SUN Hockey Pool

Coach blames Kipper

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Talk about a wakeup call.

Then an unfortunate knockout punch.

One of the only Calgary Flames forwards who didn't appear to sleepwalk through the month of November is the same one who snapped his teammates out of a slumber in the second period last night.

Captain Jarome Iginla took matters into his own hands with his team trailing 2-0 and inspired a comeback that earned them an important point in last night's 4-3 loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

But that was before unknown Curtis Glencross potted his second goal of the game in overtime to snuff the good feelings for the Flames.

Iginla's fight with Ole-Kristian Tollefsen sparked the two-goal second period and got the team out of a temporary state of shock after falling behind by a pair with less than a minute to go in the first frame.

But the biggest blow came from Flames head coach Mike Keenan, who put the lost point squarely on the shoulders of his struggling goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

"Let's call a spade a spade. We should have better goaltending. Period," said Keenan, whose team once again outworked and outchanced an opponent but came up short on points.

"If we had, we'd be rewarded with a victory tonight."

Kiprusoff couldn't track Nikolai Zherdev's shot at 8:20 of the first, as it sailed by his glove hand to give the Jackets a lead after the Flames stormed out of the gate.

Glencross netted his first of the game with 50 seconds to go in the opening 20 minutes by pouncing on a puck that Kiprusoff couldn't control after Gilbert Brule put it into his pads.

The team seemed shellshocked as the second period began.

"If you want to say the team was a little bit in a lull, I say it's because the goaltending tonight wasn't as good as it should be," said Keenan, who has been very patient with his team to this point but seems to be running out of it when it comes to his disappointing star goaltender.

"The team expects more, and we didn't get it."

Had the former Vezina Trophy winner stopped even one of those first-period scores, it would have been a different game the way the team was playing in front of him.

"It's always frustrating to lose a game, but I was proud of the way the team worked and came back and overcame a deficit," said Keenan.

"I thought we worked extremely hard and gave ourselves a chance to come out of here with a win tonight because of their effort."

No one can question Iginla's effort.

He was a force all night long. And when the team seemed down, he brought them back from the ledge with the help of linemates Daymond Langkow and Kristian Huselius -- as well as with his fists.

"Yeah, Iggy got in there and dropped the gloves. I think that gave us a little motivation and momentum and we seemed to take over from there," said Langkow, who scored on the powerplay a few minutes later with Iginla still in the box in the middle frame.

"I thought we played better after that."

Iginla tied it up himself with a heroic effort, charging out from the corner with a defender draped all over him and from his knees batting in his own rebound out of the air and over Fredrik Norrena.

Things got dicey when the Jackets grabbed the lead in the third after Alex Tanguay redirected Kris Beech's pass between Kiprusoff's legs, but Aucoin got a lucky bounce of his own seconds later to tie things at 3-3 and force overtime.

"It just seems like nothing's going our way," said Langkow. "It's unfortunate. We wanted to get the two points. We've just got to keep working hard.

"It's gonna come. It sounds like a broken record but we had a lot of good chances. I think once it starts going for us, we'll be good. We've got to keep battling."


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