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Jokinen scores twice in debut to lead Flames to victory

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The Canadian Press
3/6/2009 2:07:51 AM
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PHILADELPHIA - Olli Jokinen had instant chemistry with his new linemates.

Jokinen scored two goals in his first game for Calgary, and fellow trade-deadline addition Jordan Leopold also had a goal, leading the Flames to a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Jokinen, acquired from Phoenix before Wednesday's deadline, centred Calgary's top line between Mike Cammalleri and Jarome Iginla. The trio combined for seven points.

"Playing with great players, I just wanted to keep it simple and fit in," Jokinen said. "It's easy to play with them. It was a lot of fun. They were talking a lot, letting me know where they are."

Cammalleri added a goal and two assists for streaking Calgary, 9-1-2 since a four-game losing streak early last month. The Flames have increased their lead in the Northwest Division to 10 points over second-place Vancouver.

Mike Knuble had the lone goal for Philadelphia. The Flyers remained fourth in the Eastern Conference after their third loss in four games.

It could be a costly defeat for Philadelphia because forward Daniel Briere tweaked a groin injury that already forced him to miss 51 games this season. He'll be examined on Friday.

Briere, a high-priced free-agent acquisition in 2007, just returned to the lineup Sunday.

"He's having a tough time right now as much mentally as physically," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said.

Philadelphia coach John Stevens clearly was upset with his team's performance.

"It sure looked like we didn't have any energy there tonight," Stevens said. "It was an old-fashioned butt-whipping there, that's what that was.

"I don't have an answer for you at this point. It was just an awful effort by our hockey team, right through our lineup."

Jokinen went to the penalty box for tripping on an early shift, but quickly made up for it. He scored off a give-and-go pass from Iginla to give Calgary a 2-0 lead midway through the first period.

Six minutes later, Jokinen streaked down the right side, took a perfect pass from Cammalleri and lifted a shot past goalie Antero Niittymaki to make it 3-0.

"He played great," Iginla said. "He's a really fast player, real powerful. It was a great start."

Martin Biron prevented Jokinen from getting a hat trick with an outstanding, glove save on his slap shot early in the third.

The 30-year-old Jokinen holds the NHL record for games played (781) without appearing in the playoffs. He played for Los Angeles, the New York Islanders and Florida before joining the Coyotes last summer.

Barring a total collapse by the Flames, Jokinen will play his first post-season game next month. He might want to put off any vacation plans until July because his addition makes Calgary legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

"It was easy to come here," Jokinen said. "I'm just trying to fit in and help this team win games."

Leopold, who came over from Colorado in Calgary's other deadline deal, chipped a side-angle shot past Niittymaki for a 4-0 lead late in the first.

"It was a great start," said Leopold, now in his second stint with Calgary. "Me and Olli, we were playing on adrenaline."

Biron replaced Niittymaki at the start of the second.

The Flyers don't have a clear No. 1 goalie heading into the playoffs. Niittymaki helped his cause with a strong effort in a 4-2 win at Boston on Tuesday that earned him consecutive starts.

Miikka Kiprusoff had 35 saves for Calgary. He lost his shutout bid early in the third when Knuble scored his 23rd goal.

Cammalleri gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with his 34th goal early in the first. His shot from the left circle sailed through a screen.

Newly acquired Daniel Carcillo played in his first game with the Flyers since he joined the team following a trade with Phoenix. Carcillo, who leads the NHL in penalty minutes, didn't commit any infractions.

Notes: Craig Conroy scored Calgary's fifth goal with 4:11 left. ... Jokinen wore No. 21 instead of the No. 12 he's donned throughout his career. Iginla wears No. 12. ... The Flames are two games into a season-high, seven-game road trip. ... The Flyers opened a season-high, five-game homestand. ... Kiprusoff has won six straight starts. ... Flyers D Randy Jones played in his 200th NHL game.



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