I was fortunate to be in attendance tonight for this wild ride as it was enjoyable from start to finish. The fans were into the game from the beginning, thanks to Jarome Iginla’s goal 3:07 into the first period. By the time Iggy scored, the Flames already had 10 shots on net to the ‘Canes zero.
Lee Stempniak gave the fans something else to cheer about when he made it 2-0 with just over a minute to go in the first period. Brendan Morrison announced his return to the lineup and added to the Flames lead shortly after the start of the 2nd period by firing the puck off ‘Canes defender Jamie McBain and past Cam Ward for his 2nd goal of the season.
Carolina closed the gap to one goal after Jiri Tlusty scored on a penalty shot after being taken down by T.J. Brodie, and Tim Brent scored his 3rd goal of the season. But the lead only lasted for 50 seconds before Rene Bourque scored his 9th of the year to send it into the 2nd intermission at 4-2.
Then the strangest third period in a long time happened. Calgary and Carolina traded goals with Brendan Morrison scoring for the Flames, followed by Tuomo Ruutu for the ‘Canes to make it 5-3. Mikael Backlund scored Calgary’s first powerplay goal at home since October 26 (yes, really) before Eric Staal scored for Carolina to make it 6-4.
At that point, the ‘Canes swapped goalies and set up rookie goaltender Mike Murphy to set an NHL record. Murphy stopped two shots before being pulled with about 2 minutes left in the game. Jarome Iginla scored an empty netter to make the score 7-4, and that seemed to ice the win for the Flames. But then this happened:
With the wave going around the rink, the Flames choked in their own end allowing Chad Larose to score Carolina’s 5th goal of the game. 32 seconds later, Eric Staal scored his 2nd goal of the game, meaning that Iginla’s goal was the game-winner. That, in turn, meant that Mike Murphy became the first goalie in NHL history to record a loss before actually allowing a goal. How’s that for you stats guys out there?!!
There’s no other way to sum it up other than to quote Brendan Morrison after the game:
“It was entertaining hockey. I don’t think the coaches liked it but it was good for the fans.”