SUN Hockey Pool

Road warriors complete sweep

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:06 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As the Calgary Flames celebrated their victory to close out one of the most successful road trips in history, a symbol of their achievement hung from a pair of hangers hooked to the drop ceiling in their dressing room.

A large wooden broom.

It was a clean sweep.

The 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets punctuated a record-tying journey -- only the 1971-72 Boston Bruins and 1982-83 Philadelphia Flyers had swept six-game road trips previously -- and another strong performance by goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made sure it ended just as it began.

The unthinkable run started so long ago, it's a little difficult to recall.

"I was trying to think the other day who we played first on the trip. It took me a few minutes," said a happy-to-be-going-home Robyn Regehr, who gave full marks to his goaltender.

"That's what won us the game tonight. Miikka, I thought, did a tremendous job for us. I don't know if he was first star. He should be first star."

Making at least a handful of potentially game-changing saves among the 36 to his credit, Kiprusoff also had to battle the traffic that occasionally ran into and over the Finn.

"They were coming hard to the net. They have a couple of guys with good hands around the net, too," said Kiprusoff, who lost his mask a couple of times on the night.

"Our defence can't do too much or it's going to be interference. But they were good after that, they took care of the rebounds."

Adrian Aucoin, Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla took care of the offence, while Curtis Glencross was the only Blue Jacket able to beat Kiprusoff.

Now, the Flames can enjoy the big picture of what they accomplished over the past couple of weeks.

"It feels awesome," said Iginla, who finished with nine goals and 12 points on the trip. "It's one of the best, most enjoyable stretches I've been on since being here.

"It's been a great vibe going."

After a rocky month of November, the Flames' future was looking a little bleak.

It's amazing what a successful road run can do. They're now in the thick of the playoff hunt and challenging for the division lead.

"We got ourselves out of a hole -- that's what this road trip did for us," said head coach Mike Keenan, who didn't hesitate when asked whether or not the team should just stay away from home a little longer to keep the streak going.

"No, it's time to go home. They put a lot of work in and, as you know, we've had a lot of travel," he said, adding the team wouldn't practice today as they recover from their journey and take some quality time away from the rink before Friday's game against Dallas.

"They need a break now. They need to go home and get some rest, see their families."

Tanguay, who snapped an eight-game goal drought with his slapper through the legs of Jackets netminder Pascal Leclaire, admitted there were some good times to be had during their travels.

However, Tanguay is as eager as the rest of his teammates to see his loved ones, which for him includes a pregnant wife.

"It's been fun on the road, and it's always nice to have the southern swing where you get to wear shorts and that," he said with a smile. "But it's time to get home."


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