Blue Jackets 6, Flames 4

While the trade of Jarome Iginla shows where the Calgary Flames’

hopes are with one month remaining in the NHL regular season, the

Columbus Blue Jackets are still in the playoff hunt and they picked

up an important win Friday night.

Vinny Prospal, R.J. Umberger and Mark Letestu each had a goal

and an assist and Columbus scored four times in the second period

in a 6-4 victory over the Flames, snapping Calgary’s eight-game

winning streak at home.

”What stands out, out of this game, is the two points, no

matter how you get them,” Prospal said. ”Sure, maybe coaches or

goalie coaches would love for the scoring to be a little lower but

for the offensive guys, it’s great.”

Matt Calvert, Derick Brassard and Ryan Johansen also scored for

Columbus (14-14-7), which won for the first time in four games to

finish 1-2-1 on its four-game road trip.

Brian McGrattan, Mikael Backlund, Dennis Wideman and Curtis

Glencross scored for Calgary (13-16-4).

”Both ways, it was a little sloppy, it wasn’t a perfect game

for either team. In our case, it was a back-to-back, end of the

road trip, and sometimes that happens,” Calvert said. ”We’ve been

finding a way to win these games lately and those are the games

that help get you into the playoffs.”

Columbus climbed within one point of the St. Louis Blues for the

eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blue

Jackets, who were on a roll with points in 12 straight games prior

to heading out on the road, are back home Sunday against the

Anaheim Ducks.

”This was a huge game for us and not easy, not easy for (Steve)

Mason coming in because we played last night and sometimes this is

what happens, you get these types of games where the group in front

of you is a little bit tired so we may need to lean on you a little

bit more,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said.

In the first game of the post-Iginla era, many of the fans in

the crowd, announced as sellout of 19,289, wore Flames jerseys with

the former captain’s name on the back.

The Flames’ all-time leading scorer was traded to Pittsburgh on

Wednesday night for a 2013 first-round draft pick and U.S. college

prospects Ben Hanowski and Kenneth Agostino.

The fans gave a standing ovation in the first period when a

video tribute to Iginla was played on the Jumbotron.

The Flames’ players stood, banging their sticks against the

boards, and officials didn’t immediately drop the puck to allow the

moment to go on a little extra.

”He’s meant too much for this organization, to this city, to

his teammates, you can expect a lot of ovations like that. I’m sure

there will be an even better one when he does come back,” Matt

Stajan said.

”I went through this in Toronto with Mats Sundin, it’s very

similar, and he deserves every clap, every stick tap, every encore

cheer that he’s going to get for the rest of his life.”

On the ice, the Flames played a poor defensive game with sloppy

play and giveaways leading to many of the Columbus goals.

”We gave them too many tap-ins,” Flames defenseman Mark

Giordano said. ”We’re not giving up huge scoring chances

numbers-wise, but the quality … guys in this league are going to

score every time on chances like that.”

Setting the tone for the night, Columbus scored the only goal of

the first period on a giveaway. T.J. Brodie’s blind pass up the

middle was intercepted in the slot by Letestu, who made a nice move

to beat Miikka Kiprusoff for a short-handed goal.

The Blue Jackets took advantage of more Calgary miscues in the

second period scoring four times, all at even strength, to open up

a 5-3 lead.

”We have to manage the puck better. Chances like that come off

turnovers because everybody’s going the other way,” Flames

defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said.

”It’s transition. Lots of teams just feed off it and that’s all

they’re looking for. The chances they got were very good chances

and they put them in the back of our net.”

Tied 1-1, Columbus took the lead for good at 8:44 of the second

when Umberger poked the puck past Bouwmeester at the Blue Jackets’

blue line and led a two-on-one rush that was finished off nicely by

Prospal for an easy one-timer.

The four goals in the second came on eight shots and resulted in

Kiprusoff watching the third period from the bench as coach Bob

Hartley inserted Joey MacDonald for the final 20 minutes.

Calgary outshot Columbus 33-25.

Notes: Bouwmeester and Curtis Glencross were each minus-4 for

Calgary. … RW Jared Boll and D Tim Erixon both left the game

early for Columbus with injuries. No update was provided. …

Columbus rookie D Dalton Prout was a game-high plus-4 while also

getting in a fight with McGrattan. … Stajan picked up his 200th

NHL assist. … McGrattan’s goal was his first in 75 games, going

back to Oct. 16, 2009 … Calgary D Anton Babchuk was a healthy

scratch for the 23rd time this season. He’s played just two games.

… The Flames played their final home game before Wednesday’s NHL

trade deadline. Calgary has one more game before then, Monday night

in Edmonton.