Olli Jokinen has been nothing but impressive since coming over to the Flames on Mar. 4. The centreman scored his first hat trick as a Flame in Calgary's 8-6 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Jokinen put up five points in the loss and played his best game as a member of the team.
"He's been amazing for us," Mike Cammalleri gushed.
Jokinen has brushed off accolades about his talent, giving the credit to his great play to his teammates and good bounces.
"It's a good hockey team and I'm playing with good players like Jarome. I get a lot of chances and I feel a little bit lucky, the puck's been following me."
Jarome Iginla and Jokinen have started to really click on ice. Their chemistry was on display in the loss with each of them assisting on one of the other's goals.
"He's scored some huge goals for us," Iginla said before the game. "He's been happy to be here and excited to get ready for this playoff push and the playoffs. He's brought a lot of energy to our team."
The Finnish forward's first tally of the night came in the first period and gave the Flames their first goal of the night. While on the power play, Iginla drew the attention from the defense and Jokinen was able to gain enough space to get in front of the net and sweep the rebound from Iginla's shot in.
He picked up his first helper of the night on Dion Phaneuf's power play goal.
His second goal was in the dying minutes of the second period and it was one of the oddest goals of his career. Jokinen flipped the puck over the Toronto defense, saw the puck bouncing and batted at it. He managed to hit the puck and knocked it past Gerber, suprising everyone. The crowd was shocked, Ron Wilson looked amazed and Gerber just looked back in disbelief.
"I had good speed and tried to go by their defense. It went in the air, I followed and I just tried to hit the net and it went in," Jokinen told the media.
He assisted on Iginla's third period goal with a great pass from the boards. It marked his fourth point of the night.
"He's really flying," Iginla commented after the game when asked about Jokinen's play.
The Flames were able to pull within a goal with just over two minutes left in the third period when Jokinen scored his third goal of the night. With the Flames net empty, Calgary swarmed the net and they were able to capitalize with the extra attacker.
It was Jokinen's sixth career hat trick and his second this season.
Jokinen wasn't just an offensive force in the game. He played a very good defensive game, getting back quickly to his own zone and making smart plays. That kind of play has to make the coaching staff very happy as the rest of the Flames forwards didn't look too defensively sound in the game.
Jokinen didn't want any credit for his defensive plays, instead reiterating the need for the forwards to be better in their own end.
"We've got to play better defense. We've got to help our defense and just be better in our own zone. We have a top goalie in the league whose giving us a chance to win every night and we just have to bear down defensively."
The Leafs blueline almost lost another member when Pavel Kubina was high-sticked by Daymond Langkow. Kubina went immediately to the dressing room for repairs and Langkow took a four-minute penalty on the play. The Leafs scored twice on that power play.
Warren Peters gave the Flames a boost of energy when he took on Ben Ondrus. Peters is the smaller of the two but he was able land several hard shots, jersey the Leafs hardy forward and draw some blood.
Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled early in the third period after the sixth Leafs goal went in the net. The move was an effort to fire up the team and it worked to an extent. After McElhinney's arrival, the Flames added two more goals.
Mike Cammalleri, playing in front of family and friends in his hometown, was a -3 on the night.
The 24 shot difference in the first period of the Flames 6-5 win in Detroit set an NHL record. The Red Wings set a franchise record with their 28 shots in a single period.
The Flames have only won one game in their last 15 contests in Toronto.