Flames pounce on Leafs' mistakes
Even the Maple Leafs were impressed by Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 41 saves in a 5-1 victory over Toronto on Tuesday night.
Toronto defenceman Dion Phaneuf wasn't surprised to see that Kiprusoff is still on top of his game.
"He played extremely well," said Phaneuf, Kiprusoff's teammate with the Flames until a blockbuster trade sent him to the Maple Leafs on Jan. 31, 2010. "He's been playing very well for them all year. He was a huge part of their win. He stood on his head, that's for sure."
Tyler Bozak, who finished with six shots, was the lone Maple Leafs player to beat Kiprusoff. The veteran goalie stopped Mikhail Grabovski six times, and Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel both had five shots.
Kiprusoff earned his 26th win of the season and the 302nd of his career, moving him into a tie for 25th place with Turk Broda on the NHL list.
Kiprusoff left the dressing room without speaking to reporters.
"He's won a Vezina," said Phaneuf, who recorded four shots. "He knows how to win games. He's one of the top goalies in the league. He's had a lot of success and he played extremely well for them."
Alex Tanguay had a goal and two assists, Paul Byron scored on a penalty shot in the second period, and Olli Jokinen, Jarome Iginla and Blake Comeau added goals for the Flames (27-22-8), who have won two straight.
"We're feeling better about the way we're playing as a line," said Tanguay, who was on a line with Jokinen and Iginla that outperformed Toronto's top trio of Bozak, Kessel and Lupul. "We feel that when we play good ... that we can be one of the top lines in the league, as well."
Calgary has gone 4-0-2 in its past six games to pull within one point of the Phoenix Coyotes for eighth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
"Every point matters now and we're trying to make up ground to get that last playoff spot," Byron said. "Tonight was a huge game for us, and I thought we played really well."
The Maple Leafs (28-23-6) have lost four straight and are clinging to eighth place in the Eastern Conference — one point ahead of Washington.
"We have to find a way to get to the front of the net and get rebounds because there were rebounds," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "We got shots through. They did a pretty good job of boxing out. It's a combination. You've got to give them credit, and we still have to find ways to win those battles in front of the net."
Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves for Toronto.
Tanguay put the Flames ahead 1-0 at 4:43 of the first period when he took a pass from Jokinen and snapped a shot over Gustavsson's blocker and into the top corner.
Jokinen made it 2-0 just 3 ½ minutes later when he one-timed a pass from Tanguay while on a 2-and-1 break.
Phaneuf tried to break up the play, but Tanguay flipped a perfect pass to a wide-open Jokinen.
Bozak got the Leafs to within a goal late in the first period when he banged in a rebound of Joffrey Lupul's shot. Bozak took two swipes at the puck before getting it past Kiprusoff.
"I thought Bozy was one of the best players out on the ice and deserved more than just a goal," Wilson said. "He was dangerous all night long."
The Flames regained their two-goal lead at 9:15 of the second when Byron was awarded a penalty shot after Phaneuf hooked him from behind on a breakaway.
"I got the penalty shot and made the most of it," Byron said. "It was a good feeling. The most important thing was getting the two-goal lead back to the team. I think we took a lot of energy from the goal."
Phaneuf admitted he made a mistake on the play.
"I got my stick caught in there," Phaneuf said. "I tried to poke it at his arm. It got stuck in there. I made the decision to hook him. It was a bad decision, but we move on."
Comeau made it 4-1 when he one-timed a pass from Michael Cammalleri past Gustavsson at 15:09 of the third period, and Iginla converted a feed from Tanguay for his 22nd goal.
The Flames have won seven consecutive home games against the Leafs. The last time Toronto won at Calgary was Dec. 27, 2002, when the Leafs edged the Flames 4-3.