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Flames win behind Kiprusoff

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- If this was the last time Calgary Flames fans see Miikka Kiprusoff live and in person, what a final sight he gave them.

Kiprusoff, the star netminder who apparently is seriously contemplating retirement after this season, made 32 saves in the Flames' 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Flames have been eliminated from playoff contention but have won four of their last five games, including consecutive outings with Kiprusoff in goal on home ice.

The announced sellout crowd of 19,289 serenaded Kiprusoff and gave him a standing ovation during the final two minutes, and he admitted it was emotional.

"It was an unbelievable feeling," Kiprusoff said. "If you look at some other Canadian cities, it can be tough times for goalies. The crowd can be tough on them, but I've been lucky. I have the feeling always they're behind me, and that's huge for the goalie."

Kiprusoff, the Flames' career leader in wins, shutouts and pretty much every other goaltender statistic, was on the mark from the drop of the puck. And his team, loaded with youngsters called up from the minors, did all it could to make his finale in the Stampede City something to celebrate.

"He's been a top one, two, three, four goalie in the world for how many years for this team, this franchise?" rhetorically asked Michael Cammalleri, who had a pair of assists. "Calgary fans are intelligent hockey people, they get it, so there's a love relationship between him and the fanbase, and rightfully so. That's the result of it. It's beautiful to see. It's a special moment for him and awesome to be a witness to it."

Roman Horak, Brian McGrattan and Roman Cervenka scored for Calgary.

"We wanted to get that win for him," McGrattan said. "We knew he was going to come out and play his best. We had to play our best in front of him and get him that win. We've got another four games to prove to the league we're going to be a team to reckon with next year."

Corey Perry replied late for the Ducks, who appear destined to win the Pacific Division and claim the second seed in the Western Conference in the playoffs, but they have dropped four straight, three of those in regulation.

"I couldn't have cared less if we were playing a midget team or the Russian National team. We needed the win," said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. "That should have been motivation enough. Other guys are thinking that they got kids and they're out of the playoffs and (Curtis) Glencross is hurt three-quarters of the way through the first; they're the guys I don't want. I don't want those guys playing because that's not the right way to think at this stage of the year."

"I think there are a lot of challenges right now," said defenseman Sheldon Souray. "We're still trying to wrap up our division. The race is getting closer so there's still a lot to play for, and if you think you can just turn it on, I think we've all seen it long enough, been around the game long enough, it doesn't just happen. You don't just flip the switch and you're the team you were in February.

"We have to get in the mindset that our playoffs have started and get our game sharpened up and dialed in because the way we're playing right now, we're not going to be playing long."

The Ducks are struggling to score, with just seven goals in five outings.

"Well, they don't have a lot of confidence," Boudreau said. "Every game we get one goal. You're not going to win a lot of games with one goal, but you've got to work to score the goals. In this league they don't just give you goals. You've got to work to score goals."

NOTES: The Flames are in the midst of an injury wave involving their veterans. Both defenseman Dennis Wideman and left winger Steve Begin suffered injuries in Wednesday's victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Then, early in Friday's game, left Glencross, the club's leading goal scorer, suffered a knee injury when hit in a dangerous fashion by Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy. ... Calgary's top farm team, the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL, will finish its season Saturday, and an airlift of up to eight players is expected to arrive in time for Sunday's game in Minnesota ... The Ducks, who have clinched a playoff spot, sat right winger Teemu Selanne and goalie Viktor Fasth, who are both dealing with slight injuries not expected to impact them come playoff time. They did get some good news regarding defenseman Cam Fowler returning to action. Defensemen Toni Lydman and Luca Sbisa are also close to returning from injury. ... The Flames signed second-round draft choice Markus Granlund, the 45th overall pick in the 2011 draft, to a three-year contract on Friday. Granlund was a force at the past world juniors, scoring five goals and collecting 12 points in six games. He also had 10 goals and 30 points with HIFK Helsinki in Finland's top league.
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