Flames' Mark Smith, left, and Panthers' Tanner Glass (37) fight. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Luis M. Alvarez
SUNRISE, Fla. - Jarome Iginla didn't let a solid effort by the Calgary Flames go to waste.
His goal with 10.2 seconds left sent the game to overtime and the Flames went on to beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 in a shootout on Tuesday night. "It's a big boost for sure," Iginla said. "It feels great. Probably our last seven games, our habits have been getting a lot better and we've been playing a lot of games we felt we deserved to win and haven't quite gotten the results. Tonight maybe feels like a little payback."
Iginla sent the game to overtime after Alex Tanguay's shot from the point was blocked. Iginla picked up the loose puck and beat Tomas Vokoun with a wrist shot over his right shoulder.
"There's no picking a corner there, that was just turn around and get it off," Iginla said. "You barely even know the time left at that point, I didn't know if it was 10 seconds, one second, 15 or whatever.
"It was definitely a good bounce off Tanguay's shot, but we kind of felt like we were working and we were due for a good bounce."
Kristian Huselius, a former Panthers player, scored the only goal in the shootout after both teams failed to score on a breakaway in overtime, Richard Zednik for Florida and Tanguay for Calgary.
It was Huselius' first game at Florida since being traded in December of 2005.
"We played them last year in Calgary, but it's totally different when you're playing at home the first time back," he said. "But it's a good feeling to see ... It was nice to get the win, for sure."
The game also marked a return to South Florida for coach Mike Keenan. Keenan coached the Panthers for two-plus seasons from 2001-02 until being fired in December of 2003. He served as Florida's general manager in 2005-06.
For the Panthers, it was yet another painful loss. This was the fourth time this season they gave up a game-tying or game-winning goal in the final minute.
It was particularly difficult to handle because Rostislav Olesz had a wrist shot into an empty net blocked by defenceman Anders Eriksson seconds before Iginla's goal.
"It looked like we were going to get (two) points," said captain Olli Jokinen. "We didn't. Ten seconds remaining and they got a tying goal. We should have two points."
Jokinen scored the only goal for the Panthers.
But he, Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss were all stopped in the shootout by Miikka Kiprusoff after trying to beat him with a deke.
"I like to challenge shooters a lot, so maybe they did some scouting," said Kiprusoff. "It's pretty tough for me, but today I was able to close my 5-hole."
Kiprusoff made 32 saves in regulation and overtime for Calgary, which was playing at the BankAtlantic Center for the first time since Nov. 9, 2002.
Vokoun stopped 34 shots while coming close to his second consecutive shutout. He blanked the Islanders 3-0 on Friday night.
"We were so close to winning," Vokoun said. "He (Iginla) plays hard, but when you look at the goal they scored it was just like ours, it was a dirty goal around the net. That's 85 per cent of the goals in this league, they are scored that way. If you pay the price and work hard, eventually it's going to pay off for you."
Calgary won its second consecutive game to start its season-long six-game road trip. Florida closed out its five-game homestand with a 1-4 record.
Jokinen gave Florida a 1-0 lead at 16:03 of the second period after intercepting Daymond Langkow's clearing attempt from the front of the Calgary net. Jokinen then beat Kiprusoff with a wrist shot to the blocker side that bounced off the post.
It looked like it would stand up as the game-winner until Iginla delivered.
"It was the right guy to get the puck," Keenan said. "You can't have a better player on our behalf to pick up that puck."