Flames clinch postseason berth, edge Stars

DALLAS (AP) — With a playoff spot assured, the Calgary Flames
now have their sights set on loftier goals.

Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves, Craig Conroy scored the go-ahead
goal and the Calgary Flames clinched a playoff spot with a 2-1
victory over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.

The Flames can focus on gaining home-ice advantage in the first
round of the playoffs. Calgary took a one-point lead over
Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead, with the Canucks
playing Anaheim later Thursday.

“Making the playoffs is just a step on the way to another one,”
said Calgary’s Jarome Iginla, who scored his 33rd goal. “We
didn’t even talk about it afterward. I’m sure we’ll talk about
it on the bus, but our goal is more than that.”

The Flames will make their fifth consecutive postseason
appearance despite dropping eight of their last 13 games.

Before this recent slide, Calgary had a 10-point lead over
Vancouver in Northwest on March 6. The Canucks and the Flames
play each other Tuesday night in Vancouver.

“It’s a huge win for us,” Calgary left wing Eric Nystrom said.
“We want to get the ball rolling and build off the good things
we did.”

Rookie Fabian Brunnstrom had a goal, and Marty Turco stopped 22
shots for Dallas.

Dallas has dropped eight of nine. With four games left, the
Stars are likely to miss the playoffs for the first time since

While still mathematically alive, Dallas would have to climb
past four teams to finish eighth in the Western Conference.

“You have to keep pushing every day,” Stars coach Dave Tippett
said. “You have to will yourself until someone tells you it’s

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Conroy deflected Dion Phaneuf’s shot from the slot past Turco to
give the Flames a 2-1 lead with 7:39 left in the second period.
After giving up an early goal, Kiprusoff secured the win by
turning away two power plays and stopping 10 shots in the third.

“He’s one of the best,” Dallas’ Mike Modano said of Kiprusoff.
“He’s very established and we didn’t get much in terms of
quality chances.”

The Flames were short a defenseman after Robyn Regehr left early
with a lower body injury. Calgary coach Mike Keenan said Regehr
is day to day.

“Injuries are part of the game,” Calgary defenseman Jordan
Leopold said. “This isn’t the time of year when you want them.
But we’ve got depth for a reason.”

The Stars, who snapped a seven-game skid Tuesday night against
Los Angeles, took the early lead on Brunnstrom’s 14th goal. The
rookie scored on a back-hander at 3:02 of the first.

Iginla hit the right post with his shot and the puck deflected
off the back of Turco’s skate and just crossed the goal line to
tie it at 10:40.

Notes: Eight players were scratched from the Dallas lineup,
including D Trevor Daley (lower body), D Stephane Robidas (lower
body) and C Brian Sutherby (lower body). … The Flames were
0-for-2 on the power play. Calgary has not scored in its last 19
chances with a man advantage over five games. … Dallas will
play its final home game of the season Saturday against St.