Iginla scores winner as Calgary beats Oilers
Cammalleri's five-point night is a career best
A final thought for 2008 — this Calgary Flames bunch is a pretty darn good hockey team right now.
In the last NHL game of the calendar year, Mike Cammalleri had the first five-point night of his career and Jarome Iginla scored twice to lead the Flames to a 6-4 victory over the rival Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night at the Saddledome.
"It feels good," Iginla said. "It was a good way to end the year [with] a team effort and to beat the Oilers also for the first time this year."
The win wrapped up an impressive December that saw Calgary go 9-2-2, picking up points in all but a pair of games. The team hasn't lost in regulation time in more than three weeks.
That leaves the Flames five points up on Vancouver at the top of the Northwest Division and holding a game in hand on the Left Coasters.
Overall, Calgary is 22-11-4.
Edmonton lost for the second straight night, though this one was a little less crushing than that of Tuesday — a defeat at the hands of the currently awful Ottawa Senators.
The Oilers are 17-16-3 and with a Phoenix victory earlier in the evening find themselves four points back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the west.
"We played a pretty good game with the exception of our inability to be able to kill a penalty," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "That's killed us all year long. It killed us again tonight. We've got to find a way or find some new guys who can kill penalties."
Iginla's two (he also had three assists) included the winner, while Cammalleri had two plus three assists. Dustin Boyd and Adrian Aucoin had the other Flames' markers.
Denis Grebeshkov, Robert Nilsson, Lubomir Visnovsky and Eric Cole, in the final seconds, replied for Edmonton.
A little sweat pays off
Iginla's winner was set up by simple hard work at the blue-line.
After the Calgary captain dug the puck out of a crowd, he gave it to Cammalleri who scooted down the left boards and executed the back end of the give-and-go perfectly by putting a nice pass back to Iginla who was hustling down the middle.
Iginla quickly fired it by Dwayne Roloson from the top of the circle and it was 4-3 at 5:50 of the third.
Less than two minutes later, Eric Nystrom put a hard shot on Roloson who let a bad rebound out to his right (unusual for the Oilers' backstop). Dustin Boyd beat the defence to the puck and he went high over the goalie for a 5-3 lead.
Cammalleri's goal into the empty net and Cole's late one for Edmonton finished it off.
Oilers find the net first
Edmonton opened the scoring at 1:27 of the first on a shot from the high slot by Grebeshkov after the puck squirted out of a scrum in front.
Iginla then tied it, taking a nice pass from Craig Conroy who was in back of the net and spotted his captain alone in the slot.
Nilsson, who has been in the doghouse lately, got his fifth of the year by putting a sharp angle shot by Miikka Kiprusoff in the Calgary net while the goaltender was looking behind him to see if the original shot had rolled behind him, and it was 2-1 Oilers.
A one-timer from Cammalleri, set up by Iginla, tied it again before the period was over.
Visnovsky for Edmonton and Aucoin for Calgary on a two-man advantage scored in the middle frame to send it into the final period tied 3-3.