Iginla, Huselius overpower Rangers

Calgary 4, Rangers 3
January 3, 2008 6:04:31 AM PST
The Calgary Flames' scoring duo of Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius were too much for the New York Rangers.Iginla scored two goals and Huselius had a goal and three assists to lead the Flames to a 4-3 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night.

Iginla has notched 16 goals in the last 15 games, giving him 29 on the season. The Calgary captain is on pace to eclipse his career high of 52 goals set in 2001-02. In those 15 games, Calgary has lost just once in regulation time (10-1-4).

"Every part of our game in December has gotten better and more consistent and we want to keep it going," said Iginla, who trails only Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk (33) and Washington's Alexander Ovechkin (30) in goals scored.

With the Flames up 1-0 after the first period, Iginla notched his first of the night on the power play at 5:42 of the second. From behind the net, Dion Phaneuf slid a pass into the slot to Iginla, who fended off Marcel Hossa's weak stick check attempt and snapped a shot over Henrik Lundqvist's shoulder.

"It's been fun and a good streak, it's nice to see the puck go in and us getting some wins," said Iginla. "There's been some fun streaks over the years but This one has definitely right up there, it's been pretty enjoyable."

With the Rangers back within a goal, Iginla restored the two-goal cushion at 6:51 of the third, compliments of a great set-up by Kristian Huselius. As he carried the puck over the New York blue-line, Huselius got around Scott Gomez, Marc Staal and the diving and stickless Michal Rozsival to find himself two-on-none against Lundqvist. Huselius neatly set up the Flames' captain for a one-timer to make it 3-1.

The Rangers briefly narrowed the deficit back to one on Brandon Dubinsky's goal at 15:53 of the third period, but Calgary answered right back less than two minutes later when a harmless looking wrist shot from Huselius from the side boards squeaked past Lundqvist.

"Calgary's got what they've got going for a reason, they prey on those little mistakes," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "I'm not going to stand up here and be philosophical and dress up a loss, we lost the hockey game and that was two valuable points that we let slip away."

New York pulled the goalie and got a goal from Brendan Shanahan with 14 seconds left but they couldn't get one more past Miikka Kiprusoff, who finished with 29 saves to improve to 20-12-7.

"We had our opportunities and we had our chances but they capitalized on theirs while we made some key mistakes," Gomez said.

Huselius finished with a goal and three assists and Adrian Aucoin also scored for Calgary (20-14-7). The Flames' third straight win moves Calgary into second spot in the Northwest Division, just one point behind the leading Vancouver Canucks.

"Kristian's skill level really surfaced at an opportune time for us tonight," Flames coach Mike Keenan said. "He was quick in finding holes and he has always had a quick stick. Its an interesting display when you see top skilled guys play with that kind of confidence."

Rozsival and Dubinsky scored for New York (20-16-4). Gomez and Jaromir Jagr each had two assists.

Down 2-0, New York got on the scoreboard at 16:35 of the second when Gomez and Jagr worked the puck back to the blue-line where Rozsival's rising slapshot deflected in off Dion Phaneuf.

It was Rozsival's 10th goal of the season, tying him for the league lead among defensemen with Montreal's Andrei Markov and Washington's Mike Green.