SUN Hockey Pool

Iggy captain fantastic

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

Jarome Iginla wasn't up for belting out a few bars of Auld Lang Syne, the famous New Year's Eve song.

At least not for the assembled media after last night's 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

"I know the first part but I'm gonna save it," said the Calgary Flames captain with a laugh.

Besides, he'd already led his team to a victory that had the Saddledome gathering of 19,289 singing a happy tune before ringing in 2007.

Iginla finished his outstanding month with one goal and a pair of assists in a victory that vaulted the Flames into top spot in the Northwest Division.

"Once again, Iggy took the bull by the horns early," said linemate Daymond Langkow, who also tallied. "He got us started with the first goal and a huge part of the second. It was a good play by Tony (Amonte) to pull up there and buy some time for Iggy to get down there. I had an open net."

On a night for celebrating, Iginla started the party early by one-timing a cross-ice feed from Kristian Huselius before six minutes had ticked off the clock.

By the first-period's midway point, he set up Langkow -- stripping the puck from Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson behind the net before feeding the pass -- and rounded out the night by aiding Dion Phaneuf's game-winner early in the second period.

Iginla, who put up three four-point games in December, moved into a tie for second spot in the league's scoring race with 52 points (22 goals and 30 assists).

"It feels good. I'd be lying if I said it didn't," he said, before trying to steer talk elsewhere. "The win feels good, it's been a good month for our club -- our best yet. As a team, we've been able to find ways to get more offensive production. That was one of our goals this year and we want to continue that."

Chuck Kobasew, who snapped a goal-scoring drought that had reached a dozen games rounded out the scoring for the Flames. Calgary is actually tied with Minnesota in points but have played fewer games.

"I think Jarome, on most nights, has been our best player," said head coach Jim Playfair. "He has a real burning passion to be a top player and help lead our team.

"I'm impressed with Jarome's plus/minus, I am impressed with his ability to kill penalties, I'm impressed with his ability to stay on task and be available last minute of the game, last minute of the periods. I think the offensive production is something that a big deal has been made out of it because he hasn't done it early before and so now he's done it early, and now the thing is to sustain it for him."

And it could have been better for Iginla, who twice missed attempts on empty nets.

But the victory over Calgary's biggest rival didn't end with Iginla's play.

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff denied Oilers star Ryan Smyth on a breakaway 20 seconds into the game to set the tone of his 22-save performance. The netminder who'd been maligned for surrendering more than the usual number of goals of late also robbed Shawn Horcoff on a showdown.

The Oilers (18-18-2) fell short of gaining the franchise's 1,000th victory, not that any Flames were about to feel sorry for preventing that milestone from being reached in the Stampede City.

"It's nice to beat the Oilers, especially when there's Oilers fans in the stands," said defenceman Robyn Regehr. "Hopefully they're at home crying."


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