Alex Tanguay showed Calgary Flames fans exactly what they wanted to see Tuesday night, setting up a pair of goals including Jarome Iginla's winner in a 3-2 pre-season victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
With the score tied 2-2 in the third, Tanguay sent Iginla down the right wing and the Flames captain ripped a wrist shot over the glove of Vancouver goaltender Tyler Weiman.
Tanguay was also involved in the Flames' first goal. With the Flames short-handed and trailing 1-0 in the second, Tanguay broke away on a two-on-one with Mikael Backlund and feathered a pretty pass to the Swedish youngster, who deflected the puck past starting Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack.
Ales Kotalik also scored for Calgary. Jannik Hansen and Marco Rosa replied for the Canucks, whose line-up was young and inexperienced compared to the Flames. Of the dozen Vancouver forwards dressed, the only Canuck regulars from last season were Hansen, Tanner Glass and Darcy Hordichuk.
Both teams fielded a split-squad, with the rest of their teammates playing a second game Tuesday night in Vancouver.
Calgary fans got its first glance at what's expected to be the Flames' top line to start the regular season.
Calgary, which was second last in the NHL in goals last year, is hoping the combination of Iginla and Olli Jokinen, which didn't really pan out last year, will work better this year with the insertion of Tanguay onto the line.
Like Jokinen, who was traded to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline only to return to Calgary as a free agent, Tanguay is also on his second tour of duty with the Flames.
Tanguay's last year in Calgary was 2007-08, a year in which Iginla scored 50 goals. Iginla's totals the two years since have dropped to 35 and 32 respectively.
General manager Darryl Sutter signed Tanguay with the hope that his playmaking could be the perfect fit for both Iginla and Jokinen, who are known primarily as shooters.
Jokinen had 15 goals last year after averaging 35 over his previous four seasons.
The interesting thing to watch this year will be whether Tanguay overpasses trying to set up his linemates.
On a dangerous two-on-one in the first period, Tanguay passed up the shot trying to force a pass across to Iginla that went off a defenceman.
On a second period power play Tanguay hung onto the puck, seemingly refusing to take a shot despite having a clear path to the net. Frustrated cries of "shoot" could be heard from some of the Saddledome crowd of 19,289.
Tied 1-1 after two periods, Kotalik gave the Flames a 2-1 lead when the puck slid into the Canucks net off the stick of defenceman Sean Zimmerman as Kotalik stepped on the stick and awkwardly fell trying to cut to the front of the net.
Vancouver tied it at 3:02 when Rosa faked a shot, carried the puck around the net and beat Irving on a wrap-around.
Miikka Kiprusoff got the start in goal for the Flames and turned aside 17 of 18 shots in 40 minutes of action before giving way to rookie Leland Irving.
Lack, the giant six-foot-five Swedish rookie, played well for the Canucks, making 16 saves in his two periods of action.
Flames defenceman Jay Bouwmeester camped in front of the opposition net during a couple of Calgary's power plays. The high-profile free-agent signing from a last season had a disappointing year offensively with just three goals after scoring 15 in each of his final two seasons in Florida.
Notes: With coach Brent Sutter with the team in Vancouver, Flames head coach duties were shared by assistant coaches Dave Lowry and Ryan McGill. It was a similar situation with the Canucks with assistant coach Rick Bowness covering for Alan Vigneault... Canucks Off-season acquisition Keith Ballard headlined a slightly more experienced blue-line for the Canucks with Shane O'Brien and Andrew Alberts also dressed... Calgary's David Moss made his debut at centre. Moss is being tried in the middle after playing his first four NHL seasons on the wing. Moss scored eight goals last year after a career-high 20 in 2008-09... Calgary lost C John Armstrong in the third period when he got hit in the face with the puck.
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