SUN Hockey Pool

Iginla's penalty-shot skid continues

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:02 PM ET

Contrary to the word going around, Jarome Iginla has scored on a penalty shot in his illustrious NHL career.

The Calgary Flames captain is not 0-for-6 in showdowns after failing to convert late in Thursday night’s 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He tallied against Curtis Joseph of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2005-06 season, so his record is 1-for-7.

“I didn’t know that,” Flames defenceman Mark Giordano said of Iginla’s penalty-shot record. “Maybe next time, he’ll fake a skate blade is broken and get somebody else to go.”

The Flames are 13th in the Western Conference but have won two straight, so barbs can come fast and furious.

Even Iginla is not immune, especially when reminders of a poor penalty-shot record come out.

“I’m 1-for-2 — I scored against Kipper when I was with Colorado,” said Flames forward Alex Tanguay, who immediately after making that statement was sure to point out Iginla’s skill could change that statistic in a hurry.

“Give him 100 penalty shots, and his percentage would be 40%. I’m sure of it.

“He’s got such a great shot. If I was him, I’d come down and rip it. He has the skills. I have no concern of him taking a penalty shot.”

Maybe Craig Conroy would mock his good friend for his unsuccessful attempt against Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.

Iginla cut across the front of the goalie, and, after making him lean one way, he lifted a shot away from Gustavsson’s body, but he blocked it.

“Oh … I can’t rip on him. I told him to do that move,” Conroy said. “He scores on that move all the time in practice, but he didn’t shoot it as hard as he does in practice. He had the goalie leaning the wrong way but needed to shoot it harder.

“But don’t let people know this or they will be hauling him down left and right.”

There you have it — Iginla isn’t very good at growing a beard or moustache or converting penalty shots.

Shootouts haven’t been much better for him, either. He has seven goals in 27 career attempts. He failed to score in nine chances over the past two seasons and hasn’t been used this year.

However, the Flames captain has been on the mark in every other way of late.

Sidney Crosby’s current point streak is now at 20 games, but Iginla is tied with Canucks star Daniel Sedin for the second-longest run.

Iginla is on a nine-game streak during which he’s collected five goals and 12 points. He has a dozen goals and 22 points in the last 17 games.

Iginla has said he’s been more aggressive the past five weeks, but Conroy let the cat out of the bag to an even bigger secret.

The Flames all-time scoring leader — who now has 950 career points — decided in mid-November to use a stick similar to the curve he had in 2001-02, the year in which he led the NHL with 52 goals and 96 points. Iginla has also changed his skates.

“He’s a new man out there” Conroy said. “You see the way he’s stickhandling and catching passes now? That huge Ovechkin curve wasn’t working.”

Whatever the reasons, the Flames will take it.

“What he’s doing is the Jarome I saw a couple of years back when I was here,” Tanguay said. “I think we should have more goals lately. We’ve had chances we didn’t finish but were right there, and that’s encouraging. He may have 22 points in 17 games, but I think he has more in him.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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