Losers in four of their previous five home games, the Calgary Flames
needed someone to step up and give them a reason to smile on Monday night.
Enter Miikka Kiprusoff
The Finnish goaltender stopped all 32 shots he faced and Jarome Iginla
had a goal and an assist as the Flames earned a 3-0 victory against the Minnesota Wild
at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
opened the scoring and Niklas Hagman
got some insurance late in the third period for the Flames (10-12-2). For Kiprusoff, it was his third shutout this season and 37th of his career.
"We played hard," Kiprusoff said. "We didn't give them too much time to take quality shots. It's easy to make reads when we work hard like that."
Kiprusoff's best stop came in the second period, preserving the Flames' two-goal lead. Martin Havlat zipped a perfect pass through the slot to spring a wide open Marek Zidlicky
on the breakaway. However, the Wild defenseman couldn't fool Kiprusoff as the Flames goaltender jabbed out a pad to deny Zidlicky's close-in shot.
Just a few minutes later, with Minnesota on the man-advantage, Zidlicky again threatened with a hard slap shot from the top of the face-off circle, but Kiprusoff was there to get his chest in front of the rising shot.
"Kipper's a battler," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "The last three games, he's been rock solid. He's got his angles. He isn't letting shots get through him. When Kipper plays that way, pucks are hitting him in the crest and he sees the puck very well."
Minnesota (11-10-2) has lost four of its last five, but usually has Calgary's number. The Wild won seven of the previous eight meetings between the two teams, including three straight in Calgary.
Iginla set up Bouwmeester's goal by carrying the puck behind the net, then threading a backhand pass diagonally through the slot to the Flames uncovered defenseman who fired in his third of the season.
Iginla's 10th goal came on his own rebound. His original shot from far out deflected wide of the net, but the puck caromed off the end boards and out front for Iginla to tuck past a surprised Jose Theodore.
"We're just playing … trying to compete hard and not think too much," Iginla said. "I think our line is playing with more confidence, but we're also getting good breaks, too. You've got to play hard and compete, but it's a skill game. You've got to add that skill to the work."
The Minnesota backup got the start with Niklas Backstrom
having surrendered 18 goals in his last three starts. Theodore finished with 28 saves on 31 shots.
Hagman, on a power play at 18:31 of the third period, rounded out the scoring for Calgary, which was coming off a 1-2-2 Eastern road trip.
Minnesota entered the night ranked second in the NHL on the power play, but came up empty on three attempts. Calgary went 1-for-3.
"Those are the moments you have to capitalize on but you have to give them credit, they had good penalty killing tonight and their goalie was very good," said Wild captain Mikko Koivu
The Northwest Division rivals will face-off against each other three more times in the next three weeks, including Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
Material from wire services and team media was used in this report.