Iginla fights and scores, Kings beat Flames in chippy game
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Jarome Iginla wheeled around center ice, fist bumped Flames mascot Harvey the Hound and grinned through what may be his final ovation as a player at the Saddledome.
If this season is it for Iginla, the longtime Calgary star said a fitting goodbye in a bruising game.
Iginla scored his 100th game-winning goal, got an assist and drew blood in a fight, helping the Los Angeles Kings beat Calgary 4-1 Wednesday night.
“I don’t know how many more games I’ll play here, but this will be one that I will remember,” said Iginla, who turns 40 on July 1. “I go back and forth. I’ll see how the year finishes and talk to my family and go from there.”
Animosity spilled over from a game March 19, when Calgary rookie Matthew Tkachuk elbowed Kings defenseman Drew Doughty in the face. Tkachuk, a 19-year-old rookie, was suspended two games.
Kyle Clifford approached Tkachuk near center ice before the game, and players from both teams gathered to exchange words. Tkachuk fought Braydon McNabb in the first period and was dropped to the ice by an upper cut.
“There was emotion in the warm-up, obviously, everybody saw that,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “I think everybody knew that some retribution was coming.”
Iginla joined the fray later in the first by fighting Deryk Engelland. Iginla cut the Flames defenseman on his forehead, and the blood got all over Iginla’s white jersey.
After changing into a clean sweater, Iginla scored with 46 seconds remaining in the second during a scramble around the crease, putting Los Angeles up 2-1. He couldn’t get his shot through, but Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano, lying flat on his belly, accidentally swept the puck into his own net while trying to pull the puck under goalie Brian Elliott, who was also sprawled on the ice.
It was Iginla’s 624th career goal, moving him within one of Joe Sakic for 15th on the NHL career list. Iginla has five goals in 13 games since being acquired by Los Angeles at the trade deadline.
Iginla was named the game’s top star and got a big ovation from the Calgary crowd.
“I’m sure he’s had a couple of those games before in this building,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “He comes to the rink every day, gives it his all. I think for the majority, if not all of us, we’re very privileged to be in his presence.”
Kopitar, Trevor Lewis, and Jeff Carter also scored for the Kings.
Dougie Hamilton scored for Calgary, and Johnny Gaudreau had an assist to extend his point streak to six games. The Flames entered in the first wild card in the Western Conference, a point up Nashville. The Kings trail the Flames by 11 points with six games remaining.
The Flames can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Friday when the San Jose Sharks visit the Saddledome.
The Kings took a 3-1 lead at 6:09 when Kopitar one-timed a shot past Elliott after a pretty passing play with Marian Gaborik and Jake Muzzin.
Carter made it 4-1 when he was set up by Iginla at 12:40.
Ben Bishop made 25 saves for the Kings. Bishop is 2-2-2 since being acquired from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.
Elliott had 29 stops, losing for just the second time in his last 15 starts. He falls to 25-15-3 on the season.
NOTES: The teams combined for 74 penalty minutes, including 34 by Los Angeles’ Andy Andreoff. ... Iginla is second among active NHLers with those 100 winning goals. ... Gaborik had two assists in his return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch Tuesday in Edmonton. ... Lewis played in his 500th game while Flames LW Lance Bouma played in career game No. 300.
Kings: Travel to Vancouver for a game Friday night.
Canucks: Host San Jose on Friday night.