Rookie talking 'trash'

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:58 PM ET

 It wasn't the prettiest goal he's ever scored.

 But Matthew Lombardi will take another dozen just like it.

  The Flames rookie, who has been one of the club's best players over the first two games of the series, took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to score the game-winner in Game 2.

 "I got a lucky bounce there," Lombardi said of the puck that got caught up in Canucks d-man Sami Salo's equipment before dropping onto the ice where the freshman banged it home. "It just popped out of his equipment and I jumped on it.

 "It wasn't the nicest goal. It was a garbage goal for sure but they all count."

 The 22-year-old said he was happy to contribute in just his second career post-season tilt but wasn't about to take credit for the Flames' victory.

 "It feels pretty good but we have a long road ahead of us," he explained.

 "When we're playing well, it's 20 guys. I don't think you can point the finger at one guy. Obviously, Miikka (Kiprusoff) has been huge for us but we need all 20 guys chipping in."

 Lombardi is just one of a number of NHL rookies making a name for themselves in this year's Stanley Cup playoffs.

 Boston goaltender Andrew Raycroft, the odds-on favourite to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, has given the Montreal Canadiens fits.

 His teammate, Patrice Bergeron, the youngest player in the NHL, scored the OT winner for the Bruins in Game 2 and has been in on three of his team's five goals.

 Lombardi's linemate Chris Clark said he's amazed at the poise the youngsters haveshown.

 "It's fun to watch all these new guys coming up big," Clark said. "(Niko) Dimitrakos got the game-winner (in overtime) for San Jose. Next year, guys are going to be keying on them so they'd better (take advantage) now. (Lombardi) has been doing all the little things right and you don't see that a lot with the young guys. It's awesome to play with him."

 It's been a whirlwind baptism by fire for Lombardi. He was slated for another year of seasoning in the AHL but his strong pre-season play coupled with an injury to Steve Reinprecht accelerated his career.

 He hasn't had time to sit back and soak it all in but said he's enjoying the playoff atmosphere and can't wait to hit the ice tonight.

 "I think the fans are going to be pretty pumped up. We just have to come out strong and be ready to go," he said.

 "It's pretty exciting to be a part of this. Everyone is excited so you have to try to channel your emotions. You need to go out there, do your job and keep things simple."


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