Flames 3, Blue Jackets 2, OT
It was far from the most difficult goal Jarome Iginla has scored this season, but it might turn out to be his most important.
The Calgary captain's second of the game at 3:49 of overtime gave the Flames a 3-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
The Flames put on enormous pressure deep in the Blue Jackets zone, and Iginla finished the game after being set up in the slot by Alex Tanguay. Iginla scored into an empty net while goalie Mathieu Garon was trapped out of position.
''To win a game that looked like it slipped away is big for us,'' said Iginla, who is on an eight-game point streak (five goals, six assists). ''This year, we haven't been able to be as resilient and win those different games as we should and that we need to.''
After scoring only twice in the first 15 games, Iginla has 12 goals in the past 16.
''I definitely feel a lot better,'' Iginla said. ''I was thinking a little bit too much and getting a little too hesitant, and not trying things. Then it looks like you're not moving, then your work ethic falls a bit when you don't mean for it to.''
Calgary led 2-0 less than 5 minutes in, but the Blue Jackets rallied and tied it in the third period.
After waiting over 55 minutes to receive a power play, Columbus needed only 28 seconds of its first advantage to tie the game at 2.
With Adam Pardy off for hooking, Kris Russell faked a shot and sent a pass to Rick Nash at the top of the circle. The Blue Jackets captain scored his 17th goal of the season with a shot over the shoulder of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
Columbus pressed for the go-ahead goal throughout the third period, generating several dangerous chances around the Flames net.
However, when the puck wasn't bouncing just over a stick or trickling wide, the Flames were either lucky - Ethan Moreau put a shot off the goal post - or saved by Kiprusoff.
Kiprusoff jabbed out a toe to thwart R.J. Umberger, and then sprawled to deny a wraparound attempt by Antoine Vermette.
''It's tough to swallow, but we'll look at it as a good point,'' Nash said. ''We were down 2-0 after five minutes. To salvage a point out of it, it's good. I felt we dominated that last half of the game, which was important for us.''
Brendan Morrison also scored for Calgary.
Vermette added a goal for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four straight on the road after winning eight of their first nine this season away from Columbus.
Trailing 2-0, Columbus got a short-handed goal at 18:45 of the second period to pull to within a goal.
Andrew Murray outhustled Tanguay to a puck deep in the Flames zone, chipping it around the Flames forward. Murray carried the puck behind the net before sliding a backhand pass to the onrushing Vermette, who one-timed a shot past Kiprusoff.
''It was a dumb play,'' said Tanguay, who accepted the blame. ''I took a look back and thought Kipper was out to play it, I didn't get back very hard. Then I got into the corner and I just have to hit the guy.''
The game was just over two minutes old when Iginla extended his point streak. He has five goals and six assists during the spurt. Iginla took a perfect cross-ice pass from Mikael Backlund and snapped a wrist shot past goalie Steve Mason.
Morrison's first goal in 13 games increased the Flames lead to 2-0 at 4:25. With linemate Rene Bourque and Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin impairing Mason's view, Morrison's low shot from the faceoff dot beat Mason inside the far post.
That ended a short night's work for Mason, who was pulled by coach Scott Arniel and replaced by Garon.
''I just didn't like either goal,'' Arniel said. ''Sometimes as a coach you let the kid battle through it. I felt I wanted to make that move because I really wanted to battle back in this game.''
The move paid off. Garon was nearly perfect the rest of the way, making 20 stops.
''He was definitely good,'' Nash said. ''I wouldn't know but it seems tough for a backup goalie to come in that early mentally. I don't think he's too warm, didn't get a lot of shots in warmup. We're happy to have him, he'd be the number one goalie on a lot of teams.''
Notes: The Flames began a stretch of five consecutive games against opponents not in a playoff spot. ... Calgary has gone 22 games without recording consecutive wins, its longest slump since the 2002-03 season when the Flames went 26 games without recording back-to-back victories. ... Calgary C Matt Stajan was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. ... Columbus RW Rick Nash needs one assist to tie David Vyborny (204) for first place on the Blue Jackets' career list. Nash is first in goals (243) and points (446). ... Kiprusoff is 3-2 after having a game off.