“I was sure happy to see it go in for a number of reasons,” Iginla said.
A few minutes later, Iginla scored the shootout winner as the Flames overcame a three-goal, third-period deficit to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-3 on Tuesday night.
“A huge win and a great comeback win, you have to acknowledge that as well,” Flames coach Mike Keenan said. “It showed some resolve which we can build upon.”
With goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff pulled for an extra attacker, Iginla scored his 33rd goal of the season into the top corner and over the blocker of Ilya Bryzgalov. It was the first time he had gone 10 games or more without a goal since December 1999.
“I was just trying to turn around and shoot it and that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Iginla said. “You’re just trying to put it to the net. The ones you don’t expect to, they go in sometimes. That sure felt good to see that go in.”
In the shootout, Iginla, the third Calgary shooter, scored on a deke to his backhand to put the Flames into the lead. Steven Reinprecht missed the net on Phoenix’s final attempt, giving Calgary the victory.
Dion Phaneuf scored the other goals in the third period for Calgary.
Nineteen-year-old rookie Peter Mueller had all three goals for Phoenix, which blew a chance to move past Calgary in the tight Western Conference playoff race. The Coyotes finished 2-1-2 on their five-game road trip, and head home in ninth place, one back of a playoff spot.
“It’s bittersweet,” Mueller said. “It’s always nice when your line puts a few points up, but right now, those two points for the team are the biggest thing on our minds right now.”
Trailing 3-0, Calgary finally got on the scoreboard at 7:01 when Phaneuf converted a pass from Alex Tanguay on a power play.
The Flames then drew to within one on Phaneuf’s second of the night. As he prepared to unload a slap shot, his stick broke instead and sent the puck slowly along the ice where it fooled Bryzgalov, trickling between his legs.
“It’s a real tough one to explain,” Mueller said of the third-period collapse. “They came out hard and we kind of stood back a little bit. We needed to come out and play that last 20 minutes just as hard as we played the first 40.”
Overtime was highlighted by a close call at each end of the ice just seconds apart in the final minute. Anders Eriksson’s slap shot squeaked through the pads of Bryzgalov and was almost across the line when Ed Jovanovski cleared it away and right to Reinprecht, who ended up heading the other direction on a 150-foot breakaway only to have his shot from close-in smothered by Kiprusoff.
Named the NHL rookie of the month for January, Mueller kept up his impressive play of late notching a goal 23 seconds into the game and adding two more in the second period as Phoenix appeared to be in control.
His third goal and 19th of the season came when he snapped Joel Perrault’s pass past Kiprusoff from the slot with 1:05 left in the second period.
Mueller’s second goal at 10:51 of the second was deflating for the Flames. Calgary had carried the play for much of the first half of the second period, running up a 16-6 edge in shots, but could not get the tying goal past Bryzgalov.
Phoenix took a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into the game.
Perrault dropped a pass to Shane Doan, who neatly faked a shot from the slot and slid the puck across to Mueller, who one-timed it into the open side before Kiprusoff could slide across.
“We stopped playing the way we’re capable of playing and we let them back in it,” Doan said. “We played well enough to win the game and we dropped the ball in the third period.”
: Phoenix’s leading goal scorer Radim Vrbata (ankle) was unable to play. Vrbata had the overtime goal in Monday’s 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Taking his spot was RW Bill Thomas, who was recalled earlier in the day from San Antonio of the AHL. … Included in Calgary’s three lineup changes after their 5-0 loss to Edmonton on Monday night was the return of veteran LW Marcus Nilson, who finally appeared in his 500th NHL game. Nilson had been a healthy scratch the seven previous games. … Calgary RW Eric Godard didn’t play after receiving an automatic one game suspension for receiving his third game misconduct Monday.