Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Thursday, November 1st
Blue Jackets1Final
Game 2: Sunday, November 25th
Blue Jackets4
Game 3: Saturday, March 16th
Blue Jackets3
Game 4: Monday, March 25th
Blue Jackets1Final

Blue Jackets 1

(20-40-4, 52 pts)

Flames 6

(28-31-3, 70 pts)

9:00 PM ET, March 25, 2002

Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1 2 3 T
CBJ 0 1 01
CGY 2 2 26

C. Conroy (Flames - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 2

M. Vernon (Flames - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: .970

B. Sloan (Flames - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Conroy collects two goals, two assists in win

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Mike Vernon is doing his best to salvage the most frustrating season of his 17-year NHL career.

Mike Vernon

Conjuring up memories of his glory days in the late 1980s and early '90s, Vernon made 32 saves, backstopping the Calgary Flames in a 6-1 victory Monday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Craig Conroy scored twice and added two assists, and Jarome Iginla scored his league-leading 44th goal and added two assists, boosting his NHL-high points total to 83 as the Flames stopped an eight-game winless streak (0-6-2).

"I've been ready for a long time to get a chance to play," said Vernon, making his first start at home since Dec. 29. "It has been a little bit frustrating for myself, but when I do get to play, I just try and go out there and stop the puck. Tonight, was a fun night to play goal."

Vernon, who improved to 2-7-1, was especially strong in the first period when he made 14 saves as Calgary built a 2-0 lead.

"He didn't give us very much," Blue Jackets coach Dave King said. "When we got in close and got good chances, he made some really, really good saves. He's a solid veteran goalie."

Steve Begin, Toni Lydman, and Dean McAmmond also scored for Calgary. Blake Sloan and Jeff Shantz each contributed two assists for the Flames, who are 10 points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with just nine games to go.

David Vyborny scored the lone goal for the Blue Jackets.

It was the first meeting between the teams since their game March 16 in Columbus, when a slap shot from Blue Jackets center Espen Knutsen deflected into the crowd and struck 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil in the head. She died two days later, becoming the first fan ever killed at an NHL game.

It's been a disappointing season for Vernon, whose only other win was Dec. 10.

He's been injured and been placed on waivers twice. Recently, he fell out of favor with general manager Craig Button and was sent to the minors for three days.

"I'm a Calgary native, I'm a proud person, I'm proud to wear the jersey and for that to happen, I was very disappointed in the whole scenario," Vernon said. "We have kind of patched things up but it's still disappointing."

The 39-year-old Vernon ranks seventh in career wins (385) and has never won fewer than 12 games in a season.

Vernon got the start after he stopped all 16 shots Saturday night in relief of Roman Turek in Calgary's 3-1 loss to Edmonton.

"In Edmonton, he was unbelievable, then he comes back and does it again tonight," Conroy said. "Mike works so hard in practice and he's been waiting to get a chance to play some games. Now he is going to get a chance. It was great to see."

The Flames opened a 2-0 lead after the first period then scored twice more in the second.

Begin opened the scoring 3:45 in when Shantz made a clever pass in front of the net that he one-timed past goalie Marc Denis.

Conroy made it 2-0 at 14:03 when his pass out from behind the net caromed off the skate of Columbus center Serge Aubin and went between Denis' pads.

Conroy added his second of the game 56 seconds into the middle period when he streaked in alone and blasted a slap shot past Denis.

"Conroy was flying tonight," Iginla said. "He got the line going, and me and Dean (McAmmond) just tried to keep up with him out there."

After Vyborny's goal during a scramble, Calgary regained its three-goal cushion on Iginla's score with just 20 seconds left in the second period.

Game notes

Calgary matched its highest offensive output of the season and won by a margin of more than four goals for the first time this season. ... Calgary C Marc Savard was not in the lineup due to a concussion sustained Saturday against Edmonton. ... Columbus C Tyler Wright entered the game tied for the worst plus/minus in the NHL with a minus-31. ... Shantz earned his 200th career point.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press