SUN Hockey Pool

Pick-pocket turns tide

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Everyone else in the Saddledome was stunned to see Scott Niedermayer victimized in that way.

Good thing Kristian Huselius had the presence of mind to keep his focus on the play at hand and finish it off in grand style.

With the Calgary Flames down a goal -- a fortunate turn of events considering how badly they'd been outplayed through the first 30 minutes of last night's clash with the Anaheim Ducks -- Huselius picked Niedermayer's pocket at the side of the net and promptly roofed an in-close chance.

It was the turning point as the Flames posted a 5-3 victory before a boisterous sellout crowd of 19,289 at the Saddledome.

"I saw it bounce a little bit and I don't think he saw me, so I just tried to sneak behind him," Huselius said with a wry grin. "I was lucky to get it there, but it was nice to see it go in."

Less than two minutes earlier, Jarome Iginla scored his first of two goals on the night to give life to what appeared to be a Flames team on the verge of being left for dead and extending what was already a three-game losing streak.

Iginla netted the winner in the final minutes with a fortunate powerplay goal -- his long shot banked in off Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger and into the net behind goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere -- and Huselius capped it with an empty-netter.

Iginla, who upped his goal total to 27 on the season, was deserving of his first-star honours, but couldn't help but rave about Huselius' clutch tally.

"It's the tying goal, but it's also a big momentum goal. He was on fire again tonight, just creating. The moves he was making ..." Iginla said. "As a group, after the first period I thought every single guy picked it up and was committed and physically there."

The same can't be said for the first period, even though Dustin Boyd put the hosts ahead with a goal in the first two minutes.

Anaheim, which was riding a four-game winning streak, had a 16-6 margin in shots and pulled ahead thanks to goals by Todd Bertuzzi and George Parros. The situation looked even more dire for Calgary when Niedermayer made it a 3-1 game with a powerplay goal 75 seconds into the middle frame.

It was nearly worse, but maligned goalie Miikka Kiprusoff -- pulled last outing due to a poor performance and at the centre of a firestorm over a couple of days -- kept his team within a pair by stopping Rob Niedermayer on a breakaway chance, the biggest of his 29 saves.

"He gave us a big lift," said head coach Mike Keenan. "That was a big save for us -- a timely save -- which is what a good goalie can do for you. We needed it, he did it for us and it gave us a chance to respond in kind."

The comeback earned the Flames (18-14-7) just their eighth home-ice victory and snapped a three-game skid in their own barn -- although they'd earned a point in each of those defeats. It also, according to Huselius, provided a much-needed bit of relief.

"There are some wins and there are some good wins and this was a huge win for us," he said. "We kinda lost our confidence a little bit here at home and didn't play our best game in the first but came back."

Giguere, who was pretty much a spectator through the first half of the game, finished with 30 saves for the Ducks (19-16-5).

Up next for the Flames is a New Year's Eve match at the 'Dome against Vancouver.


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