Flames 1, Maple Leafs 0

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—The free-flowing NHL hasn’t quite made its way to Calgary where defense is still the name of the game for the defending Western Conference champions.

Tony Amonte scored the only goal and Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves for his NHL-leading and franchise-record sixth shutout of the season Friday night as the Flames beat Toronto 1-0 and snapped the Maple Leafs’ six-game winning streak.

“That’s telling of how our team plays, we’ve been doing a good job in our end all season,” said Kiprusoff, who topped the Flames record of five shutouts shared by Dan Bouchard, Fred Brathwaite, Roman Turek, and Phil Myre.

Amonte’s 11th goal of the season came on a deflection at 4:24 of the second period on a harmless-looking play. After keeping the puck in at the Toronto blue line, Robyn Regehr sent a bouncing backhander toward the net that Amonte redirected past Ed Belfour.

“It was just a desperation move to get the puck down to the net and it was fortunate that it went off Amonte,” Regehr said.

Belfour, who also made 27 saves, said it was a goal he wished he could take back.

“It looked like it changed directions a little bit but I just didn’t get a good look at it,” he said.

That was enough for Kiprusoff, who earned his sixth win in a row and league-best 22nd of the season.

Kiprusoff was especially sharp in the third period, making 11 saves, as Toronto generated a number of good scoring opportunities.

In the final seconds with the Leafs buzzing in the Calgary zone, Darcy Tucker had a great opportunity but fanned on Jason Allison’s cross-ice pass from 20 feet out.

“That was a sure goal,” a dejected Tucker said.

Tucker may have aggravated his nagging rib injury in the process. He laid on the ice for a couple of minutes before being helped to the dressing room after the final buzzer.

The Flames (25-12-4) wrapped up a five-game homestand with four straight wins, leaving them within three points of Western Conference-leading Detroit.

Calgary also widened its lead atop the Northwest Division to four points over the Edmonton Oilers, who will host the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. The Flames head to Vancouver to begin a four-game road trip on Saturday.

It’s only the second time Toronto has been shut out this season. The other was an 8-0 loss to Ottawa on Oct. 29.

“You keep thinking you have to fight all the way to the end and maybe you will get your chance to score,” Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. “Our guys did try right to the last whistle and that’s what you have to do in this league to get anything and tonight we didn’t get it.”

Calgary went 0-for-6 on the power play. Toronto was 0-for-5.

Many of the Maple Leafs’ best chances came with the extra man.

In one sequence near the end of the second period, a pass back to Bryan McCabe was one-timed by the NHL’s top scoring defenseman but the hard shot from 40 feet was stopped by an alert Kiprusoff as he came across.

“They use (McCabe) a lot and he has a great shot so he is one of the key guys when they’re on the power play so I was keeping an eye on what he was doing,” Kiprusoff said. “Our defense did a good job letting me see so it was easy for me to play a little more out on him.”

Belfour was steady for the Leafs and made a highlight-reel save in the third period when he stuck out a pad to rob Steven Reinprecht on a pretty 2-on-1 rush with Amonte.

“Both goaltenders stole the show tonight,” Toronto forward Tie Domi said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t get a goal or two for Eddie.”

Notes

Second behind Kiprusoff in shutouts are Dominik Hasek, Marty Turco, and Manny Legace, who each have three. … With C Byron Ritchie (knee) and LW Marcus Nilson (head) both injured on Monday, Calgary welcomed back to its lineup three regulars who had been sidelined—C Stephane Yelle (ankle, 8 games), Amonte (ribs, 2 games), and D Rhett Warrener (ribs, 3 games). … Toronto also got one of its injured players back with C Jason Allison returning after missing four games with a finger injury. … Calgary plays nine of its next 11 on the road.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
T. Amonte T. Amonte
Calgary Flames
Scored at 4:24 of 2nd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Miikka Kiprusoff Cgy 27 27