CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- The Flames got the goaltending they've grown
accustomed to with Miikka Kiprusoff. A rare goal from Rhett Warrener proved to
be the difference against the Edmonton Oilers.
Kiprusoff made 30 saves before a sold-out crowd of 18,389 -- Calgary's
biggest of the season -- and Warrener had his first goal in 100 games to lead
the Flames to their fourth straight victory, a 2-1 win Tuesday night over the
Oleg Saprykin's first-period goal and Warrener's second-period tally
withstood a valiant Edmonton comeback attempt over the final 30 minutes.
"This one feels good because it was a battle out there," said Jarome
Iginla, who combined with rookie Matthew Lombardi to set up both Flames goals.
"They started to take over the momentum in the third but we got some huge
saves from Kiprusoff and we hung in there. That's part of what good teams do,
they find ways to win."
Edmonton outshot Calgary 13-7 in the third period, but couldn't solve
Kiprusoff until Mike York converted Radek Dvorak's rebound with 3:16 left.
"Too little too late again," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "We
eventually got one and had a lot of opportunities again but playing catch-up in
this league on most nights is a zero-sum game."
The Oilers applied immense pressure in the final moments but couldn't get
even. York had one of the best chances from in close but his shot caromed off
"The goalie was huge for them," Edmonton forward Georges Laraque said. "A
goalie wins you games and some of the saves he made tonight, they were unreal.
It would have been a different game if we had been able to score earlier."
Kiprusoff improved to 10-2-1 while lowering his NHL-leading goals-against
average to 1.44 and increasing his NHL-best save percentage to .943.
"My confidence is way up right now and the whole team has been playing
great," said Kiprusoff, acquired on Nov. 16 from San Jose. "Two months ago, I
had no idea what was going to happen but since I came here, it's been great."
Calgary is unbeaten in seven at home (5-0-2) and has lost just once in
regulation in 17 games (12-1-2-2). Lombardi and Iginla each had two assists.
The Oilers have won just twice in 15 games (2-9-4).
"Sure, it's disappointing but every team goes through this during a year,"
defenseman Steve Staois said. "We have to find a way to shorten the slide
quickly and find a way to get some points."
Leading 1-0, Calgary increased its lead at 4:46 of the second period on a
rare goal for Warrener.
Lombardi started the play by cutting across the front of the net, forcing
Tommy Salo to sprawl to the ice to knock the puck away. The rebound slid into
the slot where Warrener rushed in and drilled a shot into the empty top half of
Warrener last scored on March 1, 2002, while playing for Buffalo.
The Flames opened the scoring 9:06 in when they took advantage of Edmonton's
poor penalty killing, the worst unit in the league.
During a prolonged scramble directly in front of the Edmonton net during
which bodies from both teams were flying, Saprykin eventually found the loose
puck and managed to flip it over top of the fallen Salo.