Just Phaneuf to get a win

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Jarome Iginla wasn't on hand to lure the crowd to its feet with a beautiful goal.

Nor Miikka Kiprusoff to do the same with a scintillating save.

It was up to Dion Phaneuf to provide the entertainment.

Boy, did he deliver, being a one-man highlight reel in last night's 3-2 Flames win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

And we mean in all areas, from good to bad.

In the first minute, last season's Norris Trophy runner-up coughed up the puck that led to the first of Enver Lisin's two goals for the Desert Dogs.

"It's not the way you want to start, but we came back and showed a lot," Phaneuf said. "It's a group with a lot of new guys, so to come back and get a big win -- pre-season or not -- is what you want."

He led the way back.

First, he ignited the 12,621 on hand at the MTS Centre -- about 2,500 short of a sellout -- with one of his patented open-ice shoulder checks on Daniel Carcillo.

Then he put the Flames on the board to cue the comeback, firing a shot from the point past Al Montoya for a shorthanded marker.

Talk about displaying his full repertoire.

"That first goal got us rolling," said goalie Matt Keetley, who went the distance for the win.

"Look at him, he makes a couple of hits, too.

"Honestly, he changed the game around for us."

Did you expect otherwise? Phaneuf didn't, especially after his first-minute gaffe.

"You definitely want to get it back or help contribute in any way you can. That's what you have to do," he said.

The catalyst was the hit on Carcillo, one that won't be hard to find on YouTube very soon.

"It's a good feeling," admitted Phaneuf, who ended the night with six shots on goal. "It's a big part of my game, I don't think that's a secret to me, you guys or anyone."

Head coach Mike Keenan sure appreciated the lift Phaneuf gave the team.

"He's always full of enthusiasm and wants to play. A high-energy individual that brings that demeanour to our team, regardless if it's pre-season or a Stanley Cup game," Keenan said.

From there, the Flames took over to even their pre-season record at one win and one loss.

Matt Pelech -- Calgary's first-round draft choice from 2005 -- tied the game with a powerplay goal late in the second and Daymond Langkow's rebound effort served as the game-winner.

The pre-season continues tonight for both teams when they face off again at the Saddledome.


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