Flames D-men light it up
RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
|Flames defenceman Jay Bouwmeester in action against the Devils at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Jan. 10, 2012. (TODD KOROL/Reuters)
CALGARY - Jay Bouwmeester has received all kinds of criticism for his lack of offence, but the Calgary Flames defenceman has been joining the rush much more in recent games.
He just haasn’t had any success.
Maybe it’s fitting Bouwmeester finally ended his goal-scoring drought at 38 games this NHL season with a floater from the point that somehow eluded future hall-of-fame netminder Martin Brodeur to kick off his team’s 6-3 win Tuesday night over the New Jersey Devils.
“I haven’t had too many of those — I’ll take it,” said Bouwmeester, whose last goal was Oct. 18. “I’ve had some chances, so it’s not like it hasn’t been there. It’s just a matter of putting it in the back of the net.”
The surprises didn’t end there. Fellow Flames defenceman Cory Sarich scored his first goal since last March, snapping a 33-game drought with a slapper just inside the far post.
“Just wanted a shot on net — found a hole and excited it went in,” Sarich said.
To top it off, T.J. Brodie, also scored in the opening frame, making it the first time in Flames history three different blueliners have scored in the same period.
Making that trip to the record book downright shocking is the fact the club’s 11 defencemen who have suited up this season had combined for 10 goals prior to Tuesday’s tilt.
“As a group, we haven’t scored a lot of goals,” Bouwmeester said. “We’d like to do it more.”
Now that Flames captain Jarome Iginla has reached the prestigious 500-goal club, who’s next? It’ll be a while before another NHLer reaches that milestone. Jason Arnott is next on the list with 409 goals, Marian Hossa has 405 and Daniel Alfredsson is at 403. It’s more likely New Jersey Devils’ Ilya Kovalchuk, who scored his 385th goal Tuesday against the Flames, will be the next to join. “You never know what’s going to happen, and I’m not really a stats guy. I just go and play and whatever happens, happens,” Kovalchuk said. “Every time you step on the ice, you want to score a goal. It’s a great milestone. Maybe one day I get it, too. A couple more years.” … Among the signs greeting the players when they took to the ice for the warm-up was one that said, “Iggy I missed 500. It would be nice to see 501.” It happened. Another wish for the fans was the sign aimed at the Devils’ Zach Parise which said, “You’d look good in Calgary Flames red.”
IN THE CORNERS
It was a nice simple ceremony to honour Iginla for his milestone tally prior to the game, with Lanny McDonald (the only other player to join the 500-goal club as a member of the Flames) on hand to present the golden stick followed by a video showing the milestone goals of Iggy’s career. Credit the Devils players for tapping their sticks in support of the classy Flames captain … A couple members of the Flames’ injured brigade took the morning skate — D Mark Giordano (hamstring) and C Brendan Morrison (upper body). Both are possible for Thursday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. “Watching games? I’m sick of it,” Morrison said. “It’s progressing, but it’s not at the point I can battle yet. I can’t engage guys.”
OFF THE GLASS
If that’s Martin Brodeur’s last game at the Saddledome, it’s not the way we expected to see him off, surrendering two goals on five shots and being yanked just 7:32 into the game … We looked it up: Defencemen Cory Sarich and Jay Bouwmeester have never scored in the same game, not as teammates in Calgary and not even as opponents, although that’s no big surprise … Devils rookie Adam Henrique shouldn’t have had to fight for a hard but clean hit on Iginla, but kudos to the rookie centre for dropping the gloves. Henrique didn’t even get a chance to throw a punch and would have likely been in trouble had Iginla really let loose, but it showed courage. It’ll be a nice story for Henrique when he recalls his first Gordie Howe hat-trick.
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak