January 6, 2005
CALGARY (CP) -- While the new wide-open NHL is on display in other NHL cities, the Calgary Flames led by goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff continue to go about their business the old fashioned way.
Kiprusoff set a Flames franchise record Friday night with his sixth shutout of the season as Calgary got a second period goal from Tony Amonte to blank Toronto 1-0.
"That's telling of how our team plays, we've been doing a good job in our end all season,'' said Kiprusoff, who at the midway point of the season has topped the team record of five shutouts shared by Dan Bouchard, Fred Brathwaite, Roman Turek, and Phil Myre.
Amonte's 11th goal of the season came at 4:24 of the middle period on a harmless-looking play.
After keeping the puck in at the Toronto blue-line, defenceman Robin Regehr sent a bouncing backhand toward the net where Amonte, jostling with defenceman Aki Berg in front, got a slight piece of it and deflected it past goaltender Ed Belfour.
"It was just a desperation move to get the puck down to the net and it was fortunate that it went off Amonte in net with a screen,'' said Regehr.
Belfour, who also had 27 saves, said it was one of those goals he'd like to have back.
"It looked like it changed directions a little bit but I just didn't get a good look at it,'' said Belfour.
In the final seconds with the Leafs buzzing around the Flames goal, Darcy Tucker had a great opportunity on a set up by Jason Allison's cross-ice pass but fanned on his shot from 20 feet out.
Tucker might have aggravated his nagging rib injury in the process. The Leafs' leading goal scorer stayed down on the ice for a couple of minutes after the final horn had blown before being helped off the ice.
"That was a sure goal,'' said a dejected Tucker after the loss, which put an end to the Maple Leafs' six-game winning streak.
"You keep thinking you have to fight all the way to the end and maybe you will get your chance to score,'' said Leafs coach Pat Quinn. "Our guys did try right to the last whistle and that's what you have to do in this league to get anything and tonight we didn't get it.''
The most dangerous Toronto player was NHL top scoring defenceman Bryan McCabe, who had four shots including two in the third period as the Leafs generated several good scoring chances, especially on an early four-on-three power-play.
"They use him (McCabe) a lot and he has a great shot so he is one of the key guys when they're on the power-play so I was keeping an eye on what he was doing,'' Kiprusoff said. "Our defence did a good job letting me see so it was easy for me to play a little more out on him.''
Toronto captain Mats Sundin also had a close-in chance in the third but was turned away by a Kiprusoff pad save.
"He's got quick feet,'' said Sundin. "You have to go over his pad. After 15 years, I haven't learned that yet but I'll get him next time hopefully.''
At the other end of the ice, Belfour matched Kiprusoff save for save over the final 35 minutes to keep the Leafs within a goal.
"Both goaltenders stole the show tonight and unfortunately we couldn't get a goal or two for Eddie,'' said Toronto right winger Tie Domi.
Toronto entered the game with the 5th ranked power-play but finished 0-for-5.
Calgary (25-12-4) wrapped up a five-game homestand with four straight wins that put them within three points of the Western Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings.
The Flames also widened their lead atop the Northwest Division to four points over the Edmonton Oilers, who will host the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The Flames head to Vancouver to begin a four-game road trip on Saturday.
Notes: With C Byron Ritchie (knee) and LW Marcus Nilson (head) both injured on Monday, Calgary welcomed back to its line-up three regulars that had been sidelined _ C Stephane Yelle (ankle, 8 games), LW Tony Amonte (ribs, 2 games), and D Rhett Warrener (ribs, 3 games). ... Toronto also got one of its injured players back with C Jason Allison returning after missing four games with a finger injury. ... Behind Kiprusoff in shutouts at three each is Dominik Hasek, Marty Turco, and Manny Legace. ... It's was the second time Toronto (23-15-3) has been shut out this season. The other was an 8-0 loss to Ottawa on Oct. 29.