Tony award cherished

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:43 PM ET

The jubilation technique wasn't pretty.

Just like Tony Amonte's slump-ending marker.

As Amonte's goal-scoring drought grew and grew and grew, the Calgary Flames forward held out hope the much-needed tally was coming.

And as it became evident a highlight-reel, coast-to-coast thriller wasn't going to happen, the veteran figured a fluky goal would finally do it.

Mercifully, the Minnesota Wild, courtesy of captain Wes Walz, helped him out.

Amonte, the snake-bitten, hard-luck Flames forward whose last goal came Jan. 14, 32 games earlier, finally had good luck shine upon him in his team's 2-1 victory over the Wild last night.

As much of the sellout gathering of 19,289 was settling into their seats, Amonte sent a pass from the corner for Matthew Lombardi.

Walz, trying to break up the play, could only watch in horror as the puck went off his outstretched stick and past startled goalie Manny Fernandez.

Amonte, dumped on the ice as the puck crossed the line, banged his head on the surface a couple of times in relief.

"That's what I felt like doing the last 30 games," Amonte said laughing, having not seen the goal.

"You could hear right away. I knew something happened and that the puck probably went in the net. I got a good chuckle out of that laying in the corner."

Coincidentally, Amonte's last goal came against the Wild. Lombardi said he and the rest of the Flames sighed in relief for Amonte.

"He's had a lot of chances and been playing real well but the puck's not bounced for him," Lombardi said. "It's good to see him get that. I'm sure they'll be going in in loads now."

But that wasn't Amonte's only impact on the affair.

Calgary lost its lead thanks to Brian Rolston's shorthanded tally midway through the third period, Amonte set up the winner, feeding Jamie Lundmark on the difference maker.

The win puts Calgary within a single point of clinching a playoff spot, which can happen tonight in Vancouver when the Flames play the Canucks (8 p.m., CBC).

However, Amonte and his teammates weren't ecstatic with their performance.

"Maybe we were hoping they were gonna lay down because they're out of the playoffs but they played hard and we didn't have our normal jump," Amonte said. "It's gonna have to change (today).

"You don't have to wait until the game is tied to start turning it on. We should have broken that game open. We had plenty of powerplays and didn't put the puck in the net, didn't get sustained pressure. When you're in a position of being one up, you have to make it 2-0.

"It wasn't our best effort but we'll be happy to take the two points."

While Amonte wished good riddance to King Kong, goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff celebrated putting himself in the Flames record book with his now-team standard 40th victory of the season.

As could be expected, Kiprusoff downplayed the record.

"It's a good thing but we need more wins," Kiprusoff said after the 21-save performance.

- - -

CALGARY FLAMES: 2

MINNESOTA WILD: 1


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