It's a done deal!

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

The Calgary Flames are the best in the Northwest.

And it came at the expense of the club that had perennially held that distinction.

Not even an avalanche -- make that the Colorado Avalanche -- could prevent the Flames from finishing their climb to the top of the Northwest Division mountain.

Thanks to a 2-0 victory in their home finale last night, Calgary claimed its first division title since 1994-95.

Talk about something the 19,289 fans at the Saddledome could truly enjoy in return for the prizes doled out in Fan Appreciation night.

Those long, disappointing seasons between division titles, including the seven campaigns without playoffs, were washed away for the faithful and captain Jarome Iginla.

"I'm very, very thankful to be here now," Iginla said. "During some of the lean years, when we were rebuilding, there were some tough times. And there were some tough times at this part of the year, when you're getting ready to pack up your things, you feel like you failed.

"It's a pretty cool feeling to see the crowd and the energy in the building. I'm happy I got to see this side of it, too."

Calgary clinched the third playoff berth in the Western Conference and will have home-ice advantage in the opening round when the playoffs begin a week from today.

The buzz of potentially claiming a banner was obvious from the drop of the puck and the Flames used their trademark hard-checking, strong defensive play to do the job against an Avalanche squad that was the last division rival with a chance to unseat them.

"It's exciting," said Calgary right-winger Shean Donovan, displaying his gap-toothed grin. "We still have two games in California but it's awesome to win it against the Colorado Avalanche, and in Calgary Flames fashion -- gritty, low-scoring game where Kipper stood on his head -- is fitting."

Dion Phaneuf, becoming just the third defenceman in NHL history to crack the 20-goal mark in his rookie season, and Tony Amonte were the offensive stars but it's obvious to all the game hero, as usual, was goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

En route to a 23-save performance for his 10th shutout of the season, and second in a row, Kiprusoff was serenaded by a chants of 'MVP' and 'Kipper' which made the 'tender a bit nervous.

"Oh yeah, I was thinking they were gonna score from the redline out there," Kiprusoff said with a chuckle.

The Flames conclude the regular season with games in Los Angeles tomorrow and Anaheim Monday.

- - -

CALGARY FLAMES: 2

COLORADO AVALANCHE: 0


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