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Flames burn Lightning in goalfest

by John Kreiser
Calgary's Kristian Huselius, left, was one of two Flames to record a hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night's 9-6 win. 
The last time the Calgary Flames visited Tampa Bay, the two teams battled for every inch of ice before the Lightning’s 2-1 victory in Game 7 of the 2004 Final gave the Bolts their first Stanley Cup. Calgary’s return to the St. Pete Times Forum on Thursday night bore no resemblance to that game.

The Flames got three goals each from Kristian Huselius and Jarome Iginla and five assists from defenseman Dion Phaneuf in a 9-6 victory. Huselius added two assists to his first career hat trick in a game that looked like it had been lifted from the 1980s rather than played the first decade of the 21st century.

"It's not a goalie's dream game, but you still have to be able to win these crazy games," said Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff, who gave up six goals on 31 shots. "You just have to keep working. At the end of the night, you look, it's two points, and you have to be happy with that."

Iginla got all three of his goals in the third period; the second one, with 5:19 remaining in regulation ( 700K ), broke a 6-6 tie. He completed his hat trick a minute later ( 700K ), and Owen Nolan scored into an empty net with 22.2 seconds left ( 700K ).

“Anything and everything that could happen did,” Flames coach Mike Keenan said. “Neither coach would be happy with this game in the terms of defensive play. And if you're an offensive-minded coach, you love it. I don't know if there's any in the league, though."

Iginla put Calgary ahead 6-5 just 25 seconds into the third period ( 700K ), converting a pass from Phaneuf that deflected off a Calgary defender. Brad Richards tied it for the last time when he beat Kiprusoff for a power-play goal at 9:47 ( 700K ).

“They have a lot of firepower,” Huselius said. “We stayed calm and got the win.”

Huselius put Calgary ahead at 4:36 ( 700K ) and had two goals and an assist in the first 13:05 to help the Flames take a 4-2 lead ( 700K ). Adrian Aucoin ( 700K ) and Daymond Langkow ( 700K ) also scored.

After Huselius’ first goal, Vinny Lecavalier tied it at 7:58 ( 700K ) and Andre Roy scored 10 seconds later ( 700K ) — the fastest two Lightning goals ever in a home game — to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead. Martin St. Louis' shorthanded goal cut the deficit to 4-3 with 1:16 left in the period ( 700K ).

Vaclav Prospal ( 700K ) and St. Louis ( 700K ) sandwiched second-period goals around Huselius’ third of the night ( 700K ) to make it 5-5 after two periods.

"I've never been a part of a game like that, with 15 goals total," St. Louis said. "I think it was a closer game than the result."

Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist was pulled from his second consecutive start after allowing four goals on six shots. He was replaced by Marc Denis, who gave up five goals.

"It was a weird night, and unfortunately we gave up nine," said Tampa Bay defenseman Shane O'Brien, who had three assists. "Everything was just going in. I felt bad for Homer, that we let him down."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.

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