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Devils' goalies struggle in loss to Flames

by Aaron Vickers
CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames made the most of the 14 shots on goal they managed against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

Calgary fired six shots past the goaltending duo of Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg, beating the Devils 6-3 for their seventh consecutive victory at Scotiabank Saddledome and ninth in their last 10 games on home ice.

"Any time you can get that shooting percentage it's a bonus for us," said Curtis Glencross, who scored in the first period and chipped in three assists. "It's one of those nights. We should have more pucks to the net than that. We got away from our game in the second period and only had six shots the rest of the game. That's something we can't play that way and we know we can't play that way.

"Ultimate goal at the end of the night we're happy we got the two points. It doesn't matter how we got the six goals. We got the two points."

The Flames got them with a lot of help from goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 35 shots on a night his team was outshot 38-14 and managed only six shots in the final 40 minutes.

"We stopped working, stood around and watched, and they came at us," coach Brent Sutter said of his team's play in the second and third periods. "Goaltending was the difference.

"Tonight was ugly, but we found a way to win."

Calgary had some unlikely help extending the winning streak and chasing the future Hall of Famer Brodeur, who stopped just three of five shots before being lifted in favor of Hedberg, who allowed four goals on nine shots.  Three of Calgary's opening-period goals came off the sticks of defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, Cory Sarich and T.J. Brodie, who had combined for two goals in 99 games played coming into the contest. It marked the first time in Flames franchise history that three different defensemen have scored in the same period.

Bouwmeester opened the scoring on Brodeur at 5:54 with a seeing-eye wrister through a screen. The goal was Bouwmeester's first since beating Devan Dubnyk in a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 18.

"It's kind of weird sometimes," Bouwmeester said. "I've had some chances and that sort of thing so it's not like it's there, it's just matter of doing it, putting it in the back of the net."

Sarich broke an even longer scoring drought at 7:32, chasing Brodeur from the game. Sarich took a pass from Mikael Backlund and blasted a shot from the right point into the net for his first goal since last March 23.

"Flying down the wing, going for the puck, didn't break stride and just blasted one by him, he didn't even move," Sarich said jokingly. "Well, barely. It was just a shot on net that found a hole and I'm excited it went in."

Brodeur wasn't thrilled about being pulled so quickly by coach Peter DeBoer.

"He makes his own decision on it," Brodeur said of DeBoer, who also lifted Brodeur less than 10 minutes into the game at Ottawa on Dec. 8 -- a game that saw the Devils rally from a 3-0 deficit for a 5-4 shootout win. "I'm definitely not going to sit here and say I deserved it or whatever. I'm sure he felt it worked once in Ottawa, maybe he'd try to do it again. I don't know his thinking process on that one.

"In a game like that, you've got to give me a chance to play. Seven minutes into the game, it's not over, yet."

The Flames were equally tough on Hedberg.
After Jarome Iginla chipped the puck past Henrik Tallinder, Olli Jokinen swept in and fed a backhand pass to Glencross, who beat Hedberg on the first shot he faced at 13:12 to make it 3-0. It didn't get any easier for Hedberg, who was beat by a Brodie blast on his second shot with 3:22 remaining in the period.

In all, Calgary found the back of the net four times on eight shots in the opening period.

"Coming in like that, I want to make saves and I want to help the team out to get a little boost," Hedberg said. "Obviously that didn't happen. They scored pretty much right away, a couple quick ones. From there on, it wasn't a lot of action on my side except when they came up and scored goals."

New Jersey broke through against Kiprusoff in the second. After Kiprusoff stuffed Zach Parise's wraparound and rebound attempts, Adam Henrique picked the puck up in the slot and fed Ilya Kovalchuk, who lifted the puck over a fallen Kiprusoff with 5:12 remaining to make it 4-1.

Lee Stempniak temporarily restored Calgary's four-goal advantage when he fired a shot that was redirected by the glove of a Devils defender and went behind Hedberg at 16:38.
But with New Jersey defenseman Mark Fayne in the box. Henrique converted Parise's pass on a 2-on-1 opportunity, rifling the puck past Kiprusoff 46 seconds later to make it 5-2 heading into the second intermission. It was New Jersey's League-high 10th shorthanded goal of the season.

Lance Bouma almost added to Calgary's lead early in the third. After catching New Jersey asleep at the wheel, Bouma broke into the Devils zone and uncorked a shot that went over Hedberg's shoulder, but struck the crossbar 2:58 into the period. Three minutes later, the Devils pulled to within two with Iginla in the penalty box.  
Patrik Elias set up in the right corner and fed Kovalchuk at the opposite point. Kovalchuk faked the slap slot and returned the puck to Elias in the right circle, and Elias one-timed a blast past Kiprusoff to make it 5-3 at 6:04.
The goal prompted a Flames timeout. The move worked.

At 8:49, Iginla scored on Calgary's first shot of the period. After receiving the puck in the slot, Iginla's initial attempt was stuffed. He corralled the puck again and fired a shot along the ice, beating Hedberg between the legs to make it 6-3.

With the goal, Iginla moved past longtime Flames forward Lanny McDonald and into sole possession of 41st on the all-time goal scoring lead with 501 goals. McDonald was on hand prior to the game to help celebrate Iginla's 500th goal, scored Saturday night in a 3-1 win against the Minnesota Wild.
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