Flames 7, Hurricanes 6
Brendan Morrison made the most of some unexpected playing time.
Morrison had two goals and two assists Tuesday night, leading the Calgary Flames to a 7-6 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
A healthy scratch for the past five games, Morrison was inserted into the lineup when Curtis Glencross was scratched with the flu.
''It's nice to come in and contribute, I'm not going to hide that,'' Morrison said. ''But the main thing is we won the game.''
Jarome Iginla had two goals and an assist in Calgary's highest scoring game of the season. Lee Stempniak scored and had an assist, and Rene Bourque and Mikael Backlund also scored.
Eric Staal scored twice for Carolina, and Jiri Tlusty scored the Hurricanes' first goal of the night on a penalty shot. Chad LaRose, Tuomo Ruutu and Tim Brent also scored.
Backup Mike Murphy took the loss in his first NHL appearance despite not allowing a goal. He replaced Cam Ward in the third period and stopped both shots he faced, but was the goalie of record when Iginla recorded an empty-netter at 18:51 for Calgary's final score.
According to research by the Elias Sports Bureau, Murphy is the first goalie in NHL history to record a loss before allowing a goal.
The Hurricanes have dropped four straight games since Paul Maurice was fired and Kirk Muller took over as coach, and have lost seven straight overall. They are in Edmonton on Wednesday night as their four-game trip continues.
''We're going through a part of the schedule right now where it seems like every little miscue we make, comes right back to haunt us,'' Muller said. ''We scored six, which shows the guys didn't quit, they pushed each other. If we keep doing that, we'll finally get out of this thing.''
The Flames are 4-1-1 in their last six games.
The 36-year-old Morrison skated on a line with Iginla and Olli Jokinen, and took advantage of the opportunity. He had his first four-point game since he had four assists for Vancouver at Calgary on Dec. 23, 2005.
''It was impressive,'' Iginla said. ''He's always around, helping out the young guys, and staying positive. It's great to see him step in the lineup today and look great and feel great.''
The trio was Calgary's best line all night, starting with their first shift when Morrison set up Jokinen, who was robbed by Cam Ward. Morrison and Jokinen later combined to set up Iginla in front for his eighth goal. Jokinen finished with three assists.
Calgary took a 3-0 lead 42 seconds into the second period when Morrison capped off a 3-on-2 rush, batting in a loose puck from the edge of the crease.
''It helps a lot when you start the game with a shift like that,'' Morrison said. ''You come back to the bench, you're feeling good. You hold the puck a little bit longer, you make plays, instead of just getting it and getting rid of it. Those guys are obviously good hockey players, it's pretty easy to step in and play with them.''
Morrison capped off his first two-goal game since Oct. 26, 2010, with a pinball-style goal 1:22 into the third period, which put the Flames ahead 5-2. His slap shot from off the wing deflected off Carolina defenseman Jamie McBain, then went off the far post and Ward's leg before trickling into the net.
Morrison had offseason knee surgery and has been hampered by the injury on and off this season. He entered with one goal and no assists in 10 games.
Tlusty got Carolina on the board at 5:39 of the second. Tlusty was awarded the penalty shot after diving defenseman T.J. Brodie wiped him out as he broke in alone on Miikka Kiprusoff. Given a second chance, he faked a shot, swung wide and fired a shot under the crossbar to make it 3-1.
The Hurricanes got within one at 13:16 when Brent hammered in Staal's rebound for his first goal in 18 games.
Calgary regained the two-goal cushion 50 seconds later. Bourque stripped the puck from Derek Joslin at the Flames' blue line and charged the ice, rifling a shot through Ward's legs for his ninth goal.
Ward was pulled after Backlund's power-play goal at 10:57 in the third made it 6-3. He stopped 26 shots.
Backlund's score was the Flames' third power-play goal at home this season and ended a 0-for-29 run with the extra man.
Carolina mounted a comeback in the third period, scoring three times in the last seven minutes of the game. But there was only 5 seconds left after Staal's second of the night got the Hurricanes within one.
''We made too many mistakes and it cost us goals,'' Staal said. ''We have to find a way to correct those mistakes and those bobbled pucks, and if it happens, fight for it, fight for each other.''
NOTES: Carolina D Joni Pitkanen (upper body) left the game in the second period and did not return. ... With Calgary G Henrik Karlsson on injured reserve, Leland Irving, who was called up from Abbotsford of the AHL on Monday, dressed as the backup. ... Carolina also had a new backup in uniform with Mike Murphy recalled from Charlotte of the AHL to replace Brian Boucher (lower body), who was injured Monday in practice. ... Kiprusoff had stopped the last five penalty shots dating to Vernon Fiddler's goal for Nashville on Nov. 6, 2008. ... Calgary's previous power-play goal at home was scored by Bourque on Oct. 26 against Colorado.