SUN Hockey Pool

Blood and glory

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Jarome Iginla set the tone on his first shift.

The Calgary Flames' leader rammed into Francis Bouillon in the opening minutes and then slammed the Montreal Canadiens on the scoresheet to lead his team to a high-impact 3-2 victory in front of 19,289 fans at the Saddledome last night.

Iginla was penalized for charging but his hard check made a statement. His teammates followed suit all night long, gradually wearing down the Canadiens.

Maybe more importantly, Iginla continued to show the hot hand in the scoring department, potting a pair of powerplay goals -- including the winner in the second period -- and an assist to keep the Flames atop the tight Northwest Division.

"Lately I've been feeling pretty good," said Iginla. "Tonight I was able to get some good passes, a lot of scoring chances, and fortunately a couple went in."

But it was the Canadiens who struck first.

They took advantage of Iginla's penalty and scored their eighth powerplay goal in three games with the Flames' captain in the box for charging.

Sheldon Souray's shot was deflected by captain Saku Koivu past Miikka Kiprusoff to give the visitors the lead just 3:07 into the game.

That was the only goal the Canadiens would get until late in the third.

The Flames took the lead shortly after a bloody battle between Darren McCarty and Souray 12:15 into the first period.

McCarty was sent to the locker-room for a little medical attention with a gash over the right eye but the Flames came away on the winning end of the incident when Souray was given an extra five and a game for intent to injure.

Less than a minute into the bonus powerplay, Niklas Sundstrom was given a minor for tripping and the Flames swarmed Theodore during the five-on-three advantage.

Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Dion Phaneuf were all denied on multiple occasions by the Habs netminder before Langkow tipped Phaneuf's slapper home to put the Flames ahead with five seconds remaining in Sundstrom's penalty.

Langkow gave credit to McCarty for his self sacrifice.

"That was definitely the turning point in the game," Langkow said of the Souray penalty. "We got into some penalty trouble early there and they got one but we didn't let it get us down. We kept going."

Iginla's second of the night gave the Flames a little more breathing room 10:51 into the second. Taking advantage of a Habs defence that was down to five men, Iginla slid home his 21st of the season during a scramble in front.

"It was a long shift for us," said Iginla. "They had iced it before that so they'd been out there a very long time.

"It was a lot of battling in the corners. We were tired but we figured if we were tired, they've got to be more tired being out there that long. We were just jamming at it at that point. It came out in front and (I) shovelled it in."

A long shot from Alex Kovalev beat Kiprusoff with 4:26 to play in regulation, bringing the Canadiens to within one, but the Flames goaltender had a relatively easy night.


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