CALGARY - Eric Nystrom scored the go-ahead goal at 11:46 of the third period Wednesday night as the Calgary Flames won 2-1 over the Dallas Stars in a pivotal game for both teams in the Western Conference playoff race.
The deciding goal came as a result of strong play by Calgary's fourth line. Rookie centre Warren Peters pressured Fabian Brunnstrom into coughing up the puck in his own zone. Dustin Boyd alertly reached out, keeping the puck onside and sweeping it to Nystrom breaking towards the net.
Nystrom moved in and fired a shot from 20 feet out that squeezed in under the arm of Marty Turco, igniting a roar from the sell-out of crowd of 19,289.
Nystrom's fourth goal of the season was his first in 14 games.
Jamie Lundmark also scored for Calgary (41-23-6). The Flames increased their Northwest Division lead over hard-charging Vancouver to five points. The Canucks have one game in hand. While Calgary was away on its seven-game road trip in which they went 3-4, the Canucks had whittled the Flames lead from eights points down to three.
Brendan Morrison scored the lone goal for Dallas (33-30-8).
It was a tough loss for the Stars, who remained ninth. Dallas opened the night one point behind both Edmonton and Nashville, who are tied for seventh in the tight race.
The Stars wrap up their road trip in San Jose on Saturday night.
Kiprusoff made 18 saves to win his NHL-leading 41st game of the season (41-17-5). It was his 200th career victory. Kiprusoff had surrendered 19 goals in his previous four starts, getting pulled by coach Mike Keenan in two of them.
Turco made 29 stops for Dallas as he saw his record fall to 32-27-8.
Trailing 1-0, Calgary tied it at 5:39 of the second period as Lundmark converted a two-on-one set up by a nifty give-and-go between Daymond Langkow and Dustin Boyd.
Lundmark was recalled from Quad Cities (AHL) on Feb. 19 when Flames forward Rene Bourque injured his ankle. The 28-year-old journeyman has had a productive month, racking up five goals and four assists in 12 games.
After an uneventful first period, Dallas opened the scoring 1:10 into the second.
Stephane Robidas' shot didn't get through, but the bouncing puck landed on the stick of Morrison as he skated through the slot. The veteran centre quickly flipped a backhander past Miikka Kiprusoff.
It was the second goal in eight games for Morrison since being picked up on waivers Mar. 4 from the Anaheim Ducks. Morrison has always had enjoyed offensive success against the Flames with 18 goals in 48 career games against Calgary.
In his home ice debut, Calgary's Olli Jokinen had a few dangerous chances but did not pick up a point. Jokinen had six goals and two assists in his three previous games to earn NHL second star of the week honours for last week.
Notes: Injuries Tuesday night in Vancouver to forwards Mike Modano (lower body) and Steve Begin (upper body) created openings for Mark Parrish (head, 3 games) and Fabian Brunnstrom (shoulder, 4 games) to return from injury... Also absent for the Stars missing his first game was RW Krystofer Barch, which leaves Mike Ribeiro and Trevor Daley as the only two Stars that have played in all 71 games... Prior to the game, Jarome Iginla was awarded a silver stick to commemorative of becoming the Flames all-time leading point scorer, which happened on March 1... Langkow is one point away from 600 career points... The Flames improve to 7-0-0 in games after three or more days off.