Flames get rare win over Blue Jackets at Nationwide ArenaBy The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Thu, Feb 7, 2013 11:30 PM EST
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Alex Tanguay's overtime game-winner for the Calgary Flames ended a back-and-forth battle with Columbus, and it meant a rare win in Nationwide Arena for the Flames. Tanguay scored his fourth goal of the season only 1:07 into overtime, giving the Flames a 4-3 victory. The Flames had leads of 1-0 and 3-2, but couldn't hold them. Told that the Blue Jackets had a 15-4-3 record all-time against the Flames in Nationwide Arena earlier in the day, Flames coach Bob Hartley joked: "Elvis is dead and Wayne Gretzky was traded, so nothing lasts forever, right?" He was right. Lee Stempniak, Roman Cervenka and Mikael Backlund also scored for the Flames, who won in Detroit on Tuesday and are 3-1-1 after a slow start. Flames goaltender Leland Irving, making only his eighth NHL start, had 26 saves for only his second NHL win. Cervenka, a 27-year-old playing only his fifth NHL game, scored his first NHL goal. "We didn't get the first period that we wanted but in the second and third periods we were on the puck and we made some great plays," Hartley said. "It was another good night, I'm very proud of the boys -- their intensity, their discipline." Matt Calvert, Mark Letestu and Vinny Prospal scored for the Blue Jackets, who are just 1-3-0 at the start of their six-game homestand. Calgary took a 1-0 lead at 4:19 of the first. Cervenka, an undrafted free agent signed by the Flames in May, redirected a Dennis Wideman slap shot, ramping it up and over Bobrovsky's left shoulder. The Blue Jackets pulled even while Cervenka's goal was still be announced in the arena. Matt Calvert, who hadn't scored an NHL goal since late in the 2010-11 season, found space with the puck low in the left circle and fired a wrister between Irvin's pads. The Jackets took a 2-1 lead at 9:37 of the first, thanks to a nifty bit of passing on the power play. Derick Brassard settled a Jack Johnson pass with his right skate, then faked a slap-shot and sent a cross-zone pass to Letestu, who was set up on the left faceoff dot. Letestu, who now shares the Blue Jackets' lead with four goals, one-timed the pass just inside the near post before Irving could recover. The Blue Jackets did not sustain pressure after that on Irving, and he seemed to settle into a comfort zone. The second period was all Calgary. The Flames pulled to 2-2 at 13:06 of second, when Backlund pounced on a rebound off a T.J. Brodie shot and fired it past Bobrovsky. "I tried not to pump their tires after the first period," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "We have to figure it out. For 20 minutes it's good. But then we lose our game, and when it's gone, it's gone. It's not for one shift or two shifts; it's an extended period of time." Calgary continued the momentum into the third, taking a 3-2 lead at 8:33. As a power play ticked down to its final seconds, Stempniak loosed a slap shot from atop the right circle to put the Flames on top. Prospal's goal at 11:00 of the third tied the score and forced overtime, but Tanguay ended it quickly. He turned on a puck in the right faceoff circle and ripped it past Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky for the winner. "That was a darter coming out for sure," Tanguay said. "I had pretty much 4-by-6 (the whole net) to look at, and I went as hard as I could." Irving improved to 2-3-3 in his career. "The boys really came through tonight, they played great," Irving said. "I'm glad they were rewarded with two points." NOTES: Flames forward Mike Cammalleri, out with an undisclosed injury, was deemed a "game-time decision" by Calgary coach Bob Hartley but did not dress. ... The Blue Jackets activated defenseman Nikita Nikitin off injured reserve. He missed three games with a lower-body injury.
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