CALGARY -- Miikka Kiprusoff kept the Calgary Flames in it for 40 minutes. Curtis Glencross handled the final 20.
Kiprusoff stopped 25 saves through the first two periods to take a tie game into the third before Glencross and the Flames erupted for three goals in just 4:23 in the final period as Calgary downed the Detroit Red Wings 5-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
After letting in 10 goals on 46 shots and finishing on the bench of Calgary's California road trip to forget, Kiprusoff rebounded with his strongest outing of the season to snap Calgary's three-game losing streak and extend its home winning-streak to five games.
"Of course it's not fun but like I say, we have a good other goalie here in [Joey MacDonald] too," said Kiprusoff, who finished with 36 saves. "I always try to play like it's your last, just get ready and today it worked great."
The Calgary goaltender silenced a lot of critics in the process, according to Glencross.
"That's why you can never question Kipper," he said. "He had 36 [saves] with five minutes left. Any time your goalie puts up [almost] 40 saves for you, you want to reward him like that."
Tied 2-2 heading into the third period thanks to Kiprusoff's heroics, Glencross – playing his first game after missing a pair with an upper-body injury – set up Lee Stempniak to put Calgary in the driver's seat. Cutting through the slot with the puck, Glencross drew traffic before feeding a pass back to Stempniak, who put the puck into a virtually empty net for his seventh of the season at 5:37.
"That was a great play," Stempniak said. "I think as a line we've been doing a better job just developing a little bit of chemistry and get some chances and he made a great play. For me personally, just try to go to the net and have my stick on the ice and it was right there."
Glencross then added his ninth of the campaign to make it 4-2 just three minutes later. The recipient of a turnover in the Detroit zone, he buried the puck past Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, a surprise starter after Jimmy Howard fell ill earlier in the day.
"Detroit's a team where you go into the third period with them like that, what they're skating for is an opportunity, a turnover and we're fortunate enough to get them our way," Glencross said.
Blake Comeau capped the scoring spree by ripping a shot over Gustavsson's glove at the 10-minute mark to make it 5-2.
"We hurt ourselves there in the third and give them credit, they capitalized on our mistakes," defenseman Kyle Quincey said.
Scoring just two goals in their previous two outings – both losses – the Red Wings wasted little time getting on the board in Calgary.
After Kiprusoff turned aside a Valtteri Filppula redirect off Henrik Zetterberg's pass less than a minute in and a post that followed it up 30 seconds later, Niklas Kronwall broke through.
Corralling the puck at the point, Kronwall let a blast go over the blocker of Kiprusoff to put the Red Wings up 1-0. The goal came on Detroit's fifth shot of the game and before Calgary could muster one on Gustavsson.
The Red Wings' lead held up for just 2:35. On the power play with Brendan Smith in the penalty box for cross checking, Mike Cammalleri sprung Alex Tanguay in alone. Tanguay dipped his shoulder then threw a nifty deke on Gustavsson before lifting it over the Detroit goaltender to tie the game 1-1 at 5:55.
The Red Wings pushed to regain the lead, but Kiprusoff closed the door.
First, the Flames' netminder denied Zetterberg's crease scramble at 7:30 before poking away a Damien Brunner opportunity on the same shift for two of his 14 saves in the period.
Jay Bouwmeester would add his fifth of the season near the midway mark of the period. Jumping into the rush, Bouwmeester worked a give-and-go with Stempniak before firing a shot on net. Gustavsson made the initial save, but Bouwmeester's rebound ricocheted off Jakub Kindl and into the net to give the Flames a 2-1 lead.
"It wasn't our best first period," Kiprusoff said. "Some nights are like that and we were able to come out with the lead after that. It's nice. I think after that we played better and played very smart."
Detroit drew even and rid itself of an ominous distinction in the second period.
Failing to convert on a post earlier in the shift, Filppula converted a Quincey rebound kicked onto his stick by Kiprusoff, burying the gift behind the Flames' netminder with 3:21 remaining in the period in his first game back after missing seven with a shoulder injury.
The goal ended an 0-for-37 drought with a man-advantage on the road to start the season, a span of 69 minutes and 20 seconds and the longest stretch the franchise has gone without a power-play goal on the road to start the season since the 1928-29 Detroit Cougars. The Cougars scored eight power-play goals – all at home – during the 44-game season.
"Coming in, we knew it was a big game for us," Quincey said. "We get that big goal at the end of the second and we feel good coming into the third and you make a few mistakes and they capitalize and after that it's hard to get them back."