One special night

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:35 PM ET

A five-minute window was all the Calgary Flames needed to take control of the game.

Hanging on to a one-goal lead early in the second period, the Flames got into penalty trouble, taking three minors in a span of less than three minutes.

Against the league's second-ranked powerplay unit, no less.

But some timely goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff and a couple of key clearings by defenceman Jordan Leopold while shorthanded for 3:48 -- including a period of 1:15 when they were two men down -- turned a negative into a positive and helped the Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres at the Saddledome.

Kristian Huselius scored the insurance goal a couple of minutes later during a powerplay of their own to ice it for the Flames.

Andrew Ference, one of the guys watching from the penalty box during the five-on-three action, was relieved to see Kiprusoff and Leopold bail the team out and change the momentum.

"Five-on-three, we've been pretty good all year," said Ference. "But when you're the guy sitting in the box, it's very nice to see. It was great, it was good to watch."

Kiprusoff made a handful of great saves to help keep the Sabres off the board over that span, including a quick flash of the leather while coming across his crease to deflect Derek Roy's hard shot over the net with his glove.

Huselius' goal, the Flames' second of the night on the man advantage, capped off a great night of special teams.

"For us to get a couple of powerplay goals and to do a very good job, I think, on penalty kill was probably the difference in the game," said Ference.

It was the first time in a month the Sabres -- also the league's second best at killing penalties -- have allowed more than one goal while shorthanded.

Leopold twice got his stick on the puck and past the Sabres defenders during Buffalo's run of powerplays.

"I was in the right spot at the right time, I guess," said Leopold.

"The puck kind of just found my stick for one of them. It was a big kill and a big momentum swing for us in the second period.

"Whenever you kill a five-on-three, you normally have a little bit of momentum."

Flames assistant coach Jim Playfair said that those moments were critical.

"Huge difference in the game," said Playfair. The difference in the game."


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