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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kiprusoff makes 32 saves, Flames blank Wild 3-0

CALGARY, Alberta -Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves and Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist to lead the Calgary Flames past the Minnesota Wild 3-0 on Monday night.

Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester opened the scoring and Niklas Hagman added an insurance goal late in the third period for the Flames, who had lost four of five at home.

That was all the offense Kiprusoff needed in his 37th career shutout and third this season.

Kiprusoff's best stop came in the second period, preserving a two-goal lead. Martin Havlat zipped a perfect pass to spring a wide-open Marek Zidlicky on a breakaway. But the Wild defenseman couldn't fool Kiprusoff as the goalie jabbed out a pad to deny Zidlicky's close-in shot.

A few minutes later, with Minnesota on a power play, Zidlicky again threatened with a hard slap shot from the top of the faceoff circle, but Kiprusoff was there to get his chest in front of the rising shot.

Minnesota has lost four of five, but usually has Calgary's number. The Wild won seven of the previous eight meetings, including three straight in Calgary.

Iginla set up Bouwmeester's goal by carrying the puck behind the net, then threading a backhand pass diagonally through the slot to the uncovered defenseman, who fired in his third goal of the season.

Bouwmeester, the NHL's current iron man at 448 consecutive games played, is enjoying a solid season. He leads the Flames in plus-minus (plus-8) and ranks fifth in the NHL in average ice time (25:49).

Iginla's 10th goal came on his own rebound. His original shot from far out deflected wide of the net, but the puck caromed off the end boards and out front for Iginla to tuck past a surprised Jose Theodore.

The Minnesota backup got the start with Niklas Backstrom having allowed 18 goals in his last three starts. Theodore finished with 28 saves.

Hagman, on a power play at 18:31 of the third, rounded out the scoring for Calgary, which was coming off a 1-2-2 Eastern road trip.

Minnesota entered the night ranked second in the NHL on the power play, but came up empty on three attempts. Calgary went 1 for 3.

The Northwest Division rivals will faceoff against each other three more times in the next three weeks, including Friday night in Minnesota.

The Flames, 14th in the Western Conference, welcome the division-leading Vancouver Canucks to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday night.

Notes: After scoring just two goals and eight points in the season's first 15 games, Iginla has eight goals and 12 points in the past nine games. ... Minnesota has only one power-play goal in its past seven games (1 for 19). ... Calgary D Mark Giordano ranks second in the league in blocked shots (64). ... Calgary RW Ales Kotalik (knee) could make his season debut as soon as this weekend. Kotalik has been skating with the team for the past week. He had three goals and two assists in four preseason games before getting injured. ... Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon, recalled Sunday from Houston (AHL), made his NHL debut. It came on his 21st birthday. ... The only other time the Wild outshot the opposition this season was Oct. 8, when they outshot Carolina 42-37.

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