Sunday, March 7, 2010

Iggy Pop: Iginla's hat trick singes Wild, Flames win 5-2

Second straight Sunday afternoon heartbreaker for Minnesota hockey fans dooms Wild

By Wild Road Tripper

You just knew it was going to be Jarome Iginla's day Sunday afternoon in St. Paul, after the Wild's 'Propaganda Minister', Kevin Falness, started talking about how Iginla hadn't scored a point vs. the Minnesota Wild this season, and had not found twine vs. the Wild in nearly two years.

All that came to a crashing halt, as the Calgary Flames officially put the Wild's playoff chances on life-support, after a 5-2 drubbing before 18,217 at Xcel Energy Center, on the day when the Wild celebrated the 400th consecutive full house (albeit with NO presents) in team history.

Iginla not only ended his drought, he started a flood. His three goal, one assist afternoon put the Flames only one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the 8th and final playoff spot in the NHL Western Conference. The Wild loss, combined with Detroit's win in Chicago, now means the Wild are 7 points back of Detroit with 18 games remaining in the season. The Wild now actually have a two game losing streak going into a stretch of 4 games, a pattern which will repeat itself virtually the rest of the month of March.

If there was any doubt as to how the game was going to go, all that was decided just 19 seconds into the game when Rene Borque's tip-in of a Steve Staios shot went past a screened Niklas Backstrom for a 1-0 Calgary lead, the fastest goal after the game's start ever scored against the Wild. The Flames were never even brought close after that. Iginla's afternoon was his third all-time hat trick against the Wild, his eighth career game-winner against the Wild, and his 28th, 29th and 30th all-time goals against the Wild. He now leads all NHL players in game-winners against Minnesota (surpassing Colorado's Joe Sakic) and now has 53 all-time points against the Wild. Iginla also assisted on Sidney Crosby's Olympic gold medal-winning goal last Sunday afternoon in Vancouver, when Canada defeated the USA in overtime, as well.

Lost (or, almost so) in all the Iggy-love, is the fact the Guillaume Latendresse scored twice in the second period, to bring the game to within 3-2, as close as the Wild would get all afternoon. Latendresse now has 20 goals with the Wild since coming from Montreal Nov. 23rd, 13 of which are in the friendly confines of the 'X'. He surpasses Andrew Brunette as the leading goal scorer on the Wild (Brunette has 18, all with the Wild this season). In addition, Cal Clutterbuck was injured early in the first period (initial reports are a charleyhorse) and he did not return.

Next Game: vs. Florida, Tuesday, Mar. 9, 7:00 PM, Xcel Energy Center. (Wild TV: KSTC-45; Panthers' TV: FSNFlorida (in HD); XM Radio, Ch. 207)

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