SUN Hockey Pool

Flames tame Wild

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

ST. PAUL -- What a difference a day makes.

The Calgary Flames were a much better team yesterday than the one which lost an ugly game in Nashville the night before.

Against the Minnesota Wild, they were physical, aggressive, got spectacular goaltending and appeared more determined than they have been since signs of their slump began on the West Coast earlier this month.

It paid off with a hard-fought 3-2 shootout victory, thanks to showdown goals from Kristian Huselius and Jarome Iginla and a perfect showing by Miikka Kiprusoff.

"Everyone realized that we had to make lots of changes and do it quickly," said Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr, who helped keep Wild sniper Marian Gaborik in check at even strength.

Ending their skid of four losses -- the most recent a 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Nashville Predators -- the Flames crept into a tie with the Vancouver Canucks in second spot in the Northwest Division. But the win didn't come without its tense moments.

A controversial powerplay goal from Brent Burns put the Wild on even ground late in the second period. Branko Radivojevic was running interference on the play, as Regehr tried to fend him off.

Then Huselius knocked a puck out of mid-air and past Backstrom, but the goal was waved off because the whistle was blown prematurely.

"We showed a lot of composure there in the second," said Iginla. "There were a couple of difficult plays we didn't agree with. On the goal they got, then right after -- same shift -- we have a goal that ... unfortunately the whistle blew.

"We stayed focused, and we hung in there."

Regehr had the best view of the bump Kiprusoff took from Radevojevic that kept the netminder from getting in position for Burns' blast.

"He jumped on him. I think the referees, when they see that, will realize that they made a mistake there," said Regehr. "He wasn't pushed at all. He was the reason that goal went in."

David Moss gave the Flames a 1-0 lead, and Huselius made it 2-1 early in the third when he lifted a juicy rebound from a Dion Phaneuf blast into an empty net. But the Wild got a second powerplay goal to even things up, when Kurtis Foster scored through a screen.

Those were tough goals in a strong game from Kiprusoff, who stopped 29 shots and two more in the shootout.

In the showdown, Huselius got things started with a great multi-move deke, then Kiprusoff denied Mikko Koivu.

Iginla clinched it with a snapshot that beat Backstrom and banked in off the post.

"We were all digging in and doing whatever we could to make it go our way," said Iginla. "We were playing hard -- every one of us."

That was the difference.


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