SUN Hockey Pool

Hat trick a treat for Flames

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Not content with just one milestone moment, Michael Cammalleri decided to double his fun.

It was perfect timing for the Calgary Flames.

Cammalleri first scored the 100th goal of his NHL career and then netted his first hat-trick to pace the Flames to a 4-3 comeback victory over the Vancouver Canucks last night.

A big night for the skilled forward.

A bigger result for the Flames.

"We look at these two games, and you can't have a great series if you don't win the first game," Cammalleri said. "Tonight was big for us. Those two points were needed and now it gives us an opportunity to do something special Saturday."

The Northwest Division rivals meet tomorrow night at the Saddledome in the second half of their home-and-home set.

The Flames (13-9-1) pulled within three points of the Northwest Division leading Canucks (14-7-2).

Sure makes you wonder what took so long to unite Cammalleri with Jarome Iginla. The pair were absolute dynamite in handing the Canucks their first regulation-time loss in nearly three weeks.

Iginla set up two of Cammalleri's tallies.

"Anybody would be glad to play with him," said Cammalleri, who now has nine goals on the season. "He's one of the best players in the world and he draws so much attention. He showed tonight how under-rated his passing ability is. That second goal was one of the best passes I've had ever."

Iginla may be the two-time 50-goal man, but he certainly showed some feathery soft passing abilities.

Cammalleri's second goal was created by a cross-ice offering that gave the shooter half the net to hit.

The hat-trick goal was another one-timer set up by Iginla.

"I don't want to be shooting all the time. I like shooting, obviously, but you can't be predictable," said Iginla, who had his best game of the season. "Cammy's got as good a one-timer as anybody in the league. He gets it off quickly. Part of being a good line is all of us being able to shoot, all of us being able to pass."

It's Calgary's first victory over Vancouver this season, but it didn't come easy.

The Flames are notorious for falling behind in the early going before the sellout crowd of 18,630 GM Place, and it happened once again.

Less than six minutes into the clash, Darcy Hordichuk batted a rebound past Miikka Kiprusoff to open the scoring.

Daniel Sedin's late first-period goal put the hosts ahead but Cammalleri's late second-period tally and early third-period goal tilted the see-saw the other way.

Mason Raymond pulled the hosts even just past the midway point of the third period, but Curtis Glencross played hero with his third goal in as many games by stealing the puck at the blueline and beating Canucks goalie Curtis Sanford with a breakaway backhander.

In the end, it was a gritty road victory for a Flames team that's won three of four outings.

"We didn't deviate, didn't get frustrated," Iginla said. "They're a good defensive club, have been all year, and you know you're going to have to work for your chances. We stuck with it and were able to get some opportunistic goals and found a way to win it in the third."

Although the shot clock ended in Calgary's favour, Kiprusoff definitely was forced to be the better of the two netminders from start to finish.

And he was, in a 27-save performance.

Sanford stopped 29 shots.


Videos

Photos