Iggy's idea best in biz

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Earning the hat-trick by grabbing the NHL's first-star honours for the week to go with his second- and third-star kudos earlier in the season, Jarome Iginla was the lone Calgary Flames player to get his name up on the virtual billboard.

But it could just as easily have been a sweep the way the week went for the Flames -- winners of five straight on the road and looking at running the table on the trip in tonight's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Iginla's fellow wingman Kristian Huselius certainly gets the nod from his captain.

"Two five-point nights in a week," said Iginla at the Nationwide Arena, where the Flames had an optional practice yesterday. "Sometimes you get points and it's good breaks ... but his were gamebreaker points. He was giving people open nets, myself included, and breakaways and getting things started. It was an amazing week he had.

"I really enjoyed playing with him -- and benefited from playing with him."

Oh, but Iginla had a hand in that, too, having discussed the idea of putting Daymond Langkow and Kristian Huselius beside him with head coach Mike Keenan to mix things up a bit while the pair was slumping in November.

"Jarome did talk to me," said Keenan. "From time to time, players will come to you and talk to you about the possibilities. You look at the options and you make decisions. Sometimes, those decisions are made during the game."

Often line changes are made to adjust to injuries. In this case, it was all about trying to find more chemistry to lead to more wins. The decision is making both Keenan and Iginla look like geniuses.

"I talk to Mike a fair amount, when things are good and when they're not. Good dialogue," said Iginla. "For a while there, as a group, we weren't winning and we weren't scoring a lot of goals.

"It was just an idea. It was just a small thing. Just part of one conversation."

The fresh outlook has paid off on the scoresheet and -- ultimately -- in the win column. The team is 6-0-2 since the trio's debut Dec. 1 and has amassed 39 points between them. After scoring 28 times in all of November, they've racked up 30 goals in eight games this month.

"Sometimes, the experiment is magical, and, sometimes, it's not," said Keenan. "When it is, you usually let it ride for a while."

Iginla's seven goals over the four games last week were a league high, but Huselius' 11 points included two performances never matched by the captain.

"I've never had a five-point night," said Iginla. "That's pretty cool. He's had two of them in a week."

There was one night Iginla nearly reached that mark. He had his first NHL hat-trick and an assist in New York during the 2001-02 season and was in perfect position for a fourth score.

"(Marc Savard) passed me a puck for a fifth point. It would have been my fourth goal. One d-man in front of the net, and I hit him. Shin pads, that's all that would have stopped it. That was probably my best opportunity at a five."

For now, the nod from the NHL and the way his team has shot back up the standings into the playoff positioning will have to keep him happy.

Some kind of memento to wrap it all up would be nice, though.

"If I had one grumble ..." cracked Iginla with a laugh, "at least a paperweight or something that you can remember it by when you get older. It's an honour, and I'll take it and appreciate it, but a paperweight or something would be awesome."


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