Nieminen sending message

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:54 AM ET


 The series is tied 2-2 but the Calgary Flames lead 1-0 in blunt messages, although that stat doesn't appear on the game sheet.

 Flames winger Ville Nieminen scored a goal last night and dazzled with his powerful skating and work ethic. But it was his brief visit with Red Wings goaltender Curtis Joseph in the dying seconds of the game that made the greatest impact.

 The Feisty Finn delivered a forearm shiver to the Detroit goalie's head, sending Cujo sprawling into his net and drawing a charging major.

 "I was going behind the net and, I don't know, my arm kind of got stuck," Nieminen shrugged afterward, not sounding terribly convincing.

 "I didn't hit him too bad but it was a frustrated team out there.

 "I was going for a loose puck behind the net and I guess I was a little bit too close to the goalie."

 Joseph stopped 27 shots (in addition to the illegal one fired by Nieminen) in his best performance of the series. Nieminen's crease-crashing exploits with just three seconds remaining makes it clear the Flames plan to revisit the Detroit goalie when the series resumes tomorrow afternoon in Motown.

 "I was watching the shot and he kind of caught me off guard and I kind of lost my wind there," Joseph said of the collision.

 "I don't mind that. It's part of the game."

 Despite the Flames loss, Nieminen had an impressive outing, his goal tying the game 2-2 early in the second period.

 Parked in front of Joseph, Nieminen had unlimited time as he went backhand to forehand a couple of times before beating the Wings goalie.

 He later fed Shean Donovan on a two-on-one but his linemate couldn't raise the puck over Joseph's stacked pads.

 "I think we got a little bit too close in on that play and Dono didn't have room and I didn't have a chance to pass it earlier," explained Nieminen, who logged 17 minutes of ice time while enjoying several scoring opportunities.

 In the third, Nieminen gathered the puck behind the Detroit net, dishing a pass in front that neither Donovan nor Marcus Nilson could find while in search of the go-ahead goal.

 "He was outstanding today," Nieminen conceded of the veteran Wings goalie, who turned 37 yesterday.

 "I think we worked pretty hard today but that team was so good tonight that. When you look at who scored their goals (Kirk) Maltby, (Tomas) Holmstrom and (Henrik Zetterberg), that tells you something about their hockey club.

 "Definitely, we worked hard but it was not enough. They played their game and they broke our will."


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