CALGARY – Miikka Kiprusoff had a lot of help getting his fourth shutout of the season.
Sure, the Calgary goaltender made 33 saves, but his teammates combined for 30 more blocked shots as Flames won its their in a row, 2-0 over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday.
“Guys are paying the price and that’s what you have to do if you want to win games like this,” said Kiprusoff, whose shutout was his first since Nov. 30. “If you block a shot, there’s not going to be a rebound and there’s no scoring chance.”
Mark Giordano led the way with six blocks followed by Cory Sarich with five and Jay Bouwmeester with four.
“We had some great efforts from guys blocking shots but Kipper deserves a lot of credit for this win,” said Jamal Mayers, who scored the game-winning goal early in the first. “Kipper made some huge saves and kept us in the game when we weren’t playing very well.”
Calgary came into the game on an offensive tear with 14 goals in its previous three games. It looked like that trend would continue when Mayers scored on the first shot of the game at 5:29 of the first period.
Curtis Glencross won a race to a loose puck behind the net and slid a pass out front to Mayers, who snapped a shot under the crossbar.
It was the third goal of the season for Mayers and first in 12 games since joining the Flames Jan. 31 from Toronto as part of the multi-player deal that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Maple Leafs.
That would be all the support Kiprusoff would need in improving to 30-20-9.
Christopher Higgins also scored for Calgary (34-24-9). The Flames win consecutive games on home ice for the first time since a three-game winning streak at the Pengrowth Saddledome Dec. 30 to Jan. 2.
The Flames pull even in points with Nashville for seventh place in the Western Conference, one point up on the Detroit Red Wings.
After a red-hot stretch in which Ottawa (37-26-5) won 14 of 16 games, the Senators are 1-3-1 in their last five.
“It’s always a concern when you don’t score, of course, but I’m not going to criticize any of our effort,” said Ottawa coach Cory Clouston. “We had the chances, we had the opportunities. (Peter) Regin hit a post, (Matt) Cullen hit a post, we had a goal disallowed. Sometimes those things happen.”
Ottawa wraps up its three game Western Canada road trip Saturday night in Vancouver against the Northwest Division-leading Canucks.
After combining for eight shots in the first period, play opened up in the second period as each team racked up a dozen shots on goal.
Regin had Ottawa’s best scoring chance on a power play, but he fired a one-timer off the crossbar and into the safety netting.
Regin was left shaking his head again in the third period when Ryan Shannon’s rebound landed on his stick, but with Kiprusoff down and the net open, Regin rang a shot off the crossbar.
Afterwards, he stood beside the Flames net in disbelief.
“I was disappointed. I didn’t know what to do,” said Regin. “In the second, I had a shot go off the crossbar too. Some nights, you feel like you have a goal in you. I had that feeling tonight but it didn’t work out.”
Just over a minute later, Higgins buried a one-timer past Elliott after a neat cross-ice set up from Ian White and the Flames took a 2-0 lead.
“I don’t want to take it on my shoulders but obviously I could have changed the game there,” said Regin.
Ottawa finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play while Calgary was 0-for-3.
The night got off to a weird start on a couple of fronts.
A pane of glass in the Ottawa end shattered during the pre-game warm-up and difficulties replacing the glass resulted in the start of the game being delayed by 30 minutes.
Once the game finally got going, both teams struggled to generate scoring chances with Mayers’ goal the only shot on goal through the first 10 minutes.
“I think that delay hurt both teams,” said Higgins. “It was a bit of a strange game, not a lot of good play on either side but Kiprusoff played really well when he had to and stole the show. It was his win tonight.”
Ottawa did get one puck past Kiprusoff, but it was ruled that Milan Michalek’s stick was too high when he deflected Erik Karlsson’s shot into the net in the first period.
Elliott had 25 saves as his record fell to 23-15-3.
Notes: Ottawa C Chris Kelly (lower body) missed his first game of the year… In 12 games since White was acquired from Toronto and paired with Robyn Regehr on defence, both Regehr and White are plus-10. While playing mainly with Dion Phaneuf, Regehr was even through the season’s first 55 games… Only once in franchise history have the Flames finished with more points on the road then at home. In 2000-01, Calgary had 38 road points versus 35 home points. The Flames currently have 40 road points compared to 37 home points with nine of Calgary’s final 15 games on the road… Chris Phillips, Matt Carkner and Jarkko Ruutu are the only remaining Senators to have played in every game.