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Jokinen, Leopold lead Flames to 5-1 win

by Brian Hunter
The Calgary Flames made a pair of big moves at the trade deadline in the hopes of winning a Stanley Cup. The early returns were certainly positive.

Olli Jokinen scored twice and Jordan Leopold also lit the lamp during a four-goal first period as the new-look Flames wasted little time in taking the Wachovia Center crowd out of the game as they cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Mike Cammalleri notched his team-leading 34th goal of the season to go with a pair of assists and Craig Conroy also scored for the Flames, who opened up a 10-point lead on Vancouver in the Northwest Division. But the team is thinking about a lot more than a division title, as evidenced by their wheeling and dealing Wednesday.

Jokinen, who had 21 goals this season for Phoenix, was acquired to give Calgary a top-line center to play with Cammalleri and captain Jarome Iginla. He delivered right off the bat, with a pair of goals 6:12 apart that were assisted by his new linemates.

"I felt pretty good. It's easy to play with the good players, and we kept our game pretty simple," Jokinen said. "Big two points, and a huge win for us."

Leopold, who played his first three NHL seasons with the Flames, returned to add a two-way presence along the blue line. He celebrated his first game back in a Calgary jersey with his seventh goal of the season and a plus-2 rating.

"It's nice to be back," said Leopold, who, like Jokinen, enjoyed a big jump in the standings by coming over from Colorado. "Same core guys are back here. I fit right in, and happy to wear the sweater again."

Miikka Kiprusoff made 35 saves as the Flames improved to 2-0 on a six-game trip. They are 9-1-2 since snapping a four-game losing streak last month.

The news for the Flyers was not as good. Starting goalie Antero Niittymaki was chased after the first period, during which he faced 19 shots, and forward Daniel Briere left the game with a lower-body injury. Briere, who recently returned from a long absence due to groin and abdominal injuries, has played in just 12 games this season.

"He's having a tough time right now as much mentally as physically," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said.

Mike Knuble scored Philadelphia's only goal early in the third period and Martin Biron stopped 21 of 22 shots in relief of Niittymaki.

"It sure looked like we didn't have any energy there tonight," Flyers coach John Stevens said. "It was an old-fashioned butt-whipping there, that's what that was. I don't have an answer for you at this point. It was just an awful effort by our hockey team, right through our lineup."

Jokinen's first entry on the scoresheet was actually a two-minute penalty for slashing he took 2:40 into the game. The Flames killed off the Flyers' power play until Scott Hartnell was called for holding, creating a brief 4-on-4 and then a Calgary power play on which Cammalleri capitalized at 5:20 with an unassisted goal, beating Niittymaki through a screen from the left circle.

Jokinen then atoned for his infraction by scoring off a give-and-go with Iginla at 9:41. He added his 23rd of the season with 4:07 left in the period, streaking down the right side and taking a perfect pass from Cammalleri before lifting a shot over Niittymaki for a 3-0 lead.

"He played great; so did Leo," Iginla said. "He got his first goal there, but that second goal, that shot, eh? Just flying. He's a really big guy, you know that, but he's a very fast player, too, very powerful, and as a line I thought we had some good chances. We'll keep working, but it was a good first day and a good first period for the whole team, and as a line it felt good together."

Leopold capped a brilliant first 20 minutes for the Flames and a dreadful stretch for the Flyers by chipping a bad-angled shot from Niittymaki's left into the net with 1:12 remaining.

 
 
"It was a good start by us -- I think Olli and myself, especially, we were running a little bit on adrenaline, excited to get out there and play," Leopold said. "You never know what's going to happen. I had a few butterflies in my stomach before the game."

Following a scoreless second period, Knuble ended Kiprusoff's shutout bid 4:42 into the third and Conroy capped the scoring with 4:11 remaining. Kiprusoff earned his League-leading 39th victory of the season, leaving him nine behind Martin Brodeur's single-season record. The Flames have 18 games to play, and Kiprusoff figures to play most of those.

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




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