Unless they switched the channel right after the game-winning goal, Calgary Flames fans got to see the softer side of goaltending coach Clint Malarchuk following Thursday’s 4-3 overtime triumph against the Columbus Blue Jackets.



To clarify, they eventually got to see his softer side.

As the Flames retreated to the dressing room after the hard-fought victory, the Sportsnet West telecast showed an animated Malarchuk dishing out congratulations to the contributors.

A slap on the back for T.J. Brodie, who had two helpers.

A fist-bump — more like a jab to the glove — for overtime hero Alex Tanguay.

A whack across the shoulder pad for Jarome Iginla, who made a terrific pass on the game-winning tally.

The high-definition cameras cut away momentarily as a few more guys passed by. Then, they followed Flames goalie Leland Irving as he finally stepped off the ice.

Malarchuk was waiting, now blocking the route to the room.

Irving’s reward?

A good ol’ fashioned hug.

“I’m pretty passionate about my goalies,” Malarchuk said with a shrug after Friday’s practice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, where the Flames wrap a three-game roadie with Saturday’s showdown against the Canucks (8 p.m., CBC).

“I did the same thing in Detroit.”

The Flames would be satisfied if Irving keeps doing the same thing, too.

With Miikka Kiprusoff sidelined by a sprained knee ligament, Irving will once again get the nod against the Canucks.

In fact, Saturday’s Northwest Division tilt on the Wet Coast marks the first time since February 2004 that somebody other than Kiprusoff has made consecutive starts between the pipes for the Flames.