LOS ANGELES – Miikka Kiprusoff is at his best in low-scoring games.
Kiprusoff made 36 saves and Michael Cammalleri scored on a power play in the first period of Calgary’s 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
Kiprusoff has 10 career wins in 1-0 games, and this game nearly ended that way until teammate Rene Bourque added an empty-netter with 36 seconds left.
Kiprusoff earned his 30th career shutout and fourth of the season.
“They were shooting a lot, but most of their shots I saw them and our ‘D’ took care of the rest,” Kiprusoff said. “We knew they wanted to do that – shoot a lot – and I think we were ready and I saw most of the shots.”
The Northwest Division-leading Flames, 3-0-0 against Los Angeles this season, stopped the Kings’ four-game winning streak with only their second victory in seven games.
“We have to win some hockey games on the road because our schedule favours road games from here on in, but if we get efforts like we did tonight, we’ll find a way to win on the road,” Flames coach Mike Keenan said. “It’s not always the best looking game, but that’s what you have to do in this league.”
Cammalleri scored his team-leading 29th goal at 8:58 of the first against his former team. Todd Bertuzzi’s pass across the crease found Cammalleri waiting on the right side and he swiped it in.
“Todd made a pretty exceptional pass. He put the puck on his backhand and then made a saucer pass that landed pretty much on my tape and I just had to put it in,” said Cammalleri, who was roundly booed by fans who saw him play his first five seasons in Los Angeles.
“I think people in L.A. don’t understand the fact that I got traded,” Cammalleri said. “I didn’t leave. There is a difference.”
Bourque scored his 19th goal after Los Angeles pulled goalie Jonathan Quick for an extra attacker with 1:10 remaining in the third. Bourque caught up to a pass out in front of him and poked the puck across the goal line in front of a lone defender.
“We left him out to dry again tonight,” Cammalleri said about Kiprusoff. “We have to be better. We can’t put that much pressure on our goaltender but it just shows you how good he actually is.”
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla’s goal-scoring drought extended to six games. He has just two goals in his last 19 games.
The Kings were 0-for-6 on the power play and outshot Calgary 36-20. Of the Kings’ 20 players, all but Peter Harrold had a shot. Quick made 18 saves.
“Those are games you have to find a way to win,” first-year Kings coach Terry Murray said. “You’re making a push for the playoffs and a win puts you one point over that threshold.”
Los Angeles was 7-1-0 in its previous eight games, but lost for the eighth time in 11 games at Staples Center. The Kings were shut out for the first time since a 4-0 loss against Detroit on Jan. 15.
“We played a fairly solid game coming back home against a tough team,” Kings centre Jarret Stoll said. “We outplayed them for a good portion of the game.”
The Flames played solid defence in front of Kiprusoff, staving off a 5-on-3 for 1:54 in the third period after Craig Conroy was sent off for hooking and Robyn Regehr joined him for a delay-of-game penalty.
“When you have a goalie as good as Kiprusoff, you got to make life more difficult for him,” Murray said. “When he’s on, he’s one of the best. That’s where we got to get dirtier and uglier.”
Matt Greene’s slap shot from the right side bounced off the right leg of Kiprusoff, who came out of the crease to make the save at 10:23, ending one of the Kings’ best scoring chances in the third.
Notes: Kings C Derek Armstrong was a healthy scratch, while D Denis Gauthier sat out the fifth and final game of his suspension for a hit on Montreal’s Josh Gorges on Jan. 31. … The Flames improved to 99-77-24 in the 200th meeting between the teams. … Canadian crooner Michael Buble took in the game.