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Iginla rolling again, hopes Flames will follow

by Dan Rosen
Jarome Iginla met with a confidant within the Calgary Flames organization early last week in order to get his head on straight. Iginla wouldn't say who it was that he spoke to and hinted that it was not the same meeting in which a team official told him not to worry, that they weren't going to ask him to waive his no-trade clause.

This was strictly about hockey, about breaking down Iginla's game to the most simplistic form.

"I had to get my game level back up, so I had to break it down, concentrate on just a couple of things," Iginla told "It helped me focus."

He's been spectacular since taking a good hard look in the proverbial mirror.

Iginla has 6 goals in the Flames' last three games after scoring only 3 goals in their first 17 games. He had a hat trick in a 7-2 win over Chicago, a pair of goals in a 5-4 overtime loss in Detroit and Calgary's lone goal in its 2-1 loss in New York on Monday.

The difference, he said, is that he's simply letting his instincts take over.

"In hockey, when you're feeling good is when you're just playing, you're just going, skating and you're moving," Iginla said. "It's easier said than done because we get a lot of information and we think we have to do this, this and this and sometimes. I was pressing a lot and trying to think I have to do this, that and this.

"When you're really rolling it's a feeling more than a strategy."

Iginla admits the other talk he had with a team official, the one about his future in the organization, has something to do with his reversal as well.

"It helps when people believe in you and it's good support when you know the organization isn't shopping you around," he said. "If they were, they have to do what they have to do, but it is nice to know that they still believe in you."

Iginla's hot streak still hasn't been enough to pull the Flames out of their current rut. They're 2-8-1 over their last 11 games and their 8-11-1 record is good for 14th in the Western Conference.

Calgary's captain is playing with confidence, but the team is lacking big-time in that department, Iginla said, and it's led to the Flames being fearful of making mistakes.

That's always a recipe for disaster.

"When we get as confident as we can be we'll just keep the throttle down," Iginla said.

Iginla thinks they're close, that the last two games have shown the Flames that when they work hard and work properly they can get rewarded.

The problem is they can't overcome their own mental mistakes.

For instance, the Flames held a 3-1 lead after two periods Sunday in Detroit, but committed four minor penalties in the third period and the Red Wings rallied with three goals, including two on the power play. Nicklas Lidstrom won it in overtime.

The Flames wrote a similar script Monday at Madison Square Garden, where they played a strong game only to get burnt by Curtis Glencross' needless, retaliatory high-sticking penalty on Ryan Callahan 12:27 into the second period. Dan Girardi scored with a slap shot 14 seconds later and Calgary couldn't solve Martin Biron for the rest of the night.

Biron stopped 31 of 32 shots, including all 15 he faced in the third period.

"I think we're going to get rewarded and I think we are close, but look at last game, it's not one penalty that cost us," Iginla said. "We still had 25 minutes (after Girardi's goal) but we only scored one goal in the game. Any time you do that you can't expect to win.

"We have 20 games done and we have to get ourselves in the better position over the second quarter so we don't have to have the mentality of trying to win three games in one night later in the season. We have to just start with reversing our record (over the next quarter).

"We know the desperation of the standings, and that you're going to need to be 12 games over .500 probably at a minimum and we're three under. There is that urgency."

Iginla felt it and responded. It's time for his teammates to follow along.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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