SUN Hockey Pool

Saving best for last

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

Breakaways have never been Miikka Kiprusoff's strong suit.

Add in the fact it was early in the third period and he had only faced a dozen shots over the first 40 minutes and many expected the worst as Columbus Blue Jacket Alexandre Picard, fresh out of the penalty box, streaked in.

But the Calgary Flames goaltender got his right pad on the puck to keep his club within a goal of the visitors.

Minutes later, his teammates rewarded him with two quick goals to give the Flames a 2-1 comeback win in front of an appreciative full house last night -- their seventh straight at the Saddledome.

"That was huge," said Jarome Iginla, who tied the game shortly after the save. "It's such a big play. They get that, it's 2-0 and it's hard not to be deflated on the bench. A save like that, it lifts everybody up and gives you a chance.

"He's a pretty focused guy. I'm sure it is tough. Whether he gets 15 shots or 40, he seems like exactly the same guy in there and comes up with big plays."

Two minutes after Iginla's 298th NHL marker, Chuck Kobasew struck to give the Flames the lead.

Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire and his teammates were left stunned when Kobasew scored the winner amid a premature celebration.

His first shot hit the post and banked off the netminder before Leclaire swept it off the goal-line with his blocker. But the rebound went back to Kobasew, who bounced it off Leclaire's body and in as the red spotlight shone down and heat from the celebratory balls of fire still lingered.

"It came right to me," said Kobasew of the second effort, which was reviewed upstairs for a minute or two. "Some of the guys stopped -- I don't know if they thought it was a whistle or if they thought it was in -- but I just kept playing. It came over to me and I shot it and everyone's kind of waiting to see what happens.

"You're taught at a young age to play until the whistle and I didn't hear one. It was loud with the goal horn and the music or whatever but I didn't hear the whistle."

Leclaire made some incredible stops to keep the Flames off the board early as the home side set up shop in the Columbus zone.

Iginla, Matthew Lombardi and Tony Amonte were all denied before the Blue Jackets took advantage of a late penalty to defenceman Andrei Zyuzin when Ron Hainsey's wrist shot got past a screened Kiprusoff with 28 seconds left in the first period.

Unhappy with their play in the first two frames, the Flames really pressed the Blue Jackets after Kiprusoff's game-saver.

"(Leclaire) played a good game but we weren't satisfied with the way we played the first 40 minutes," said Kobasew.

That all changed when Iginla got the Flames on the scoreboard. He did it with a little self sacrifice as defenceman Robyn Regehr's point shot hit him to set up the rebound goal.

"Reggie let a wrist shot go and he hit me right in the side of the leg. It hurt," said Iginla with a laugh. "But it was sitting there, I had time to bang it. It was nice to see it go in."


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