SUN Hockey Pool

Win a net gain for Flames

Flames goalie Curtis McElhinney subbed for Miikka Kiprusoff against the Stars Wednesday night....

Flames goalie Curtis McElhinney subbed for Miikka Kiprusoff against the Stars Wednesday night. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

DALLAS -- Enjoying his second win in Calgary Flames silks, Curtis McElhinney wasn't ready to think about tonight and another potential start in St. Louis.

The hero of last night's 3-2 overtime victory against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center was pretty exhausted after a 38-save performance that came just hours after finding out he'd be in for sick starter Miikka Kiprusoff.

"I'm going to think about sleep right now," McElhinney said with a sheepish grin after exacting some payback against the Stars -- who embarrassed the backstop 5-2 at the Saddledome early last month in his only other start of the season.

No one could blame him for being tired.

He was relied on time after time to bail out the Flames, whose best intentions were turned against them as they tried to help McElhinney make good on an opportunity for revenge.

Aggressively trying to aid the backup goaltender, the parade to the penalty box started early.

The shots piled up quickly.

Momentum was entirely in favour of the Dallas Stars.

Gradually, the Flames were wearing down, allowing way too many prime opportunities against.

McElhinney was up to the challenge, and his efforts were timely rewarded with a last-minute tying goal from Daymond Langkow as the goaltender sat on the bench for the extra attacker.

Jarome Iginla scored his second of the night seconds into a powerplay in overtime to cap off a three-point night.

The Flames captain started the scoring in the second period with a laser past Marty Turco's glove during a three-on-one rush.

Making his own breakout performance count for Curtis was satisfying for Iginla.

"I think that's the best game he's played," he said of McElhinney's heroics.

"He was ready. In that first period, they had four or five powerplays. They had a lot of chances. He was great that whole game."

McElhinney certainly did his part to make up for Kiprusoff's absence when the starter came down with a "bug" that kept him from even sitting on the bench with his teammates as a backup for the night, instead sitting in the dressing room despite a rule stating the second goalie must be dressed and on or beside the bench.

A one-on-one showdown with Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who was hauled down by Adam Pardy on a breakaway to earn a penalty shot, was McElhinney's biggest pressure save of the evening.

A relieved Pardy watched from in front of the Flames bench as the puck hit McElhinney's blocker.

Iginla rewarded the goaltender soon after with the first of his two tallies.

But unstoppable goals from James Neal and Loui Eriksson made it look like another evening of disappointment for the Calgarian until Langkow tucked the tying goal off the far post with a backhander 49 seconds before the end of regulation. McElhinney didn't even see it.

"I was just minding my own business on the bench there," he said. "Trying to stay out of everybody's way if they needed a change."

Winning was a nice change for the hard-luck backup, who could get another shot in goal against the Blues in St. Louis tonight if Kiprusoff isn't ready to return. And for once, fans might not be too worried about that.

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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