CALGARY, Alberta (AP) _ Shean Donovan's timely goal moved the Calgary Flames
closer to their first playoff berth in eight seasons.
Donovan scored 1:06 into overtime to give Calgary a 3-2 victory over the Los
Angeles Kings on Saturday that moved the Flames closer to their first playoff
appearance in eight seasons.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves to snap a three-game losing streak and
improve to 22-10-4. The Flames, with 90 points, are in sixth place in the
Western Conference and are trying to reach the playoffs for the first time
since the 1995-96 season.
They are five points ahead of the St. Louis Blues, Edmonton Oilers and
Nashville Predators, who are tied for seventh.
``Ninety points is big, but we haven't clinched it, maybe it will take 92 or
more, but it's a step in that direction and it does feel good,'' Flames captain
Jarome Iginla said.
Donovan led a two-on-one rush with Craig Conroy and opted to hold the puck
until the last second before firing a wrist shot past Cristobal Huet.
``My passing has been working better than my shooting lately but I ended up
coming in so close, there was no way I could pass so I just took a shot,''
Donovan said. ``It was pretty exciting.''
Chris Simon and Conroy also scored for Calgary, and Iginla had a pair of
assists giving him 501 NHL points. Simon was involved physically and
offensively, netting his 17th goal of the season.
``He was excellent, you could tell he was itching to come back, he didn't
like the two games he had to take off,'' Flames defenseman Denis Gauthier said.
``He was very excited to be back in the lineup, and we were happy to have him
``He did a lot of good things, set the pace early for us and kept a couple
of their guys quiet.''
Sean Avery and Jeff Cowan scored for Los Angeles. Winless in their last
seven (0-6-1), the Kings are 10th in the West and on the verge of being
``Now, we just play for our pride, play for our fans,'' Avery said. ``For
the guys in here that have battled all year, we have to do it for them.''
Kings coach Andy Murray opted to shake things up to try and spark the team,
pulling three high-profile players out of the lineup that lost 3-1 to Edmonton
Alexander Frolov, Martin Straka, and defenseman Jaroslav Modry, didn't dress
for the Kings. Instead, forwards John Tripp, Dustin Brown, and defenseman Tim
Gleason played. Tripp was scratched the previous 12 games, while Brown sat out
nine straight and Gleason missed three.
The Kings recorded the first six shots on goal and took a 1-0 lead at 5:39
when Eric Belanger set up Avery wide-open in front for a one-timer that
Kiprusoff had no chance to stop.
Calgary tied it 1:26 into the second period when Simon scored on the power
play, redirecting Jordan Leopold's shot past Huet.
Simon was playing for the first time since serving a two-game suspension for
kneeing Dallas Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov.
Los Angeles regained the lead at 7:29 of the second when Avery wired a pass
across the slot to Cowan, streaking toward the goal. Cowan one-timed a shot
into the open side before Kiprusoff could slide across.
The lead lasted just five minutes as Conroy tied it at 12:12.
Conroy got the puck at the circle and fired a shot that went off Huet's
glove and just trickled over the line.
``We knew they played last night, and if we continued to play our system
tried to outwork them, it would pay off in the third and it ended up paying off
in overtime,'' Simon said.