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Flames end road slide with 2-1 win over Florida

by John Kreiser

Calgary's new look has produced back-to-back wins. After Friday night, the Florida Panthers might be looking to make a few changes themselves.

Newcomer Ales Kotalik and Mark Giordano scored, and Miikka Kiprusoff had to make just 12 saves in the Flames' 2-1 victory over the Panthers.

It was Kotalik's first goal for the Flames since joining the team Monday in a trade with the New York Rangers. Jay Bouwmeester and Niklas Hagman, both former Panthers, were credited with assists on the play. Defenseman Ian White, acquired Sunday from Toronto, had an assist on Giordano's goal. Hagman also came to Calgary from Toronto.

Calgary has won back-to-back games since the deal with the Rangers completed the two-day remodeling.

"With the new guys, it was an understanding of what they had to do and I thought they went out there and contributed. It was a solid team win," coach Brent Sutter said.

Florida coach Peter DeBoer was anything but happy after his team was outshot 40-13. Only a 38-save masterpiece by Tomas Vokoun kept the Panthers in the game, and the season-low 13 shots included just two in the final 20 minutes.

"It wasn't the third period, we just got manhandled," DeBoer said. "We had 13 shots, and I think six were by defensemen. We didn't win any puck battles. You'd think that when you've got some forwards that haven't scored in 14, 15, 16 games they might want to get their noses dirty and try and get one. We weren't interested in that tonight."

Calgary won for just the fourth time in its past 16 games and ended a four-game road losing streak. Florida has lost three of its last four games.

DeBoer was clearly frustrated with his team's anemic offensive performance -- especially from the forwards, who only managed six shots.

"Our forwards have to get grittier and have to realize they've got to pay a price to score in this league and right now we don't have enough guys that are interested in doing that," De Boer said. "If it was one or two you could sit guys out but we've got lines of guys that haven't scored in 15 games. It's tough. The only way to fix that is through free agency in the summer."

Fatigue seems to be taking a toll on the Panthers.

"We spent too much time in our zone and by the time we got it in their zone we didn't have enough energy to do anything in there," center Stephen Weiss said. "We were just too tired to sustain anything down there."

Calgary took a 2-1 lead on Giordano's power-play goal with 2:42 left in the second period. The Flames won a faceoff in the Panthers' end and Giordano's shot from the right point beat a screened Vokoun cleanly.

Calgary opened the scoring with 10 seconds left in the first period when Kotalik's cross-crease pass hit a Panther skate and deflected into the net for a power-play goal.

"It doesn't matter (how it looks), it still counts when it goes in," Kotalik said. "You create an opportunity around the net and sometimes it isn't pretty."

The Panthers tied it 1:20 into the second period on a power-play goal by Dennis Seidenberg, who picked up a rebound in the right circle and put a wrist shot past Kiprusoff's glove side.

It was the first time back at the BankAtlantic Center for Bouwmeester, who was traded to Calgary last June and signing a five-year contract with the Flames after spending his entire career with the Panthers. Friday marked the 400th consecutive game for Bouwmeester, who was booed by the Florida crowd every time he touched the puck in the opening period.

"I've been booed in here before so it's not the first time," Bouwmeester said. "It does feel good to get a win here, but it wasn't the opponent as much as it was the fact that we got a big road win."

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

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