Early marker sets the tone

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:56 PM ET


 Finally a first-period playoff goal at home for the Calgary Flames.

 It couldn't have come at a better time.

 Jarome Iginla's tally with 68 seconds left in the opening frame last night propelled Calgary to a 3-1 win and a berth in the Stanley Cup final.

 "It was unbelievable to see that one go in, especially late in the period and on the powerplay," said Flames assistant captain Craig Conroy, who made the slick feed on the first goal.

 "Those are always back-breakers at the end of the period.

 "So we felt very good about it.

 "We knew we had to get that first one."

 The Flames hadn't scored a first-period goal at home in the eight previous playoff games.

 In the end, the team scoring first won every game of the Western Conference final.

 "It was before the game we realized (that)," said Iginla, the Flames captain.

 "We knew it was going to be pretty intense and emotional on both sides, very desperate.

 "But at the same time, we prepared our room that we wanted to push for that first goal."

 On that crucial tally, the Flames captain used nemesis Scott Hannan as a screen and put the puck through goaltender Evgeni Nabokov's legs.

 "That's what Iggy does -- he scores big goals," Conroy said.

 "That's why he's our captain."


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