Who will fill the void?

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 8:23 AM ET

The air was virtually sucked out of the Saddledome when Chuck Kobasew wobbled off the ice.

It became a vacuum when Jarome Iginla left.

Playing without their leader -- something they'll have to do with Iginla out at least a couple of weeks with a sprained left knee -- the Calgary Flames looked lost until the final few minutes of a 5-4 overtime win Thursday night against the Florida Panthers.

Calgary hosts the Dallas Stars tonight (8 p.m., 'Dome).

Supporting cast members Byron Ritchie, David Moss and Mark Giordano shook off the shock of losing both Iginla and Kobasew to injury and came through with goals to pull off the important victory.

Head coach Jim Playfair expects more of the same in the near future as his captain heals before being re-examined next week. He says the void on the right side will be filled by committee.

"If you go back to when Darryl (GM Sutter) first came here, we started talking about bringing players in," said Playfair yesterday. "One of the mandates was players that could play two positions.

"When you look at it, Kristian (Huselius) could go over there, Byron Ritchie could go over there, Tony Amonte could go over there. David Moss.

"It'll be a committee. We'll get it done."

Iginla was impressed by Thursday's finish in his absence.

"It was a great comeback win," said Iginla after addressing the giant media gathering awaiting news on his injury that occurred after a hit from Florida Panthers defenceman Bryan Allen in the second period just before the two squared off at centre ice.

"I thought it was amazing how we turned it around. Some people had left the building -- and you can't blame them, it wasn't a great feeling in the 'Dome at that time -- but it was great. It was a great OT win.

"We have a lot of talented players and we're a good team. Good teams find ways to win games and go through challenges. Every time you lose a player, it's a challenge."

Iginla's teammates know it'll take a group effort to fill their leader's skates.

"A guy like that, you can't replace him," said Daymond Langkow, one of Allen's three victims after blocking a shot with his right foot Thursday and skipping practice yesterday. "But we've got some young guys that have come in already -- David Moss, as an example, he's done a tremendous job for us, a huge goal (Thursday) night.

"It's an opportunity for someone else to step in and do the job."

Moss is looking forward to a little more ice time. He played nearly 12 minutes against the Panthers and scored the game-tying goal late in the third period Thursday.

"Definitely, the more you play, the more you get comfortable out there," he said.

Moss nearly became the fourth Allen casualty after taking a crushing blow from the big d-man before potting his fourth of the season.

"I tried to beat him wide and he stepped right into me," said Moss, cracking a smile. "That was nice. You feel a bit better after getting rocked when you score a goal."


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