CALGARY – A second-period power-play bonanza helped the Calgary Flames continue their winning ways.
Dion Phaneuf scored the tying goal then set up Mike Cammalleri’s go-ahead goal as the Flames converted two of four straight second-period power plays to beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 for their fifth win in a row.
“We were playing a team that’s been playing well defensively, not giving up a lot, and their goalie was playing well,” said Phaneuf. “On the PP, we were just trying to get pucks through with lots of traffic, and luckily they went in.”
It was at 2:29 of the second period when Calgary finally accomplished what Edmonton and Vancouver were unable to do earlier in the week – get a puck behind goaltender Tim Thomas.
Jarome Iginla’s cross-ice pass intended for Todd Bertuzzi deflected off a stick into the slot, where it was promptly slapped in by Phaneuf as he bowled his way to the net – ending Thomas’s shutout streak at 152 minutes 14 seconds.
At 18:37, the Flames took the lead for good when Cammalleri tipped in Phaneuf’s rising slapshot.
“We all know how big a role that special teams play in today’s game. If you can win that battle you’re going to have pretty good success on most nights in this league,” Cammalleri said.
Despite surrendering the two goals, Thomas still made 18 stops in a second period dominated by the Flames.
“We’re really trying to take pride in our penalty killing and we’ve done a really good job lately but when you take that many penalties that close together, eventually Calgary broke us down,” Thomas said.
Dustin Boyd added his second of the season in the third period to round out the scoring for the Flames (6-3-1), who moved into a first-place tie with Minnesota atop the Northwest Division.
Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler scored for Boston (5-3-3), which had its three-game winning streak halted.
The third goal of the season for the rookie Wheeler on pretty set-up by Milan Lucic drew the Bruins to within one with 7:44 remaining in the game.
However, they could not get the tying goal behind Miikka Kiprusoff despite several great chances. Kiprusoff caught fire in the final five minutes, turning aside a one-timer from David Krejci, jabbing out a pad to thwart Marc Savard as he cut across the front of the net, and smothering a two-footer from Chara, who was stationed alone at the top of the goal crease.
“Kipper was huge again tonight, making some huge stops, not only throughout the game, but in the last minute, a couple right in tight,” Phaneuf said. “When you have a guy like that behind you, our job is to let him see the puck and he’s doing a great job stopping it.”
Kiprusoff finished with 29 saves, including 13 in the final period. After surrendering four or more goals in each of his first four games, Kiprusoff has been brilliant during the five-game winning streak, having given up only seven goals.
“I’ve played 10 games with him now and I’m starting to already get used to it. It’s kind of fun knowing that if you make a mistake, he’ll going to bail you out,” said Cammalleri.
Thomas complimented the effort of the Bruins in the final 20 minutes.
“It’s been a lot of travel, a lot of different time zones here on this Western trip,” said Thomas, who backstopped the Bruins to consecutive 1-0 wins over the Oilers and Canucks. “I don’t want to make excuses for the guys but maybe that affected us a little bit. but We showed our character finishing up strong.”
Leading 2-1, Boyd temporarily gave Calgary a bit of breathing room. He charged down the right wing and wristed a high shot that went Thomas could only partially stop.
Boston opened the scoring at 13:07 of the first period on a misplay by Kiprusoff. While behind the net, his attempt to clear the puck to a defenceman was intercepted by Bergeron, who curled out front and wrapped in his second goal of the season.
“It was totally my mistake,” Kiprusoff said. “But shows we have a good team here, we were able to win the game even after a goal like that.”
Calgary outshot Boston 38-31.
Notes: Calgary C Wayne Primeau played in his 700th NHL game while D Robyn Regehr appeared in career game No. 600. Primeau is on his sixth NHL team while all of Regehr’s games have come as a Flame. .. Kiprusoff and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur are the only two goalies remaining that have played every minute of their team’s games. .. Calgary C Matthew Lombardi (shoulder) remains sidelined. He’s missed three games and has yet to resume skating. .. Calgary’s last five-game winning streak was Dec. 29-Jan. 5 of last season. That streak came on the heels of a six-game winning streak Dec. 9-18.