SUN Hockey Pool

Hand of God lifts Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- The only dancing Eric Godard did last night against a tough Nashville team was after his goal -- the winner in a 7-4 game over the host Nashville Predators.

Unfortunately for the Calgary Flames tough guy -- nicknamed God by teammates -- the game wasn't televised anywhere, which means the person he did it for may not get to see it.

"I think my mom will like that back home," said Godard, whose goal in the third period snapped a deadlock and stood as the winner.

You'd think the 6-ft.-4, 216-pounder, known more for his fists than his hands, would be a little more excited.

"It's no big deal -- third one of the career," he said with a grin -- the other two came with the New York Islanders two seasons ago.

"I'm used to it by now."

For some reason, two of his three goals -- including last night's -- have been subject to review. Maybe NHL officials have a hard time believing he can score?

"I guess -- I don't know," he joked. "It's not right."

Godard was given the puck after the game and credited Stephane Yelle for the perfect pass he tapped past Predators goalie Chris Mason while charging the net with speed 4:02 into the final frame. But Godard doesn't know how inspirational his eventful tally was deemed by teammates.

"God's goal was huge," said Jarome Iginla, who added insurance in the third period in the Flames second win in as many nights. "It was a big emotional boost seeing him drive the net like that for us there. And I thought from there we just took the game over."

The genius responsible for inserting the element of toughness into the lineup wasn't Flames head coach Mike Keenan, although he could have taken credit.

"Well, that's Rich Preston," Keenan said of his assistant. "The coaches, we always discuss the lineup. Rich was more aware of their team than I was because of the familiarity he has with the conference and Nashville's past. The history tells them that they play a little more aggressively here.

"Eric has stayed patient, works at his game. They try to dress an element of toughness in their lineup, and we wanted to be prepared for that."

Kristian Huselius added his second of the game late to cap off a three-goal third that helped the Flames overcome a collapse in the second period after twice gaining two-goal leads.

Daymond Langkow, Craig Conroy and Matthew Lombardi, on a shorthanded breakaway tally, also scored.


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