The Tampa Bay Lightning were in town tonight to play the Calgary Flames but instead of 2 points for a win, the thing that was on everyone’s mind was whether a team record would fall tonight and whether there would be any career milestones for goals scored. Jarome Iginla was on deck for both honours.
Indeed there were not one, not two, but three milestones reached tonight. Most of the Calgary Flames fans concentrated on 2 of them, but don’t forget that there was a 3rd one that was celebrated in Tampa when Vincent Lecavalier scored his 2nd goal of the game.
Iginla tied the big record – the Flames all-time points leader – in the first period when he scored to make the game 1-1. With the goal, he notched his 830th point as a Calgary Flame and moved into a tie with Theoren Fleury for the all-time points lead. It was also his 399th career goal.
The record-breaking point came on Calgary’s next goal, when a Dion Phaneuf shot from the point was tipped by Craig Conroy into the net. Iginla was later credited with an assist, but it wasn’t immediately evident because Iginla’s pass to Phaneuf was tipped by Mark Recchi on the way. Since Recchi didn’t have control of the puck, Iginla was credited with an assist, but the credit didn’t come until later, so there was no celebration on this goal.
Calgary’s next goal – 5 minutes later on the Powerplay – was an obvious assist for Iginla. He controlled the puck along the boards, then passed down low to David Moss who found a wide-open Mike Cammalleri in front of the Tampa net. Cammalleri buried his 33rd goal of the season and the fans erupted while “831 points – Jarome Iginla” was displayed on the scoreboard.
The goal gave the Flames a 3-2 lead, and Iginla mouthed a humble “Thank You” to the crowd. There was no ceremony, no big hoopla… just another day at the office for one of the greatest players in the game. The Flames used this boost to score 1:17 later to take a 4-2 lead, and that was the start of a true 1980′s-style hockey game that featured 7 goals in the 2nd period. By the time the buzzer rang to end the 2nd period, Calgary found themselves down 5-4.
The one goal defecit was short lived, as a Jarome Iginla goal tied the game 14 seconds into the 3rd period. Jim Vandermeer put some offensive-zone pressure on the Lightning defense, who turned the puck over to him in their own end. He dropped a pass to Craig Conroy who fed Iginla for a one-timer in the slot. Iginla made no mistake for his 400th career goal and tied the game at 5-5. The most excited person seemed to be Peter Maher of the Fan 960 – who celebrated the goal with his trademark “Iginla’s 400th… Yeah Baby!!!”
The Lightning had their own plans for the night, though, and spoiled Iginla’s party with 3 more goals in the third period. The eventual game winner was scored by Vincent Lecavalier on the power play, after he took a high stick from Robyn Regehr. The goal was Lecavalier’s 300th career goal, and nobody took any notice in Calgary, except for the fact that it put the Lightning up 7-5.
At the end of the game, the Tampa Bay Lightning had successfully played the role of “spoiler” for the Flames, once again. They won 8-6 in a game that was eerily similar to the 9-6 Calgary win in Tampa last season. In addition to taking the 2 points for the win, The Lightning overshadowed Iginla’s milestone night.
But I guess it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. The records have fallen, the milestones have been reached and now the Flames can head out on a season-high 7-game roadtrip and focus on what’s important – winning games down the stretch.