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Iginla tallies at all-star game

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
MONTREAL -- Jarome Iginla can finally breathe a sigh of relief.

The Calgary Flames captain notched a goal in an NHL All-Star Game for the first time in five appearances on Sunday, but his Western Conference mates fell to the Eastern Conference in a shootout, 12-11, before 21,273 at Bell Centre in the 57th installment of the midseason classic.

And wouldn't you know, all it took was a little home-cooking for the Edmonton, Alberta, native.

"Yeah, it was very cool to finally score one and to do it in Montreal," Iginla said. "I try not to think about All-Star goals, but it was nice to do it in front of this crowd. They were really into it from the get-go."

Iginla, who played on a line with San Jose forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, considered this one of his better opportunities to light the lamp. The trio accounted for two goals and five assists and finished with a plus-2 rating.

"I thought I would have as good a shot as any playing on a line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau," Iginla said. "They have great chemistry and I was just trying to fit in. Thornton is truly one of the best passers in the game and you want to have fun at the All-Star Game and enjoy it out there. I knew I'd get a lot of chances, and I did and they gave me a ton of looks."

At first, Iginla wasn't really sure if he or Marleau was credited with the goal.

"I wasn't sure it went in after I had shot it," Iginla said. "I thought Pat had gotten it initially and not until I got back to the bench did I find out."

Iginla, who took five shots in the game, received assists from Thornton (three assists) and Marleau on his second-period goal at the 16:46 mark that rallied the West into an 8-8 tie.

"It's an All-Star Game and you certainly want to enjoy it, but it was also nice to finally chip in," Iginla said. "I figured I should probably shoot a little bit more with those great passers out there."

In four previous All-Star Games, all held in North American cities, Iginla registered an assist in 2003 and '08.

"We were on Iggy (Iginla) a little bit before the game, telling him tonight's the night, so it was nice to see him pop the goose egg there," Thornton said. "I've been playing with Pat (Marleau) for most of the year, but it was nice to get Iggy on that other side."

Marleau, who finished with a goal and two assists, was glad Iginla was finally able to knock one in.

"I didn't actually know it was his first," Marleau said. "I just thought it was a while between goals, so that's great to hear."

Iginla admitted he'll contribute at least $1,000 to his charity, KidSport Calgary, for scoring the goal. He almost connected for a second -- which would have sealed the deal with just under four minutes remaining in overtime -- but his wrist shot ticketed for the short-side corner from the left circle was spectacularly denied by Boston goalie Tim Thomas.

"Tim made a good save and he got the pad over," Iginla said. "Joe (Thornton) had the puck and I thought he might be coming, so I got ready and tried to get it away quick. I should have probably chipped it up a little bit more but I thought I could beat him to the spot. Tim made a great save."

Iginla felt the pace of the game was better than advertised.

"Especially the last 10 minutes," he admitted. "Everyone played a little tighter and we wanted to win the game, and so did they. Once you get to overtime, you want to end it and no one wants to be scored upon. The pace was good and I was surprised with the amount of goals scored because it actually felt like we were skating and trying to get back on defense to help."

Author: Mike G. Morreale | Staff Writer

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