<
>

Kiprusoff, Flames hand Wild 11th straight road loss

CALGARY (AP) -- Byron Ritchie continued his remarkable impression
of Jarome Iginla.

Ritchie scored his fourth goal in the last three games, Miikka
Kiprusoff made 26 saves for his 100th career win, and the Calgary
Flames beat the Minnesota Wild 3-0 Tuesday night.

After scoring just three times in the season's first 33 games,
Ritchie has caught fire of late thriving on the increased ice time
he's received with Iginla -- the Flames captain and leading scorer --
sidelined with a sprained knee.

"It's a lot more fun when you're contributing offensively and
the team's winning," said Ritchie, who had a season-high 19
minutes of ice time, 2 minutes more than Saturday night, which had
been his season-high.

Ahead 2-0 in the third period, Ritchie put the game out of reach
at 6:54 on his first short-handed goal of the season. The
opportunity was created by Matthew Lombardi, who streaked into the
Minnesota zone and then spun sliding a pass right onto the stick of
Ritchie, who fired a low shot past goalie Niklas Backstrom.

"I had a tough time trying to catch him in the first place,
then he makes the backhand spin-around pass, I don't know how he
knew I was there," Ritchie said.

Daymond Langkow and Mark Giordano also scored for Calgary
(22-15-4), which finishes with five wins out of six on its longest
homestand of the season. The Flames improve to 17-5-0 at home,
tying them with Minnesota for the most home wins.

Calgary also moves within one point of Vancouver for the lead in
the Northwest Division. Calgary has two games in hand on the
Canucks.

"Our division is so tight, you drop a couple in a row, you're
in the cellar. You win a few in a row, you're in first place,"
Ritchie said.

The road woes continued for Minnesota (21-19-3). The Wild are
0-10-1 in their last 11 games away from the Xcel Energy Center.

"The saga continues," Wild right-winger Brian Rolston said.
"We have to figure out how we can win on the road and it's
something we have to figure out quick."

The NHL's worst road team at 4-15-1, the Wild get three more
chances to find the solution to their struggles with stops in
Vancouver, Edmonton, and Chicago before returning home.

"For our team, when we get behind, it's the same old story,"
Wild defenseman Keith Carney said. "It feels like nothing's going
right for us, every mistake is going to end up in our net, we start
getting that feeling and that's something we have to change. We
have to continue to play hard and create more offense."

Kiprusoff was solid all night, capping his perfect evening with
a spectacular glove stop on Rolston with 3 minutes left to preserve
his fifth shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.

"It's not fun when Jarome is out, but we hope he's back as soon
as possible. Now, while he's not in the lineup, we all have to play
well," Kiprusoff said.

After a scoreless first period, Calgary opened the scoring 1:24
into the second period when Langkow got his stick on Robyn Regehr's
shot from the blue-line, deflecting it past Backstrom.

Calgary extended its lead to 2-0 at 17:59 of the second when
Kristian Huselius set up Giordano for a power-play goal.

Both teams lost players to injury during the game. Calgary
defenseman Rhett Warrener took a shot in the midsection in the
third period and did not return.

Derek Boogaard (head) and Mark Parrish (lower body) did not play
in the third period for the Wild. Both are listed as day-to-day.
Boogaard was hurt in a rousing scrap with Flames call-up Eric
Godard, which came just 2 seconds after Calgary took a 1-0 lead.

Game notes
RW Eric Godard made his Calgary debut after being recalled
Monday from Omaha of the AHL. Godard had appeared in 107 games with
the New York Islanders over the previous three seasons. ... Calgary
LW Marcus Nilson (leg) is back skating and is expected back within
the week. Nilson has missed 16 games. ... Minnesota's two wins in
its last 16 road games have come in shootouts. Its last regulation
road win was Oct. 21 at San Jose.