Calgary at Minnesota

Iginla hat trick gets Flames closer to securing final playoff berth

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames have found some consistency down the stretch, and there's no better point in the season for it.

Iginla scored his first hat trick of the season to move Calgary closer to clinching the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, and the Flames beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Thursday.

"Those are the kind of things you expect Jarome to do," teammate Craig Conroy said.

Daymond Langkow also scored in a three-goal first period for Calgary, which stunned Minnesota and goalie Niklas Backstrom with two scores in the first 80 seconds. Backstrom saw only two shots before Wild coach Jacques Lemaire called timeout and replaced him with Josh Harding.

Flames All-Star Miikka Kiprusoff, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's most outstanding goaltender, was once again hard to beat.

After stopping all 38 shots he faced in regulation and overtime in a shootout win against Minnesota here two days before, Kiprusoff made 23 saves in Calgary's fifth straight victory. The last three of those have been on the road, where the Flames brought only 11 wins -- second-fewest in the league -- into the game.

They reached 94 points and moved within four points of the Wild and further ahead of ninth-place Colorado, which had 85 points before a later game at Phoenix.

"We want to close it out. We want to earn our playoff spot," Iginla said.

If they keep this up, they certainly will.

"This is the time of year you want to be playing sharp," Langkow said.

Brent Burns and Mark Parrish scored power-play goals for Minnesota, which fell behind 3-1 on Iginla's second goal with 12 seconds left in the first period and was stuck in a sluggish game of dump-and-chase for most of the evening.

Adam Hall had a prime chance to cut the lead to one in the closing seconds of the middle period when Parrish's perfect pass found him on the edge of the crease, but Hall's shot went wide right.

"It was a little bit of a bump in the road tonight," Parrish said.

The Wild have been one of the NHL's best teams over the past two months, highlighted by a nine-game winning streak that ended with that shootout defeat to Calgary. Lemaire, however, expressed mild concern this week about peaking too soon -- wishing the postseason was beginning now.

Minnesota clinched the second playoff appearance in the franchise's six seasons Tuesday when the Avalanche lost, and it was easy to see what Lemaire was worried about when Langkow and Iginla gave the Flames a 2-0 lead before most fans were settled in their seats.

"Now that we achieved a spot in the playoffs, maybe the guys feel we have a couple of games that we can play easier," Lemaire said. "But it won't work. It just won't work."

With his back turned to the goal, Langkow stretched his stick out with one hand and knocked a pass from Brad Stuart in with 62 seconds elapsed. Then 18 seconds later, Iginla's snap shot from the right circle slid past Backstrom and prompted Lemaire to call timeout. He paced back and forth on the bench behind his players while barking at them during the break.

Backstrom, who won seven of the games during the Wild's streak, has been one of the league's best goaltenders since original starter Manny Fernandez got hurt in late January. This, obviously, was not one of those exemplary performances, but Backstrom was not necessarily at fault.

Lemaire conferred with assistant coach Mike Ramsey during the timeout and made the switch to preserve some of Backstrom's confidence.

"I didn't want him to be back there if we were going to be playing like this," Lemaire said.

Notes

  • Iginla, with 36 points in 35 games, is the all-time leader in scoring against Minnesota.
  • Wild defenseman Petteri Nummelin missed his third straight game with a groin injury.
  • This was the first three-game road winning streak reached by Calgary in three years.
  • Burns has four goals this month and seven this season. He had only five in 108 career games coming into the season.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Jarome Iginla always does well against the Wild. This time he lights them up for three goals. (AP)
Jarome Iginla always does well against the Wild. This time he lights them up for three goals. (AP)

Scoreboard
Calgary  (42-25-10) «3014
Minnesota (45-25-8)1012
Three Stars
J. Iginla
CGY


Goals: 3
Assist(s): 0
D. Langkow
CGY


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
M. Parrish
MIN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:02Daymond Langkow (31), Tip-In - Assists: Brad Stuart, Matthew Lombardi
01:20Jarome Iginla (35), Wrist Shot - Assists: Alex Tanguay, Craig Conroy
10:32Power Play - Brent Burns (7), Wrist Shot - Assists: Marian Gaborik, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
19:48Power Play - Jarome Iginla (36), Wrist Shot - Assist: Daymond Langkow
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
05:07Jarome Iginla (37), Wrist Shot - Assists: Craig Conroy, Alex Tanguay
13:01Power Play - Mark Parrish (18), Wrist Shot - Assists: Kim Johnsson, Mikko Koivu
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
01:38Hale: Holding - 2 min.
07:05Johnsson: Tripping - 2 min.
09:02Primeau: Tripping - 2 min.
09:59Foster: Diving - 2 min.
09:59Stuart: Cross Check - 2 min.
19:32Foster: Holding - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
12:00Yelle: Hooking - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
10:58Ritchie: Roughing - 4 min.
10:58Hall: Roughing - 2 min.
10:58Warrener: Roughing - 2 min.
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
Calgary96419
Minnesota89825
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Miikka Kiprusoff60:00232
Niklas Backstrom 1:2002
Josh Harding58:40152
Game Information
Attendance - 18568
Referees - Chris Rooney, Don Van Massenhoven
Linesmen - Pierre Racicot, Lyle Seitz
 
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