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Flames stay hot with win over Rangers

by Brian Compton
Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff started for the 26th time in the last 27 games on Sunday night.

There were no signs of fatigue.

Kiprusoff stopped all 31 shots he faced for his 29th NHL shutout, leading the Flames to a 3-0 victory against the suddenly-struggling New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

Given the fact that it had been almost three years since the Flames visited MSG (Calgary last played in New York City on Jan. 10, 2006), Kiprusoff said he didn't experience any trouble getting up to play in the world's most famous arena.

"We don't come here too often, so it's not too hard to get pumped up," Kiprusoff said. "Every player is so happy to come and play here. Like you saw today, we were ready."

Kiprusoff certainly was. His teammates, on other hand, were outplayed for the majority of the first two periods. Forty minutes into the game, the Flames were outshot 23-9.

But Calgary captain Jarome Iginla broke a scoreless tie 15:50 into the second with his 14th goal of the season. After Dion Phaneuf's initial shot was denied by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, the rebound found its way to Michael Cammalleri, who sent a cross-crease feed to Iginla for the easy tap-in. Iginla has scored in consecutive games after going three without a goal.

''The last couple (of goals) have been right in front,'' Iginla said. ''I'm just trying to go to the net, try to get shots and try to make sure I'm moving my feet and competing hard so good things will happen.''

Calgary was more relaxed in the third period and grabbed a 2-0 lead when David Moss beat Lundqvist at 1:52. Moss capitalized on a Rangers turnover, and redirected a shot from Todd Bertuzzi into the net for his eighth goal of the season.

Moss has scored in each of his last four games.

''He has certainly become a lot more confident the last four or five games,'' Flames coach Mike Keenan said of Moss. ''It's always that fine line of, 'Play me more and I'll play better, and play better and I'll play you more.' He's earned it.''

"They got some fluky goals tonight," Lundqvist said. "It's too bad. I think we were the better team. Unfortunately, they didn't have to work too hard for their goals."

Rene Bourque made it 3-0 on a shorthanded goal with two minutes remaining in regulation. After defenseman Adrian Aucoin was whistled for hooking, Bourque gained control of the puck behind the Rangers' net, skated out in front and ripped a wrist shot over Lundqvist's glove for his eighth goal of the season.

It was also the eighth shorthanded tally allowed by the Rangers in 2008-09 -- the most in the NHL.

"I wouldn't call it bad luck," New York coach Tom Renney said. "We talked before the game about managing the puck accordingly and making sure we didn't give our opponents anything. Everything they got, we gave to them. We've got to manage the game for 60 minutes. We had a pretty good game going, other than our miscues with the puck. It cost us two goals."

Kiprusoff stopped eight shots in the final period, but wasn't faced with too many quality chances en route to his 16th win of the season, which ties him with Lundqvist for the League lead.

"They had a few shots, but most of them were outside," Kiprusoff said. "We played a good road game. It was a close game all the way through. We're a pretty confident team now. We knew if we played good defense, we'd get a couple of chances, too."

The Rangers went 0-for-4 on the power play and are now 3-for-30 over their last eight games. Clearly, something is not clicking for the Blueshirts with the man advantage.

"We took it to them as much as we could," Rangers center Scott Gomez. "It's just one of those games. You look at the shots, you look at the momentum we had … one bad break, and then another one and that's the game. We've just got to find a way. You could just sense that it wasn't our night. But we'll find our way out of this … there's no doubt."

If not, Lundqvist is going to face an awful lot of pressure to keep the puck out of his net at all times. However, the Rangers' goalie is confident the offense will soon get things going.

"We played a pretty good game … the only thing that's missing are the goals," Lundqvist said. "We have to stay positive here. We're going to come back, for sure. That last little piece is missing right now."

Material from wire services and broadcast media was used in this report.    

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