Flames, Kiprusoff stifle Canadiens
When you have a goalie like Miikka Kiprusoff, sometimes one goal is all you need.
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla provided the only offence, and the Flames rode Kiprusoff and their crushing defence the rest of the way as they shut down the hometown Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Tuesday night.
"It's always nice," Kiprusoff said of a shutout. "It says a lot about how your team plays in front of you, too."
The red-hot Iginla, who was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday, scored just six minutes into the game. He fired a shot at the top of the circle past goalie Jaroslav Halak for his ninth of the season and fifth goal in the last four games.
"It's a good spot to shoot from, lots of things can happen," Iginla said. "It was a quick give-and-go and we just got them turning a little bit."
The Flames' tight defence smothered the Habs for the rest of the contest, and when Montreal did get chances, Kiprusoff was there to bail his team out.
Calgary (11-4-1) won its fourth straight game, and it was the team's first victory in Montreal since Dec. 13, 2000.
Kiprusoff turned away 25 shots to get his 31st career shutout.
Jaroslav Halak was almost as good in the other crease, that one Iginla goal being his only blemish in the contest.
The Slovak netminder was in the net for the first time since Halloween after dealing with a groin injury and looked no worse for wear as he turned away 30-of-31 shots.
"It's tough but sometimes it happens in hockey," Halak said. "You just have to find a way to score a goal."
Montreal (8-10-0) just couldn't do that, as the Canadiens continued to struggle mightily at the other end of the ice. The Habs have scored only one goal while dropping their last two games.
The two squads have completed their season series, with the Flames winning both contests.
Kipper stops former teammate
Former Flame-turned-Hab Mike Cammalleri was fairly quiet in his first game against his former squad but had one of Montreal's best chances to score when he danced around a Calgary defender and was stopped one-on-one against Kiprusoff four minutes into the final frame.
"It's frustrating. We can't put a goal on the board," he said.
That was one of the few moments that brought the comatose Bell Centre around, as the stifling Calgary defence kept the normally raucous sold-out crowd of 21,273 silent for most of the game.
Halak was very sharp in the first few minutes as the Flames stormed out of the gate, but he couldn't cool down the red-hot Iginla when the Edmonton native fired his shot by the Habs netminder at 14:55.
In the second, it was Kiprusoff's turn to shine, especially on a 4-on-4 at the eight-minute mark of the period.
The Finn was fortunate when Scott Gomez lost the handle on a puck during a breakaway, then sprawled to turn away shots from Brian Gionta and Marc-Andre Bergeron moments later.
"Oh yeah, [Gomez] had me big time," Kiprusoff said. "I was lucky there."
Kipper picked up where he left off in the third, making a big blocker save on Andrei Kostitsyn four minutes in, then stoned former teammate Cammalleri on his short breakaway a few seconds later.
Halak also did his best to keep the Habs in the game, stopping Rene Bourque on a breakaway eight minutes into the third as Bourque was hauled down by Josh Gorges and making several more saves on the ensuing Flames power play.
But Calgary shut Montreal down for the rest of the frame, and when the Canadiens' Josh Gorges took a hooking penalty with a little over two minutes left, it was all but over.
The Canadiens wore jerseys commemorating the team's 1910-11 season as part of their continuing centennial celebrations.
The Flames continue a three-game road trip Friday in Buffalo and Saturday in Toronto. Montreal heads to Phoenix on Thursday and Nashville on Saturday.
With files from The Canadian Press