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Nilson's OT goal clinches opener

4/23/2004

DETROIT (AP) -- The Calgary Flames proved there's more to their
offense than Jarome Iginla.

Marcus Nilson's first career playoff goal at 2:39 of overtime
lifted Calgary to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on
Thursday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal
series.

Calgary's Robyn Regehr, who like Nilson played in just his eighth
postseason game, scored his first career playoff goal late in the
second period to tie it at 1-all.

Iginla, a finalist for NHL MVP, didn't mind being held to just
two shots -- both in the second period.

"That's part of what's been so fun this year," he said. "It's
been somebody different scoring big goals each night. That's why
we're where we're at."

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is a big reason the Flames are in
the second round for the first time since winning the Stanley Cup
in 1989. And he helped them win their first Game 1 since the finals
15 years ago. Calgary was 0-7 in series openers since.

Kiprusoff's 28 saves lifted the Flames to their fourth straight
road victory in the playoffs.

"It's huge," Kiprusoff said. "We're playing the Detroit Red Wings."

Curtis Joseph made 16 saves for Detroit, which was 3-0 at home
this postseason.

On the winning goal, Martin Gelinas passed the puck from behind
the net to Nilson, whose shot from the left circle got past
Joseph's glove.

"He made a good shot," he said. "I wish I would've had it."

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Detroit.

The Flames played their third straight overtime game. Calgary
beat Vancouver in overtime in Game 7 of the first-round series
after losing Game 6 in triple overtime. Detroit played its first
overtime of the postseason after getting past Nashville in six
games.

The Red Wings had four days of rest, but Calgary had just two
days off.

Detroit looked fresh -- not rusty -- and prevented the Flames from
shooting on Joseph for nearly 10 minutes. The Red Wings outshot
them 13-2 in the opening period.

"They dominated us in the first period," Iginla said. "Kipper
gave us a chance."

While Detroit had the NHL's best record this season, the
sixth-seeded Flames boast two of the league's top players and
Darryl Sutter, a finalist for coach of the year.

Iginla is a finalist for the Hart Trophy, which goes to the NHL MVP, and Kiprusoff is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, which honors the league's top
goalie.

Iginla led the NHL with 41 goals in the regular season and is
among league leaders with eight points in the playoffs.

Kiprusoff allowed just 1.69 goals a game, the lowest average since Dave Kerr's 1.54 GAA in the 1939-40 season with the New York Rangers.

Kiprusoff faced a lot of pressure from the high-powered Red
Wings, but only one shot got past him.

"It seems like he's always in good position," Detroit's Steve Yzerman said.

Kirk Maltby got a shot past Kiprusoff midway through the first
period, but the goal was negated because Kris Draper was penalized
for goaltender interference.

The Red Wings struggled on the power play -- again.

They were 0-for-6 with an extra attacker after going 2-for-29
against Nashville.

"The difference in the game was our power play," Detroit coach
Dave Lewis said.

The only goals in regulation came in the second period.
Detroit's Robert Lang scored at 6:15, and Regehr tied it at 1 with
2:03 left in the period.

Lang, acquired from Washington two months ago, produced his
second highlight-worthy goal of the playoffs and his third overall.
He skated from the left boards across the ice, slipped past one
Flames player and had Rhett Warrener engaged as his wrist shot went
over Kiprusoff's shoulder.

Regehr's slap shot from above the left circle flew between two
Red Wings and past Joseph, who looked as if he didn't see the puck.
The goal was the first against Joseph in nearly 120 minutes, dating
to Game 5 against Nashville.

Game notes
Detroit had not played the Flames in the playoffs since
advancing past them in 1978 -- when they were still in Atlanta. ...
Brendan Shanahan and Derian Hatcher assisted on Lang's goal. Lang
has seven points in the playoffs, and four in the past three games. ... The
Red Wings replaced Steve Thomas (groin) with Jason Williams, who played in his first playoff game this season.