Two nights after the Calgary Flames suffered one of the most discouraging losses of his 15-year career, Jarome Iginla achieved a rare milestone Saturday night in a 3-1 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild.
Iginla became just the 42nd player to score 500 goals - and it was not exactly a thing of beauty.
At the 8:33 mark of the third period, Iginla attempted to mkae a pass to a hard-charging Curtis Glencross. Instead, his centering attempt caromed off two skates, including that of Mikko Koivu, to deflect past goaltender Nicklas Backstrom.
Iginla hit a goal post before and after the attempt, as the Flames gradually pulled away from the Wild.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves to improve to 18-14-2 on the season. He is 8-0-1 in his last nine starts in Calgary. His bid for a shutout was snapped with 6:19 to play when Dany Heatley slid his 13th of the season past him on a delayed penalty man-advantage.
Curtis Glencross scored on the power play at 11:15 of the third period when he tipped in a pass from defenceman Jay Bouwmeester to put the Flames up 3-0. It was his team leading 17th of the season for Calgary, which ended a five-game winless streak (0-4-1).
Bouma broke a scoreless tie at 2:02 of the third period. Backstrom gave up a big rebound off a Lee Stempniak shot, which the rookie buried while fighting off a back-check.
With the goal, Iginla tied former Flames' captain Lanny McDonald for 41st overall in the NHL's all-time goalscoring list.
Next to pass: another ex-Flames' winger, Joey Mullen, at 502.
Given Iginla's propensity to heat up in the second half, at least half-a-dozen others are within range: Peter Bondra (503), Jean Beliveau (507), Gil Perreault (512), Jeremy Roenick (515), Pierre Turgeon (515), Dale Hawerchuk (518) and possibly Pat Verbeek (522).
Iginla is third among active goal-scoring leaders, trailing only Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne.
Iginla is 34 and technically scored his first NHL goal in the spring of 1996, as a junior call-up from Kamloops in a playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
His first official goal came in October of 1996, a year in which he scored 21 goals and 50 points to finish second in the Calder Trophy balloting to Bryan Berard of the New York Islanders.
Iginla became one of only 15 players to score his 500 goals (goals 1-500) with the same organization: Jean Beliveau, Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Guy Lafleur, Mario Lemieux, Stan Makita, Mike Modano, Gilbert Perreault, Maurice Richard, Joe Sakic, Brian Trottier and Steve Yzerman.
Iginla's most victimized goalies were Dwayne Roloson (15), Felix Potvin (13), J.S. Giguere (13) and Peter Budaj (13).
Craig Conroy, now Flames' executive and Iginla's closest friend on the team for years, assisted on 85 of Iginla's goals, more than any other teammate. Conroy was followed Daymond Langkow (51), Alex Tanguay (51) and Dion Phaneuf (38) Of Iginla's 500 goals, 253 came at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Iginla's teammates spent most of the final minute of last night's game trying to set up him for an empty-netter to get to 501, but it didn't happen. Calgary won the game 3-1 to end a four-game losing streak.
With a report from Reuters