SUNRISE, Fla. – The Calgary Flames got big contributions from some new players, while Florida Panthers coach Peter DeBoer seems anxious to make some changes.
Ales Kotalik and Mark Giordano scored, and Mikka Kiprusoff made 12 saves in the Flames’ 2-1 victory over the Panthers on Friday night.
It was Kotalik’s first goal for the Flames since joining the team Sunday in a trade with the New York Rangers. Jay Bouwmeester and Niklas Hagman, both former Panthers, were credited with assists on the play. Defenceman Ian White, also acquired Sunday from Toronto, had an assist on Girodano’s goal. Hagman also came to Calgary from Toronto.
“With the new guys, it was an understanding of what they had to do and I thought they went out there and contributed. It was a solid team win,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said.
Dennis Seidenberg scored for Florida, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 38 shots.
The Panthers had a season-low 13 shots on goal, including just two in the final period.
“It wasn’t the third period, we just got manhandled,” De Boer said. “We had 13 shots, and I think six were by defencemen. We didn’t win any puck battles. You’d think that when you’ve got some forwards that haven’t scored in 14, 15, 16 games they might want to get their noses dirty and try and get one. We weren’t interested in that tonight.”
Calgary won for just the fourth time in its past 16 games and ended a four-game road losing streak. Florida has lost three of its last four games.
DeBoer was clearly frustrated with his team’s anemic offence, especially from the forwards, who only managed six shots.
“Our forwards have to get grittier and have to realize they’ve got to pay a price to score in this league and right now we don’t have enough guys that are interested in doing that,” De Boer said. “If it was one or two you could sit guys out but we’ve got lines of guys that haven’t scored in 15 games. It’s tough. The only way to fix that is through free agency in the summer.”
Fatigue seems to be taking a toll on the Panthers.
“We spent too much time in our zone and by the time we got it in their zone we didn’t have enough energy to do anything in there,” Panthers centre Stephen Weiss said. “We were just too tired to sustain anything down there.”
Calgary took a 2-1 lead on Giordano’s power-play goal with 2:42 left in the second period. The Flames won a faceoff in the Panthers’ end and Giordano’s shot from the right point got cleanly past Vokoun, who was screened on the play.
Calgary opened the scoring with 10 seconds left in the first period. On a power play, Kotalik passed across the crease toward Matt Stajan at the side of the net. The puck glanced off a Panthers players’ skate and into the net to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
“It doesn’t matter (how it looks), it still counts when it goes in,” Kotalik said. “You create an opportunity around the net and sometimes it isn’t pretty.”
The Panthers tied it 1:20 into the second period on a power-play goal by Seidenberg, his second of the season. Seidenberg got a rebound at the right circle and put a wrist shot past Kiprusoff’s glove side.
Bouwmeester returned to the Panthers’ home ice for the first time since playing his final game there on April 11. Bouwmeester, who played with the Panthers since 2002, was traded to Calgary on June 27 and signed a five-year deal with them. Friday’s game marked the 400th consecutive game for Bouwmeester, who was booed by the Florida crowd every time he touched the puck in the opening period.
“I’ve been booed in here before so it’s not the first time,” Bouwmeester said. “It does feel good to get a win here, but it wasn’t the opponent as much as it was the fact that we got a big road win.”
NOTES: Calgary captain Jarome Iginla played his 1,000th game, and teammate Daymond Langkow played in No. 999. … The game was the only meeting between the two teams this season.