SUN Hockey Pool

Coast-to-coast counter opened floodgate

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Calling it an end-to-end rush doesn't do it justice.

It was more like Dion Phaneuf's Figure Eight.

However you want to describe the journey that began from his own blueline -- starting in the opposite direction -- it ended with a goal.

His fifth of the season just nine games in was a big one for Phaneuf.

It was the difference in a 6-3 win over the hard-checking Columbus Blue Jackets that was only blown open after Phaneuf coasted around his own net and up the ice before snapping a deceptive wrister into the far side past a stunned Steve Mason.

"Huge goal. Very timely. He had the puck, what 15 seconds by going behind our net and all the way up (the ice)," said Jarome Iginla, who had a big night himself with a goal and two assists.

"That was a huge boost for the team. We were working on staying focused and having composure on the bench, but that's a huge boost."

Things were going downhill and the Flames found themselves in penalty trouble early in the second period. The Jackets tied things up with a pair of powerplay goals.

Then Phaneuf flew solo, surprising his teammates and coach a little.

"He got his feet moving. At the time, I thought he was gonna head-man the puck," said head coach Brent Sutter. "But he kept going with a full head of steam.

"It backed their defencemen off."

Curtis Glencross joined the rush and thought he might get a pass from the big-scoring blueliner. But Phaneuf was focused on getting his fifth goal of the season.

"I came on and joined the rush. I was actually wide and waiting for him to dish it off to me," Glencross said with a laugh. "He kept going.

"He made a nice shot."

Phaneuf said things just kept opening up for him.

"Their forechecker came and I tried to beat him. Luckily, I did. One of their guys changed and opened up a little bit of ice," said Phaneuf.

"I tried to jump into that hole. When they gave me a little bit more room, I tried to get the shot off."

The shot wasn't his prettiest or hardest, but it was accurate and quick enough to catch Mason, last year's Calder Trophy winner, off guard.

"I was definitely snapping it far-side," Phaneuf said with a grin.

"Luckily, it beat him."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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