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Flames 1 Red Wings 0: Inside the Game

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

GAME AT A GLANCE: It was the Calgary Flames first home game in almost two weeks and they knew they needed to continue their winning streak if they were to stay in the race for a playoff spot in a tight Northwest Division. On top of it all, they were facing the top team in the Western Conference, the Detroit Red Wings, and although their conference rivals were without their captain and star defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom, it wasn't going to be an easy feat.

But again the Flames worked their magic, played a rigid physical game and stood their ground against the Red Wings, shutting them out 1-0. It was Miikka Kiprusoff's first shutout of the 2007-08 season and his first in 64 games. It was also the Calgary club's first win again Detroit this season, with the Wings taking the first three games.

"Miikka (Kiprusoff) was great in net, I’m glad to see he finally got a shutout," said Flames' Head Coach Mike Keenan, following the win.

Alex Tanguay opened the scoring 11:54 in the first on what appeared to be a centering pass. Just as he dished the puck out of the corner, it bounced off of a Red Wings' blueliner and past netminder Chris Osgood. However it went in, it was a goal none the less and Tanguay's third in two games. The goal went unassisted.

Calgary defenceman David Hale had a chance to tally his first career NHL goal on a breakaway 9:58 into the opening frame, but Osgood found a way to hang onto it as the one-timer bounced off his chest and up into the air.

The Flames continued their hard-nosed play into the second period and, in fact, dominated the physical aspect of the game, out hitting their opponents 16-5 by the time all was said and done.

Miikka Kiprusoff was stellar between the posts, coming up big a number of times for the Calgary squad. Kiprusoff faced 38 Detroit shots on net. But at the same time, Chris Osgood was very good himself, keeping the Flames to one goal on 26 attempts. Tomas Holmstrom got under the skin of Kiprusoff a couple times, especially when the forward shoved the Flames netminder in the final seconds of the middle period.

With less than 10 minutes left in the third and a Flames and Detroit player in their respective boxes, Owen Nolan made a great block on Brett Lebda's shot, as the veteran forward got down on a knee to stop the potentially dangerous puck.

It came down to the wire and with only 25 seconds left in the third, Nolan was sent to the box for slashing, giving Detroit the man-advantage. The Flames held on though and never gave the Red Wings an opportunity to tie the game.

THE BIG SAVE: Minutes after Alex Tanguay opened the scoring, teammate Daymond Langkow attempted to chip in the Flames' second goal of the night but his chance on Chris Osgood was hampered when the quick netminder got his right foot on the bouncing put to kick it out of harms reach. But it was Miikka Kiprusoff who was the games' shining star as he came up time and time again with great goaltending. One of the biggest moves had to be a stellar glove save on Kyle Quincey as the defenceman released an edgy one-timer on the netminder from the point. With no traffic in front of the net, it was a one-on-one showdown between the two players, with Kiprusoff coming out ahead.
THE BIG HITS: Heavy hitter Dion Phaneuf hammered Tomas Kopecky into the ice and then proceeded to bounce the forward off the boards as the two raced for the puck behind the Calgary net 4:45 into the middle frame.

THE TURNING POINT: The Red Wings continued to pressure the Flames for their first goal well into the third and there was no letting down. That was until Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk had Kiprusoff beat but was marginally off and ended up ringing it off the post 7:18 in the final frame.

QUOTABLE: "He will help us tremendously. He's an underrated player. He is a tough player, but what people don't realize is how smart he is with the puck. --- Defenceman Adrian Aucoin, on newly acquired fellow blueliner Jim Vandermeer

THE ROSTER: The Flames healthy scratches were D Anders Eriksson, F Mark Smith and D Rhett Warrener.

WORTH NOTING: Prior to puck drop, the Calgary Flames held a special tribute to Flames' prospect and Windsor Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud, who passed away this past Monday at the age of 19. Flames' players also wore No. 18 on their helmets in his honour. The team will wear Renaud's jersey number on their helmets for an indefinite period of time...Tonight's shutout win was Miikka Kiprusoff's first all season...The Red Wings were without three key players tonight, Nicklas Lidstrom, who is out with an injured knee, netminder Dominik Hasek (hip) and blueliner Brian Rafalski (sprained right knee)

BY THE NUMBERS: Alex Tanguay registered his third goal in two games for the Flames...Miikka Kiprusoff recorded his first shutout in 64 games...Known as a physical team, the Red Wings didn't register any hits in the opening frame and only had five in 60 minutes...Detroit had 38 shots on net...Henrik Zetterberg had five shots on goal...Detroit had seven blocked shots.
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