CALGARY – With Michael Cammalleri still packing his bags on the other side of the continent, another one of Jay Feaster’s new acquisitions had to help the Calgary Flames with their playoff push.
Blair Jones, acquired six days ago, scored his first goal in a Flames uniform in overtime and Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves as Calgary beat the Anaheim Ducks 1-0 Thursday night.
Kiprusoff improved to 20-14-2 on the season and earns his third shutout of the season and 43rd of his career, tying him for 27th on the all-time list with Lorne (Gump) Worsley.
With neither team able to score in the third period either, the teams went to extra time where Jones hopped on a rebound of his own shot and flipped a shot over Jonas Hiller at 1:51.
“(Mark) Giordano made a nice drop pass and I just followed up my shot and it went in, I’m happy to see it go in, for sure,” said Jones, who was playing in his third game with the Flames since he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 6 in exchange for minor league defenceman Brendan Mikkelson.
“He’’ been good on the draws in the first few games, he’s been hitting, he’s been playing hard, and that’s pretty cool to get your first goal that way, an overtime goal in a 1-0 game, that’s memorable,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
Feaster confirmed in a first-period press conference that he had re-acquired Cammalleri, who led the Flames with 39 goals in 2008-09. Forward Rene Bourque, who was serving the fourth game of a five-game suspension, was the key player sent to Montreal in the Cammalleri deal.
The current Flames lineup, missing seven players to injury right now including Alex Tanguay, could have used Cammalleri’s offensive prowess on Thursday. They had a paltry six shots through the game’s first 40 minutes before turning it on and generating 13 shots over third period and overtime.
“Our confidence is growing here and as the third period went on, our fans started sensing it, started giving us that little bit of a push,” said Iginla. “We need to win our home games, that’s what has given us a chance to stay in the playoff hunt.”
Winners of three in a row overall, the Flames (21-19-5) are sizzling at the Scotiabank Saddledome where they’ve won eight straight and are 10-0-1 in their last 11.
Anaheim (13-22-7) had its three-game winning streak snapped.
“It’s a game of inches and it could have gone either way, but we didn’t win it. We got a point, but at this stage of the game, I think we need two,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau.
Anaheim has dominated Calgary for the past dozen years having lost to the Flames only once in regulation in the past 25 games (20-1-4), dating back to March 1999.
However, Anaheim couldn’t solve Kiprusoff despite holding an edge in shots.
“Kipper made some huge saves when they had some chances in the third,” said Iginla.
The Flames defence was bolstered by the return of Giordano, playing in first game after missing 21 with a hamstring injury. The assistant captain had not played since Nov. 29.
A video review was required on two Anaheim scoring chances.
The puck crossed the goal-line at 18:02 of the first period, but on-ice officials said the shot by George Parros was intentionally kicked in by Rod Pelley as he drove to the net. A review confirmed the ruling.
Halfway through the third period Saku Koivu sent a pass over to former Flames winger Niklas Hagman. Kiprusoff jabbed out his pad to stop it, but momentum carried Kiprusoff into the net and there was question whether the puck crossed the line. A review showed the puck stayed out.
“We were able to keep them under 15 shots until the final 10 minutes of the third period so defensively we did a lot of good things, but obviously we need to get more pucks in the net,” said Koivu. “Tonight, we played well enough to get two points but we got one. When you look at the situation where we are, in games like this, we can’t afford to lose that one point, we have to get the extra one.”
Hiller made 18 saves in a surprise start for the Ducks. Earlier in the day, Boudreau said Jeff Deslauriers was going to play against the Flames with Hiller to start against Edmonton on Friday night.
Notes: It was Calgary’s first game againsta Pacific Division opponent. Four of the Flames next five games are also against the Pacific Division… The Flames record for most consecutive wins at home is 10, which was set Nov. 7 – Dec. 12, 2006… Calgary D Chris Butler played in career game No. 200… It was career win No. 296 for Kiprusoff, which ties him with Ron Hextall for 27th on the all-time list… Anaheim is 1-16-3 when giving up the first goal… Boudreau is 7-9-3 since taking over as Ducks coach on Nov. 30.