SUN Hockey Pool

Flames find burning desire

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Cliches aren't always a bad idea.

The players don't reserve them just for media scrums, either.

You might be surprised to hear that there was no yelling, no throwing things and in fact, no negativity at all in the Calgary Flames dressing room during the first intermission despite the fact they were down by two goals against a hated Northwest Division rival with first place on the line.

There were some time-tested cliches, though.

Like the fact a 2-0 lead is the worst lead in hockey.

"We heard that one," said Flames defenceman Cory Sarich, whose team responded with a dominant final 40 minutes to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 at the Saddledome last night. "I heard that one come out of (Wayne Primeau's) mouth, so I did hear that for sure.

"There were lots of comments thrown out -- a little bit by everybody. You could just tell that guys were into the game, even in the first period."

Jarome Iginla, who started the comeback with the first Flames goal 2:11 into the second period, said it was a case of his team being a little overexcited for the big game and trying to do a little too much.

One guy who couldn't do much more was goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

With his wife due to give birth at any moment, Roberto Luongo is on baby watch.

In the early going last night, though, it was Kiprusoff feeling labour pains.

His workload in the first period alone? Twenty-one shots against.

To put that in perspective, Colorado Avalanche netminder Jose Theodore had to stop just two more over the previous night's entire game to shut out the Flames.

There would have been little possibility of a comeback had it not been for Kiprusoff. People were quick to point out the goalscorers -- Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Dion Phaneuf -- as heroes, but it took all the team's best players to pull off a win.

"It was about our best players, even before the second period," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan. "You have to have the goaltender. We had to withstand the barrage of opportunities they had in the first period."

Markus Naslund scored on a powerplay, and a blooper shot by Daniel Sedin from behind the goal-line banked between Kiprusoff's legs off his own glove 12 seconds later to give the Canucks a two-goal cushion.

He wouldn't be beaten again.

The Flames hardly gave the Canucks a chance, as they outshot the visitors 33-13 over the final 40 minutes.

A pair of powerplay goals -- Langkow's nifty deflection of a perfect pass from Alex Tanguay, and Phaneuf's rocket to the top shelf on the short side -- came 41 seconds apart to complete the comeback that began with words in the dressing room during the first intermission.

But they didn't come from the coaches. By the time they got into the room, the love-fest was already in full swing. Among the more vocal guys in the room were Iginla, Phaneuf and Wayne Primeau, who helped fish the puck loose on Iginla's 49th goal of the year.

"'Bout time we figured it out in here ourselves," said Sarich. "You don't need to be yelled at. We knew what we didn't do in the first period, and we knew what we needed to do for the rest of the game. When you respond, it's a great feeling."

Craig Conroy figures the Flames might have discovered the recipe for success in stressful times.

"Very positive in here," Conroy said. "Maybe it hasn't been positive. Maybe we just need to be a little more positive. Guys said, 'We can do this. We've got a good enough team to come back. Let's just throw it all out there and whatever happens, happens.'

"For whatever reason, it started to roll."


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