SUN Hockey Pool

Phaneuf never saw second puck enter net

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

Dion Phaneuf would have loved to see his second goal go in.

After all, every point man wants to witness his slapper bulge the twine and relish in the excitement and celebration that ensues.

Except, when the Calgary Flames rising star defenceman netted that key goal in last night's 4-3 shootout victory, he was looking the other way readying to get a new stick at the bench.

He snapped his weapon in two pieces, yet somehow the puck still made it through the maze of players and past Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

"I tried to get all of it but my stick snapped. I didn't get a whole lot on it. We had great traffic by Iggy and luckily it went through," Phaneuf said.

"I was turning to change and the place erupted.

"I knew it was a good sign."

Speaking of good signs, how's that awaited contract extension for Phaneuf going?

Did the price go up after last night's performance?

Lord knows, the 22-year-old all-star has proven he's a definite tide-turner.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla ended up the hero for scoring the game-tying goal with 8.2 seconds remaining in regulation and then the shootout winner, but there would have been no chance for that storyline without Phaneuf's grand performance.

Seven minutes into the third period, the Flames appeared to be left for dead when he made it a 3-1 contest with his first goal of the night, a patented rocket from the point before the netminder could get into position.

The second was less orthodox, by comparison his one-timer on the pass from Anders Eriksson practically needing a couple of curling sweepers to get the puck its destination.

"I saw Iggy on the far post and tried to get it to him, but there were two or three guys in front so I got it back," Eriksson said.

"I knew Neuf was open because he was screaming he was open 20 seconds before I had the puck.

"They were all collapsing so we had a shot and there's probably no better person to get it to. He broke his stick so it wasn't very hard, but it got in."

And turned the tide from what was looking like another disappointing loss, only 24 hours after being blanked and blitzed by the lowly Edmonton Oilers.

"I don't think we played as bad as you guys are making it out to seem," Phaneuf said of last night's clash.

"We outshot a team in the first two (periods) but the bottom line is we did not have three goals and they had three.

"In saying that, they were playing very well and we were not doing that little bit extra to put the puck in the net.

"We knew after 40 minutes we needed to come out with a big effort and we did that. It's a huge character win for our team.

"It's the biggest win of the year for us because it was a game we needed to win.

"(Monday) night's in the past," he continued.

"Honestly, if you look in the past in this league now you're in trouble.

"You're playing every second day down the stretch, and if you have a bad one, you move forward, if you have a good one, you move forward.

"Now we move forward and leave this one behind."


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