SUN Hockey Pool

Flames fourth liners get a boost

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:46 PM ET

No controversy this time with a unique powerplay formation.

It was easy to miss and even easier to forget over the past few days with all that's happened this week around the Flames, but late in Monday night's 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres, the club's fourth liners were given their chance during the five-on-three man-advantage.

Last time head coach Brent Sutter did something like that, it was by using five defenceman, and it's not hard to figure out the message being sent amidst 7-2 thumping at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks earlier this month.

Against the Sabres, though, it was a reward for Tim Jackman, David Moss and Tom Kostopoulos. They responded by scoring with one second on the clock.

"Were we on the bench hoping they'd score? Absolutely. We know why the coaches put them out there. They deserved it," said captain Jarome Iginla. "It was pretty cool to see them score, too. All the goals count, and they all feel good. It was a boost for them, and we want as many guys feeling good."

The powerplay tally for Kostopoulos -- his first for the Flames -- didn't mean much to the game.

But the gesture means the world to the fourth liners.

"When Brent said, 'Mosser, your line get out there,' all the guys were cheering for us," Jackman said. "The goal's a total bonus. Moss said that was the best faceoff he won all night. I think the last time I was on five-on-three was in the minors and that's T.K.'s first goal here.

"That was fun."

Kostopoulos banged home a rebound assisted by Moss and Adam Pardy, who also doesn't see much powerplay time.

If you want to see what those players are willing to do for a team, just look at Jackman's blackened eyes and a broken nose.

Iginla will always point out the value of a fourth line that creates momentum.

"If it's a little bit of a lull in a game, they go out and get people going because they hit hard, skate well and are competitive," Iginla said. "Their line is important for us and has done a good job."

It wasn't the only time that trio made a mark on the game, either. Earlier in the third period, Jackman worked through the defence for a shot that resulted in Moss's rebound goal to make it 4-1.

"Our line's been playing well the last couple of weeks," Kostopoulos said. "We've been around the net, and it hasn't gone in. It was nice to put a couple of them in."

Who knows, maybe the Flames have stumbled upon a new powerplay crew.

"We talked about getting out early in practice the last few days working on the five-on-three, just to show everyone we're practising to be ready," Jackman said with a laugh. "I think in clutch situations, we want our scorers doing the job."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


Videos

Photos