Skip to main content

Headlines

Columbus Blue Jackets 0, Calgary Flames 2 FINAL

NHL.com @NHL

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) _ Not long ago, a playoff spot was in question for the Calgary Flames. Now, they have their sights set on home-ice advantage.

Matthew Lombardi and Jarome Iginla scored, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves to help the Flames tighten their grip on a playoff berth with a 2-0 victory Thursday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

``It was a big win again,'' Kiprusoff said. ``Sometimes it's hard to come back off a road trip and play well at home but we did great, and it was a huge two points.''

Lombardi put the Flames up 1-0 at 6:19 of the second period and Iginla added an empty-net goal for the Flames, unbeaten in a season-high seven games (5-0-2). It's their longest stretch since a 10-game run early in the 2001-02 season.

Iginla's 37th goal tied him with Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash for second in the NHL goal-scoring race, one behind Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kiprusoff recorded his third shutout this season and sixth of his career while improving to 21-7-4 and lowering his NHL-best goals-against average to 1.63.

Calgary is five points ahead of seventh-place St. Louis in the Western Conference playoff race. With 86 points, the Flames are one back of Dallas for fifth and two behind Vancouver for fourth. All three teams have eight games remaining.

``We have to go into every game with that same mentality _ getting those two points,'' Lombardi said. ``It doesn't matter who we're playing. It's us in the end and we've got to dictate where we want to be at the end of the season.''

The Flames have missed the postseason an NHL-high seven straight years.

Marc Denis made 33 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost their eighth in a row, tying a franchise record set in their first season of 2000-01.

``It's tough to take, not just in the standings, but morally in the dressing room,'' defenseman Luke Richardson said. ``It's tough to find that energy the next day to try and build off something you did the night before when you lose every night.''

Lombardi scored after Denis Gauthier's shot from the blue line hit Columbus defenseman Duvie Westcott. Lombardi got the puck in the slot and tucked a backhander behind Denis.

The Blue Jackets nearly tied it five minutes into the third period during a power play when Manny Malhotra was thwarted by Kiprusoff, who slid across the crease to get his shoulder on a shot from in-close.

The save sparked chants of ``Kipper, Kipper'' from the sellout crowd.

``He's made timely stops all year,'' Iginla said. ``He might not have been as busy tonight as other nights but you look at that save on Malhotra, it's 1-0 at the time. Being in the third period, that makes it 1-1 and gives them momentum. Instead, he makes a huge save.''

The Blue Jackets had another power play late in the game, but with Denis pulled in the final minute, Iginla scored.

Columbus had the first five power-plays but couldn't capitalize with the extra man, finishing 0-for-7.

``We're a team that's battled through injuries this year and we got way out of sync and for some reason, we just haven't been able to bounce back,'' Richardson said.

View More