He coached Jarome Iginla and then watched him closely from a management position in Calgary and would go on to coach against him.
So Kings Coach Darryl Sutter was taking special note Monday morning of Iginla, who was in pursuit of his 600th NHL goal.
“You look at him out on the ice this morning,” Sutter said of the 38-year-old forward. “How hard he trains … he’s probably got another 100 in him if he wants.”
Iginla was thinking about only one, to wrap up the chase, and he got it against his former coach and general manager, Sutter, and the Kings, becoming the 19th player to reach the milestone.
His centering pass went off the skate of Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin past goalie Jhonas Enroth at 13 minutes 2 seconds of the third period in Colorado’s 4-1 victory over the Kings.
The moment was an electric one for Iginla. His teammates came off the bench to celebrate with him and Iginla received a standing ovation.
He said in an interview with NBC Sports Network that he got a “fortunate” bounce. For Iginla, it has been a long march to 600. He went three games without scoring since getting No. 599.
“Every scoring chance you get, you think, ‘Maybe this one,’ ” he said in the interview.
Iginla’s goal neatly wrapped up the victory against a Kings team that lost for the first time on the road in more than two weeks. The Kings had won five consecutive games overall.
The Kings gave up three power-play goals to Colorado. In addition to Iginla’s moment, defenseman Tyson Barrie had a four-point game, scoring twice and contributing two assists.
“I think we got out of the first period all right,” Sutter said. “Had some penalty trouble, had to use a real short bench. We had some guys, had the ‘slow-moving’ sign on. …You need everybody. The guys talked about it before the game. We needed four lines and six D [defensemen].
“We probably had three or four defensemen play well and six forwards, a couple of lines.”
Sutter did not fault the effort of backup goalie Enroth, who started to give No. 1 Jonathan Quick a break. Quick was selected the league’s first star of the week earlier in the day.
The Kings’ goal came from Tyler Toffoli, who scored his 19th of the season. It came at 11:01 of the second period, tying the score, 1-1, on the power play.
Center Anze Kopitar had the primary assist, and he has assists in six consecutive games, tying his career high.
But the Avalanche responded with Barrie’s goal only 1:19 later and that proved to be the game winner.
“Just plain and simple: Did not play good,” said Kopitar, who took a puck in the face and needed repairs on the bench.
“Did not compete hard enough. Didn’t make enough plays. You name it. Hung our goalie out to dry way too many times. He kept us in it.”
Toffoli sounded the same theme.
“It was no good, plain and simple,” he said.
The Kings had a stretch of 10 of 12 games on the road before Monday night. They were home against Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon and flew to Denver on Sunday.
“We played a lot of road games in the last little bit here, basically the two home games were almost like satellite games,” Sutter said.
Sutter and Iginla nearly won a Stanley Cup together in Calgary in 2004, losing to Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the final.
Iginla is in his 19th season in the NHL and Sutter was running the numbers in his mind
“Averaging over 30 goals a year … you think about it, there’s guys playing in the league now that won’t score five,” Sutter said.
Iginla made his NHL regular-season debut in the 1996-97 season, with Calgary, and 525 of his 600 goals were scored with the Flames.
Said Avalanche Coach Patrick Roy: “His No. 1 asset is scoring goals.”