SUN Hockey Pool

Flames' captain not celebrating

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

You’ve just clobbered your northern rival for 60 full minutes.

Your captain surpasses 40 goals with a dominant hat-trick performance.

And your goaltender kicks out 22 shots to tie the franchise record for the most career wins (262) in a Calgary Flames jersey.

Yet, the mood in the locker-room resembled that of a funeral.

That’s what happens when a club’s playoff hopes are officially buried.

“We worked hard to get back in (the playoff race), but to fall short is definitely tough,” Iginla said after sniping goals 40 42 in a 6-1 thumping of the Edmonton Oilers at the Dome.

“It felt good to see Kip tie the record for the winningest goalie in franchise history.

“That’s big. But we would have liked it to be in a bigger win than it was.”

Kiprusoff could have played most of Thursday night’s tilt in a lawn chair as the injury-ravaged Oilers failed to put up much of a fight.

The quiet Finn wasn’t interested in accepting any accolades and didn’t make himself available for post-game interviews.

Head coach Brent Sutter said his goaltender’s feat got lost in the playoff push.

“There’s been so much else going on that there hasn’t been much talk about that,” Sutter said. “To be quite honest, that’s probably the way Miikka wanted it.

“But it speaks volumes about a very good goaltender, and to accomplish it in fewer games than it had been accomplished in before.

“But Miikka has been a very good goalie for this organization and will continue to be.”

Iginla’s 12th career hat-trick was enough to keep the Flames faithful happy Thursday night — until fans later found out that both the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks had won, officially eliminating the local heroes.

“I really thought we were going to find a way to squeek in,” Iginla said. “In sports, a lot of weird things can happen.

“But they closed us out tonight.”

Winger Alex Tanguay, who scored once and set up two of Iginla’s markers, said the captain deserves to take a bow for another great campaign.

“Iggy has been outstanding all season,” Tanguay said. “He’s been working extremely hard.

“He’s been the heart and soul of this franchise for a long time. What is he at now — 42, 43? I remember in October and all the way through maybe the end of November, you (media) guys were doubting him, and to see the season he’s having, it’s pretty remarkable.”

A Flames season, left for dead by many prior to the Christmas break, finally ended Thursday.

But Iginla admitted it was the early failures that eventually led to a spring without playoff hockey.

“Realistically, it was probably November and going five games below .500, or whatever it was,” he said.

“To be able to battle back to 12 games over .500, it is a big turnaround, but we put ourselves in a pretty big hole.

“We did have some chances in March, but we had some key injuries. Unfortunately, we didn’t respond well enough.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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