Iginla scored twice and Kiprusoff stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the season, leading the Flames to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night.
With Calgary ahead 1-0 after two periods, Iginla increased the lead at 4:48 of the third when he tipped rookie defenseman Dion Phaneuf’s wrist shot from the blue line out of the air and into the net. He sealed the victory with his seventh goal of the season, an empty-netter with 23 seconds remaining.
After a slow start, Iginla has goals in four consecutive games and points in seven straight (five goals, three assists).
“Winning at home and scoring, it always feels good,” he said, “especially with the importance of this game.”
Phaneuf also scored for Calgary (5-7-2), which opened a four-game homestand and a stretch of 10 home games in its next 12. The Flames lost four of their previous five.
“We knew it was a big game. Minnesota’s one of the hardest-working teams in the league and we had to come out with a big start to the homestand,” Phaneuf said.
Minnesota (6-5-2) began a four-game road trip with its fourth loss in five games (1-3-1).
“It was a frustrating one for us,” goalie Manny Fernandez said. “They got a goal in the first and we had a couple good shots after that but we needed a goal to refuel our tanks and it just never came.”
Tested only a dozen times over the opening 40 minutes of his ninth career shutout, Kiprusoff was much busier in the third period. He made 11 saves as three straight Calgary minors helped the Wild generate several scoring chances.
“We were able to come back in the third and get some pressure on the power play, but overall we didn’t create as much as we would have liked against Kiprusoff,” Todd White said. “We need to do a better job of getting more traffic in front of him and making it more difficult for him.”
Phaneuf opened the scoring with 40 seconds left in the first period on a power-play. Roman Hamrlik’s pass back to the blue line was gathered in by Phaneuf who quickly directed a harmless looking low shot toward the net that ended up eluding Fernandez.
That gave Calgary a lead after the first period for just the third time in 14 games, and a visibly frustrated Fernandez broke his stick across the goal post.
“I knew it was going to be a tight 0-0 or 1-0 game and I didn’t want to make that one mistake and I felt I should have had that one and I didn’t,” he said.
The goal also marked the seventh straight game with a power-play score for the Flames, who are 9-for-47 with the man advantage during that stretch—a significant improvement over their feeble 3-for-45 mark through the first seven games.
“Dion and Hammer and all our defensemen have really started quarterbacking the power play and they’re controlling the puck and we’re getting good results because of their confidence,” Iginla said.
“You’re thinking about nothing other than swing harder, swing faster, and hopefully you don’t get hit,” Amonte said.
While Calgary got RW Darren McCarty back after missing four games with a sore neck, LW Chris Simon missed his second game due to a rib injury. … Minnesota D Filip Kuba has taken over from D Alex Henry as captain for November in the Wild’s ongoing rotating captaincy. … Calgary’s Jordan Leopold, who led Flames defensemen in scoring with 33 points in 2003-04, has been held without a point through the first 14 games. … Calgary has yet to score more than three goals in a game.