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The Game Rush: Flames vs. Maple Leafs

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- All eyes may have been on Dion Phaneuf in his first return to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday but after 60 minutes, the attention was focused solely on the Flames and their 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Olli Jokinen and Niklas Hagman both had three point outings and Miikka Kiprusoff made 17 saves in the Flames second straight win.

The Leafs opened the scoring 6:14 of the opening frame when Nikolai Kulemin was able to deposit a Clark MacArthur rebounded past Kiprusoff. Francois Beauchemin also assisted.

The Flames didn't waste any time answering back, however. Mikael Backlund sent a harmless looking shot towards the net from the faceoff circle and Ales Kotalik screened J.S. Giguere, allowing the puck to drift softly into the net. Brendan Morrison earned the lone assist on Backlund's fourth of the year.

Toronto fell apart in the second period and the Flames took full advantage, scoring three goals in 57 seconds and putting 15 shots on net.

Alex Tanguay scored his ninth of the year when he was able to bat a Matt Stajan pass over Giguere's glove from point blank range. Jarome Iginla also assisted.

After being robbed by the glove of Giguere twice, Jokinen finally found the back of the net at 15:50 when he sent a hard slap shot flying through the Leafs netminder. The power play tally pushed Jokinen to five goals on the season. Anton Babchuk and Hagman earned the helpers on the play.

Rene Bourque put the Flames fourth goal in the net at 16:14 when he went cruising into the offensive zone and blasted a hard slap shot into the net. Jokinen had the lone assist on the play.

Jonas Gustavsson took over in net for the Leafs in the third period.

Calgary kept the pressure up in the third period and Hagman was able to capitalize on Mikhail Grabovski's third straight penalty. Taking a pass from Jokinen, Hagman wired a wrist shot towards Gustavsson, beating him glove side at 2:30.

Grabovski made it 5-2 at 8:45 with a slap shot that beat Kiprusoff high glove side.

After making several clutch saves in the first period and the first half of the middle frame, Giguere allowed 3 goals in a mere 57 seconds, making it impossible for his club to climb back into the contest in the last 20 minutes.

Tanguay, Jokinen and Bourque all found the back of the net from 15:17 to 16:14. In that time span, the Flames were able to net a power play marker and two even strength goals. 7 players contributed points in the scoring spree.

After sitting as a healthy scratch for two straight games, Stajan was inserted back into the lineup to face off against the team that drafted him.

The centerman had a strong evening and played a key role in the Flames opening goal in the second period.
Tanguay grabbed the puck at the half-wall in the offensive zone, passing it to Stajan, who had skated into the corner. The former Leaf spun around, avoiding a check, and backhanded the puck to Tanguay. The veteran winger had skated into the slot and one-timed the puck over Giguere's glove hand to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.

Flames captain Iginla also assisted on the go-ahead goal.

Olli Jokinen looked like a man possessed on Thursday night. The Finn notched three points, a goal and two assists, in 17:43 of ice time.

Overall, Jokinen had two shots on net, two shots blocked by the Leafs, two hits, two takeaways and a 67 win percentage in the faceoff circle.

The Flames are 9-1-1 when leading after 2 periods.

Thursday's game marked the first time Stajan has ever played against the Leafs, the team that drafted him in 2002.

The Flames are 9 games away from their 3000th franchise contest. With no cancellations, the Flames will play number 3000 on Jan. 3, 2011 against the New York Islanders.

Bourque needs 6 goals to reach 100.

Stajan needs 2 more games to reach 500.

"I think overall, we played hard. Every single guy showed up. It wasn't just a normal, regular season game. We've been waiting for this for the last couple days. Emotions were high - we wanted to win this game for Staj and Haggy. They both were a big part of the Maple Leafs so it wasn't just a regular game." - Jokinen on the importance of the win against Toronto

Saturday, Dec. 18 vs. Minnesota
  8:00 PM MT (CBC, FAN 960)

The Flames welcome their rivals from the state of hockey, the Minnesota Wild, for pivotal divisional matchup. The last time the Wild were in town, the Flames shut them out by a score of 3-0 with Iginla, Bouwmeester and Niklas Hagman all contributing on the scoresheet.

Game time is  8:00 PM MT on CBC & The FAN 960.
4 Goals this season for Mikael Backlund.
57 Seconds in between all 3 Flames goal in the 2nd period. It's the 7th fastest 3 goals scored in franchise history.
3 Hits from Matt Stajan against his former team.
10 Different Flames earning points in the victory.
22:29 Ice time for Dion Phaneuf in his first return to Calgary since being traded to Toronto on Jan. 31.

1st Star
Olli Jokinen
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 +1 2
2nd Star
Niklas Hagman
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 1 +1 2
3rd Star
Alex Tanguay
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 -1 3

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
24 20 4 40:00 .833

Miikka Kiprusoff
19 17 2 60:00 .894

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