Photo: Rob Carr
For 10 years, Jarome Iginla was the captain of the Calgary Flames. He was the franchise, in the same way Alex Ovechkin is now synonymous with the Washington Capitals. But in Iginla’s last few years with the team, the Flames got bad. Wanting to win a Cup before his career was over, Iginla engineered a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins last year, spurring the Boston Bruins at the last second. The closest Iginla had ever come was a Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2004.
Ironically, the Bruins headed to the Final against the Blackhawks last season, with another year ticking off on Iginla’s career. He signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Bruins this offseason. At 36, Iginla is on the top team in the east. The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division by beating Washington on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been a fun year,” Iginla told reporters after the game. “It’s been fun to win games and battling at the top of the league, to be on some streaks as a group and see them go in too. It’s been fun.”
Though he was welcomed to the team with little animosity after last year’s decision, Iginla got off to a slow start with the Bruins. In the first two and a half months of the season, he scored just four goals. But against the Caps this afternoon, Iginla scored twice. He hit 30 goals for the 12th time in his career, one of just nine other players to accomplish that feat.
“It feels good,” Iginla said. “I feel fortunate. I’ve been able to throughout my career play with some great passers, great linemates. This year is the same.”
Iginla got his first goal streaking in towards Braden Holtby after a defensive breakdown by the Capitals in the neutral zone, giving the Bruins the lead in the second period. The second goal was a backhand whack from the slot that Holtby let get through his pads. Iginla now has 560 goals in his 18 year NHL career.
“With the start he had, nobody would have predicted that,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of Iginla’s feat this season. “He’s even-keel no matter what. When he didn’t score at the beginning of the year you didn’t see panic. You saw a guy coming to work everyday with a smile on his face and being happy to be part of the group. There was no stress. He just kept working.”