October 21, 2011
Flames fall to Rangers in OT
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Too bad the New York Rangers had to spoil the party.
Because Dancing Iginla is back.
So, apparently, is the Calgary Flames captain’s game.
Guess his pre-season is finally over.
Admittedly a little off early this season after missing most of training camp with a bad back, Jarome Iginla looked more like his old (not age-wise) self Thursday night against the New York Rangers.
The 34-year-old scored his second goal of the season and first on home ice — which brought a glimpse of the popular Internet-spawned image of the captain dancing back to the Energy Board — and assisted on defenceman Mark Giordano’s powerplay goal to spark the Flames offensively in a first period that included four goals and two fights.
The next 40 minutes solved nothing, and the Flames were dealt a crushing blow when Ryan McDonagh scored into a gaping net with less than two seconds remaining in overtime after a wide shot took a favourable bounce to push the Flames to 2-3-1 on the season with the resulting 3-2 defeat.
But unfortunate result aside, Iginla’s play means better days ahead for the Flames, who rely heavily on their captain for inspiration on the ice.
You could tell early on he was rounding into form when he snapped on Ryan Callahan after the Rangers forward blocked his shot attempt.
Iginla circled back around after the puck flew out of play and swatted him a few times with the stick, poked him with a glove, and then yelled at the Rangers captain over a referee’s shoulder all the way back to the bench.
Even after taking a seat, Iginla found a few more words to send Callahan’s way.
It was obvious Iginla was engaged and feeling good about his game.
He wasn’t alone.
Tom Kostopoulos had a decent effort after a night as a healthy scratch this week, and Tim Jackman’s motor finally seemed cranked up after a lacklustre start to the season.
Jackman dropped the gloves with Mike Rupp early in the game and got the crowd going when he plopped on top of the Rangers grinder at the end of their bout.
Getting in on the bad-boy action, Cory Sarich racked up nine minutes of penalties in the opening frame, including five for his scrap with Kris Newbury — who unwisely engaged the Flames defenceman after he hit Brad Richards in the back as the new Rangers star was turning along the boards to play the puck.
His interference infraction, though, was costly.
Marian Gaborik scored the Rangers’ first powerplay goal of the season less than five minutes into the contest with Sarich in the sin bin.
The Blueshirts also got a shorthanded marker from former Flames forward Brandon Prust.
Jay Bouwmeester, one of the heroes in the 2-1 comeback victory against the
Oilers Tuesday, was the goat on Prust’s second of the season.
The big Flames defenceman gave up the puck to Brian Boyle in the corner, and Boyle found Prust all alone in front — leaving netminder Henrik Karlsson helpless for the second time on the night.
That play might have been Iginla’s only obviously bad one of the night.
But it’s tough to blame him for looking so lost down below the goal-line as the second defenceman on the powerplay unit that gave up the shortie.