Detroit still leads the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series 2-1 heading into Thursday’s Game 4 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. But after getting badly outplayed in the opening two games of the series in Detroit, the Flames regained some confidence with the victory and maintained their reputation of being tough to beat in their own arena.
Jarome Iginla scored the game-winner at 9:21 of the third period. Matthew Lombardi and defenceman Mark Giordano scored power-play goals.
Kris Draper scored twice for Detroit and Daniel Cleary had two assists.
The fire alarm at the Saddledome went off five minutes into the third period, but no one in the sold-out building was about to leave with the score 2-2.
Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff got far better support from his defence than he did in the first two games at the Joe Louis Arena, where he faced 97 shots.
He stopped 28 shots for the win while Detroit counterpart Dominik Hasek made 25 saves.
Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi appeared in first playoff game since May 8, 2003, with the Vancouver Canucks. He was suspended prior to the 2004 post-season because of his hit on Colorado’s Steve Moore.
The big forward, who had sat out the three previous games with a concussion, had regular work on Detroit’s power play and Detroit’s fourth line. He was booed when he touched the puck.
Calgary’s defence was better Tuesday, limiting shots on their goalie to 30 and not allowing the Wings to slip behind them as easily as they had in Detroit.
“I thought we were a lot more resilient all the way around,” said Iginla. “This was by far our biggest game of the year.”
The Flames also weren’t in the penalty box as much as they were in Detroit, although they did have to kill off a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Wayne Primeau early in the first period.
Iginla was much criticized for mustering only two shots on goal in the first two games of the series. He hit the post during a Calgary power-play with about six minutes left in the first period.
“I was due, wasn’t I?” said Iginla. “I definitly felt I was due.”
But he redeemed himself with the game-winner in the third. The Flames’ captain streaked down the wing, got a step on Detroit captain Niklas Lidstrom and wired a shot over Hasek’s shoulder.
Giordano scored in his NHL playoff debut with a power-play goal at 4:43 of the second period that deadlocked the game 2-2. His shot from above the faceoff circle beat a screened Hasek stick side.
Draper’s second of the game 39 seconds into the period was due to some hard work by Cleary. Cleary sent Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf flying into the corner and lost his helmet in the process, but recovered the puck behind the goal-line and sent it out to Draper in front of the net to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
Calgary led for the first time in the series on Lombardi’s power-play goal at 9:20 of the second period, but Draper evened it up just over two minutes later.
Draper got his stick on a rebound off a sharp-angled shot by Cleary to beat Kiprusoff stick side at 11:30 of the second period.
Lombardi and Alex Tanguay combined on a give-and-go at 9:20 of the second. Lombardi drove the net and deflected Tanguay’s centring pass by Hasek.
Notes – Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr (knee) was a scratch. Playfair hopes to have him in the lineup in Thursday’s Game 4. Giordano took Regehr’s place in the lineup . . . . Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener gushed blood from his mouth at the end of the first period when he was struck in the face by the puck on a Henrik Zetterberg shot. Warrener returned to the ice midway through the second period . . . A pane of glass behind Kiprusoff was dislodged with 10 seconds left in the second period, so the 10 was added to the third.