captain the puck so Tanguay opted to shoot. His shot beat Sanford at 9:43 and gave Calgary a four goal lead.

The captain finally got number 50 on the season. Iginla put it five hole on Sanford after Nystrom made a quick pass that eluded the defense. The Flames bench erupted in cheers and everyone couldn't keep the smiles off their faces. It was the Flames 6th goal of the night, coming at 12:35. Nystrom and Wayne Primeau assisted.

The final nail in the Canucks coffin came when Nystrom potted his second of the night off of a beautiful pass from Primeau. Nystrom was wide open when he caught the pass, snapping the shot past Sanford at 18:18.

A large factor of the third period was the Flames urgency to get Iginla his 50th of the season. The captain had three shifts in the first five minutes and every one on the ice with him kept feeding him the puck at every opportunity.

The game was relatively quiet in terms of penalties and hits. In comparison to their last game, the Flames only had two minors in the first two periods and the Canucks had a single call against them. There was virtually no hits in the game, with both teams playing a very loose style of game. There was no penalties in the final period.

THE BIG SAVE: While the Flames were on the power play early in the second period, Alex Burrows made his way into the offensive zone, going one-on-one with Anders Eriksson. The forward faked a shot and Eriksson tripped on the ice, giving Burrows the time and space to score a huge goal for the Canucks but Joseph was with him all the way and made a huge save, keeping the Flames lead at two.
THE BIG HIT: This game was the exact opposite of the season series with no hard hits. In fact, players would avoid hitting one another. In one instance, Jarome Iginla had the chance to level Ryan Kesler, someone who has gotten under his skin all season, but instead, he stopped short and skated back into the play.
THE TURNING POINT: The Flames took the lead early and scored three goals in the first period alone. Kristian Huselius scored the game winning goal at just 9:05 in the game and the Flames kept the pressure up from then on.

QUOTABLE: "He's a goal-scorer, he's scored all the way up and you see it go that close and you just dive. That's instinct and I would have done the same." - Jarome Iginla on almost getting his 50th goal in the second period when Dustin Boyd dove and knocked the trickling puck in the net

THE ROSTER: The Flames scratches were D Rhett Warrener (ankle), D Adrian Aucoin, F Mark Smith (head), F Craig Conroy (torso) and F Stephane Yelle.

WORTH NOTING: Miikka Kiprusoff had the night off and Curtis Joseph picked up his third victory of the season ... Stephane Yelle was out of the lineup after taking a hard hit in Thursday's loss to Minnesota ... Eric Nystrom scored his first goal in 41 games. It was his second of the season . He also scored again late in the third period.

BY THE NUMBERS: Jarome Iginla's assist on Dustin Boyd's goal in the second period gave him 96 points on the season, tying his career best in the 2001-02 season ... Kristian Huselius gave the Flames the lead in the first just 23 seconds after Byron Ritchie netted the equalizer ... David Moss and Eric Nystrom both had 2 points in the first period ...
UP NEXT: The Flames head to the post-season next week, facing either the San Jose Sharks or the Minnesota Wild.

Author: Victoria Peterson

Author: Victoria Peterson

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