Back-to-back home wins over the weekend and a breakout game from their slumping captain have given the Calgary Flames a renewed sense of confidence.
Jarome Iginla ended a nine-game goalless drought Sunday by scoring just his second and third goals of the season in a 5-4 comeback win against Phoenix. The Flames defeated Minnesota 3-1 the night prior.
Now, the Flames hope to use that momentum going into a two-game road trip against the Wild on Tuesday and the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
"I like the way that Jarome played," said Calgary head coach Bob Hartley. "He scored two great goals being at the net."
Forward Matt Stajan, who played centre on Iginla's line, wasn't surprised to see Iginla get rewarded for his consistent effort.
"He gets so many scoring chances," Stajan said. "It's because he's such a good player and he creates them for himself. With Jarome's shot and the way he goes to the net, they're going to come. We saw that (Sunday) night with two goals where he went hard to the net."
Stajan thinks this is just the beginning for Iginla to start producing more offensively.
"That's usually how things start snowballing in a good way," said Stajan, who scored twice Saturday before adding an assist the next night. "I know there's a lot of people that have been worried about his game, but in this dressing room we know what he brings every day and the skill level. There's never a worry from what you get from our leader."
The next two games give the Flames (7-7-3) an opportunity to improve above .500 for the first time this season.
"It's nice to string two together," said forward Michael Cammalleri. "Now, let's see if we can keep that going."
Hartley is pleased with his team's recent play, but says his squad has to remain focused on the ultimate goal of qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
"We can't be satisfied — far from this," Hartley said. "It's going to be a race and we have to stay in that race. We have to keep moving up in the standings and that's going to be by winning games."
Forward Tim Jackman, who contributed to Calgary's comeback victory against Phoenix with his first goal since Dec. 29, 2011, says the team has what it takes to keep climbing the Western Conference standings
"We've been pretty successful when we get the momentum and we're skating," said Jackman. "We can kind of control the game when we play like that.
"We're climbing in the standings, but we've got to take another step here."
Notes: Injured Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff (knee) skated for the second straight day on Monday and took some shots from teammates during an optional skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome. a Out of all the other 29 teams in the league, Iginla has had the most goal-scoring success against Minnesota. In 69 career games against the Wild, Iginla has 35 goals to go with 29 assists. The 35-year-old forward has also scored 35 goals, albeit in 90 games, against the Avalanche.