CALGARY, Alberta (AP) _ Newcomers Ville Nieminen and Marcus Nilson have
wasted little time endearing themselves to their hometown fans.
Nilson scored twice, including an empty-net goal, and Nieminen snapped a tie
as the Calgary Flames beat the Ottawa Senators 4-2 Thursday night.
The two were acquired by coach and general manager Darryl Sutter in separate
trades over the past three weeks. Nieminen came from Chicago on Feb. 24 and
Nilson arrived from Florida on Monday.
Nieminen's unassisted goal at 9:16 of the third period came after Ottawa
defenseman Chris Phillips had the puck skip past him at the Ottawa blue line.
Nieminen picked up the puck at center ice and sped in alone. He cut from the
right side across the front of the net and put a high shot over sprawling
goalie Patrick Lalime.
``He's a player you love to have on your team,'' Flames assistant coach Rich
Preston said of Nieminen. ``He gets involved every shift whether it's getting
under the opponent's skin, or making a good play along the boards, or hitting
somebody. Tonight, he scored a great goal.''
Before scoring in his last game, Nieminen went 32 games without a goal.
``Two weeks ago when I got traded, I felt like I had been called up so it's
my job to bring some excitement,'' Nieminen said.
Krzysztof Oliwa also scored for the Flames, who moved back into sole
possession of sixth place in the Western Conference. Calgary is three points
behind Dallas and two points up on Los Angeles and Nashville.
``We've come a long way right now and we're so close, we've just got to keep
going to the very end,'' Oliwa said.
Marian Hossa and Martin Havlat scored for Ottawa, one point behind Boston
for the Northeast Division lead.
``They played hard, they forechecked hard, they did all the things we
expected them to do, so you have to give them credit,'' Senators defenseman
Wade Redden said. ``They were real hungry and we can probably tear a page out
of their book and maybe do the same. This is the time of year where you have to
pick it up.''
The Senators tied it 2-2 at 4:30 of the third when Hossa stripped the puck
from Denis Gauthier at the Ottawa blue line and beat Miikka Kiprusoff on a
The exciting game was played before Calgary's fifth straight capacity crowd
and 15th this season.
Oliwa brought the fans to their feet by neatly finishing off a three-on-two
rush that put Calgary ahead 2-1 at 14:56. His third goal this season came less
than a minute after Calgary failed to get a shot on goal during a four minute
It was Oliwa's second goal in three games after he scored just one in the
``We were wanting this win as we're in a battle for first place, but
tonight, they got that big goal from Oliwa and that was what put us behind the
eight-ball,'' Hossa said.
Radek Bonk returned from four weeks on the sidelines with a foot injury and
helped set up Hossa's power-play goal 1:55 into the second that tied it 1-1.
Calgary took the lead at 6:24 on Nilson's first goal with the Flames.