Flames chase Leafs out of Alberta
The Flames made the Maple Leafs as welcome at the Saddledome as Toronto's last four visits to Calgary.
If you're thinking the Leafs received some western hospitality, you couldn't be more wrong.
The Flames scored two quick goals in the second period to overturn a Toronto lead and stifled the Leafs the rest of the way, emerging with a 3-1 victory.
Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross scored less than a minute apart halfway through the second period, responding to a first-period goal from Toronto's Jason Blake, who now has goals in three of his last four games.
Calgary (24-12-5) looks like it has found its form again, reeling off four straight wins after a 1-3-2 stretch, in part due to an improved commitment on the defensive end. During the four-game run, the Flames have held each opponent to a single goal, and the streak comes after coach Brent Sutter shook up his line combinations.
"All the way through with this mix-up, we've been going pretty good," said Iginla. "We're just trying to get shots, hound them, get a forecheck, and as a line, we've been getting some chances and it's nice to see them go in tonight."
Glencross added an empty-netter for the Flames in the final minute, while Iginla added a couple of assists for a three-point night. Daymond Langkow also picked up three assists.
"We've had a pretty consistent work ethic through the whole lineup and that's how you get success, you need four lines to play the game," said Glencross. He has three goals in two games after a 10-game goalless drought.
The Flames were especially stingy on the penalty-kill Saturday, not allowing the Leafs to set up an attack and going a perfect 4-for-4 while down a man. Calgary went 1-for-3 on the power play.
"We didn't win any battles for loose pucks," said Leafs coach Ron Wilson. "The other team is working hard, and desperate, and when you're not as desperate as they are on the power play, you're not going to be very effective."
The Leafs probably just want to get out of Alberta — although it seems they struggle wherever they go lately.
Toronto (14-19-9) has lost four of its last five games, and was winless in Edmonton and Calgary during the team's western road swing.
The Leafs haven't won in their last four visits to the Saddledome, a stretch that goes back seven years.
"There are some great players over there and you just have to be aware when they're on the ice and limit the turnovers," said Blake. "When Iginla's on the ice, you have to know where he's at and where's his next move."
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff was the winning goaltender, but he had a fairly light night in goal thanks to the tight defence, stopping 24 shots.
Toronto's Jonas Gustavsson was the busier netminder by far, and did all he could to keep the Leafs in the game as the Flames outshot Toronto 35-25.
There was potentially bad news waiting for both teams after the game, as the Leafs and the Flames lost key players during the contest.
Leaf forward Mikhail Grabovski left the game in the first period after a hit, picking up what looked like a knock to the head, though the team called it an upper body injury.
The Flames lost defenceman Dion Phaneuf after the second period with an undisclosed injury.
Blake opened the scoring for Toronto at 3:36 of the first period, but Calgary started getting more pucks to the net in the second and broke through at 10:35 and 11:27 of the frame.
Iginla scored his team-leading 21st goal and broke a three-game scoring drought to tie the game 1-1.Glencross gave Calgary the lead 52 seconds later and added an empty-netter at 19:09 of the third.