Flames 2, Wild 1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—As he lay flat on the ice being mobbed by his teammates, Tony Amonte could only laugh at how he ended the longest scoring drought of his NHL career.
Amonte’s flukey goal just 1:37 in opened the scoring, then he assisted on Jamie Lundmark’s winner late in the third period as the Calgary Flames escaped with a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Stuck on 12 goals since Jan. 14, Amonte—an eight-time scorer of 30 goals— finally snapped his 31-game slump when his centering pass from the corner deflected off the stick of Minnesota’s Wes Walz and into the top corner past Wild goalie Manny Fernandez.
“I was just trying to pass it to Matthew (Lombardi) and the guy stuck his stick out,” Amonte said. “You could hear the crowd right away, I knew something happened.
“To see the puck drop in the net, I got a good chuckle out of it.”
On the winning goal, Lombardi and Amonte did all the work digging behind the net. Amonte centered a pass to an open Lundmark, who blasted a shot from the slot past Fernandez with just 5:20 left.
“Tony made the great pass out to me, I just had to put it in the net,” Lundmark said.
The first-place Flames lead Edmonton by six points in the Northwest Division race and Colorado by seven.
“We did turn it on at the end a little bit but you don’t want to wait until the game’s tied to start turning it on,” Amonte said. “It was not our best effort, but we’re definitely happy to get the two points.”
The loss eliminated the Wild from the postseason chase.
“We’re just trying our best and trying to stay in hockey games with teams that are either in the playoffs or trying to get in there,” said Fernandez, who made 27 saves. “We’re definitely not going to sit it out and just wait until next year, that’s for sure.”
Lundmark had missed the previous four games after sustaining a cut near his eye in a game March 29. He wore a visor upon his return to the lineup.
“It’s a little different but I’ll get used to it,” said Lundmark, who has three goals and four assists in seven games since being acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes.
Despite the slump, Amonte has been one of the better Flames forwards recently. He had six assists in his previous eight games.
“I knew the goal was coming because the opportunities were coming,” Amonte said. “It’s nice to get it over with, no more questions now.”
Starting for the 19th time in 20 games, Miikka Kiprusoff made 21 saves to earn his 40th win of the season, breaking the previous mark of 39 set by Mike Vernon in the 1987-88 season.
“Of course, I want to win games, but I don’t think about records too much,” Kiprusoff said.
The Wild tied it at 8:31 of the third period when Brian Rolston scored his team-leading 33rd goal while Minnesota was playing short-handed.
“There’s a lot of guys here on this team that have a lot to prove, and when next year comes there will be a lot of job openings so the organization wants to see a lot from these guys,” Fernandez said.
Rookie D Mark Giordano was inserted into the Flames lineup after being recalled earlier in the day from Omaha of the AHL. … On Wednesday night, the Flames lost D Jordan Leopold (groin) and Cale Hulse (shoulder). Leopold aggravated the groin injury that sidelined him the three previous games. … RW Darren McCarty (groin/back) and C Lundmark (eye), returned to the Flames lineup after missing six and four games respectively. … Minnesota D Erik Reitz made his NHL debut. … Calgary won the season series 6-2. … Jarome Iginla is one point from tying Gary Suter for fourth place on the Flames’ career scoring list.