Chimera's gritty work around net snuffs Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:59 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Loose pucks aren't often found around Miikka Kiprusoff's net.

The Columbus Blue Jackets managed to find a couple, then slip them past the star goaltender last night to come away with a 3-2 upset over the visiting Calgary Flames in front of 17,041 fans at Nationwide Arena.

With the game tied

2-2 in the dying minutes, Jason Chimera took advantage of a rare opportunity when Kiprusoff lost track of the puck on Trevor Letowski's backhanded pass to the crease.

It got caught up in Kiprusoff's pads and Chimera got a gift of a game-winner when he pounced on the loose puck and pushed it into the open side with 2:47 to play.

"Most of the time I stop those passes," said Kiprusoff. "It was a pretty good spot to put the puck. I kind of lost the puck a little bit and there was somebody there to put it in. It was a pretty nice play."

Chimera was surprised but happy to see the puck awaiting him.

"I just kind of batted it home," he said.

"It was nice to see the puck just laying there for you."

The winning goal was the first lead held by Columbus, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

The Flames powerplay, successful on three of six attempts a night earlier in St. Louis, struck again in the opening minutes.

Chuck Kobasew netted his 19th goal of the season on a tip in front of Marc Denis at 1:41, redirecting Robyn Regehr's point shot past the Blue Jackets goaltender.

It was the first shot of the game and the Flames' only one until Tony Amonte sent one Denis' way at the midway point of the period.

Jarome Iginla hit the post on his opening shift but couldn't get his stick on the puck with authority for the rest of the way.

Jackets star Rick Nash was stymied by the Flames and Kiprusoff, who made his second start in as many nights after a relatively light workload in St. Louis.

But the talented young forward showed a little defensive skill in the second period when he pokechecked the puck away from Daymond Langkow, who managed to get loose for a shorthanded breakaway run just after the Jackets tied the game 1-1 on Manny Malhotra's chip shot.

During four-on-four action, Regehr knocked down a long pass with his glove. A rushing Malhotra poked the loose puck past the Flames blueliner and then flipped it over Kiprusoff's shoulder on the glove side while diving forward. Regehr regrets the way he played the puck on the play.

"We made some mistakes to let them back in the game and they took advantage of it.

I made a mistake there on that high flipper," said Regehr. "I should have just swatted it out instead of trying to make a play."

Kiprusoff also said he thought he had a chance to break up the play.

"The puck was bouncing. I think I had time to come out and play it but I was a little bit surprised."

Calgary reclaimed the lead a few minutes later with its second successful deflection of the night. This time, Langkow got his stick on a Dion Phaneuf offering, tipping it five-hole on Denis.

Again, the Blue Jackets battled back when Nikolai Zherdev, covered by Cale Hulse in the crease, swatted in his 26th of the season after Adam Foote's soft shot from the point got away from Kiprusoff.

"It's tough," said Kiprusoff.

"We had our chances to win tonight but they were a little bit better."

- - -

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS: 3

CALGARY FLAMES: 2


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