PITTSBURGH -- Kristian Huselius came to the Flames with the mandate to create offence. Sure didn't take him long to prove he's up to the task.
Huselius, acquired Friday in a trade with the Florida Panthers, made his debut a rip-roaring success by collecting three assists to help his new team to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.
The score was even at one goal apiece after two periods but Huselius teamed up twice with Daymond Langkow in the early minutes of the final frame to lead Calgary to its first win at Mellon Arena since Feb. 1989.
"It's great to be part of a win first game," Huselius said. "I saw he was open both times and it was great he finished them off."
Going into the game on a four-game losing skid, the struggling Penguins were holding their own against Calgary before the crowd of 16,626 until the newest Flame began to strut his stuff. Parked behind the Pittsburgh net with the puck while his team was on the powerplay, Huselius spied Langkow driving to the net before sending a perfect pass to the slot that was neatly one-timed past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Only a couple of minutes later, they combined again with a pretty passing play for the game winner. This time, enjoying a two-on-one rush, Huselius had everyone in the building incorrectly looking for the shot but opted for the quick pass that Langkow made no mistake on.
"The first one, it was right on my tape and had to be because there was a guy on me," Langkow said. "Anywhere else, I probably wouldn't have been able to get to it. The second one, he sucked everybody over, including Fleury and threw a nice hard pass perfectly. It was an easy goal.
"It's good for him," Langkow added. "It's tough coming over to a new team and play your first game."
In a game that likely should have been more one-sided, the Flames came out failing to generate any real scoring chances in the first nine minutes.
However, the 10th minute was when they finally got it together. During a scramble in front of the Penguins net, the puck bounced off the skates of Huselius right to Marcus Nilson and he blasted a slapshot from the slot that was ruled a goal though it appeared to have just hit both the crossbar and post.
The Penguins, despite being in a severe rut, managed to rebound, thanks to super-rookie Sidney Crosby. Taking advantage of a poor clearing attempt, the Pens moved the puck to Dick Tarnstrom at the point and he immediately sent a pass to Crosby as he headed to the net. Crosby deked out Miikka Kiprusoff.
Ryan VandenBussche pulled the Pens within one with eight minutes remaining.
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CALGARY FLAMES: 3
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: 2