Jarome Iginla's shootout effort summed up the captain's night. No fancy approach. No deke attempted. Iginla just skated over the blueline to the top of the circles and ripped a slapshot past Dan Cloutier, who could only get a piece of the burning rubber.
A crushing blow delivered to Byron Ritchie by the Vancouver Canucks pest Jarkko Ruutu had the Calgary Flames' leader fired up late in the second period and the emotion seemed to carry Iginla the rest of the way.
"I think it sparked a lot of guys on our team. (Chris Simon) went in there and had a big tilt," said Iginla after the Flames' 3-2 victory at the Saddledome last night. "It shows the regular season is coming. Every game we play them, they're always physical games. It's kind of stepping it up one more notch physically as a team and we've got a few more to go."
After Ruutu caught Ritchie with his head down at the Flames blueline, Iginla tried to go after the pesky Canuck but was held back by an official and handed an unsportsmanlike penalty. He came out of box in an apparent rage, looking to hit anyone wearing an orca.
"In fairness, it was a clean hit," Iginla said later. "But you never want to see a teammate get hit like that -- that hard. As the other team, we don't have to like it and we didn't."