Niittymaki perfect as Flyers clip Flames in shootout

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Flyers goalie Antero Niittymaki could feel
the anticipation of the crowd before the first shootout in

He used that energy to his advantage.

Mike Richards scored the lone goal and Niittymaki was perfect
through regulation, overtime and the shootout to lift the Flyers to
a 1-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

"The crowd was loud and I think it helped me get focused,"
Niittymaki said. "I really concentrated hard because I wanted to
give them a win."

It was the NHL's first scoreless game decided by shootout. Only
one other game this season went to overtime without a goal, but San
Jose scored in the extra session to win 1-0 at Anaheim on Nov. 4.

Despite the lack of offense, fans buzzed throughout the
shootout. Niittymaki turned aside Kristian Huselius, Jarome Iginla
and former Flyers forward Tony Amonte in the league's new
tiebreaker after making 28 saves through regulation and five
minutes of overtime.

"You want to make those saves when the whole crowd is focused
on you," Niittymaki said. "I was happy to make them for the fans.
They were excited and I was excited we could get the win that

Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff outdid him until Richards finally
broke through on the Flyers' first shootout attempt. Kiprusoff
stopped 37 regular shots and denied Jeff Carter on Philadelphia's
second and final shot in the shootout.

"I kind of had a move in mind and I went with it," said
Richards, who scored on a backhand shot. "I've kind of been doing
that for the last 10 years of my life. I tried to stick with what
works and thankfully, it worked and we got the win."

Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said the game was filled with
intensity, especially after regulation.

"This was very much like a playoff game," Hitchcock said.

Kiprusoff's biggest save came with 37.5 seconds left in overtime
when he stopped Mike Knuble's breakaway. Kiprusoff also stood tall
in the third period when the Flyers held a 37-28 shots advantage.

"It was a pretty controlled game," Kiprusoff said. "There
were not a lot of 2-on-1s. There were lots of shots, but I don't
think it was wide open."

Niittymaki was tested in the extra session after the Flames were
awarded a power play with 2:59 remaining.

Carter nearly won it in regulation for the Flyers but he fired
wide left of the net with 11 minutes remaining.

Both teams had plenty of good scoring chances through the first
two periods.

Flyers forward Simon Gagne, the NHL leader in goals with 23,
almost had another one but he also shot wide of Kiprusoff with just
over a minute remaining in the second period.

Earlier in the frame, a shot by Flames defenseman Roman Hamrlik
deflected off the crossbar behind Niittymaki.

Flames coach Darryl Sutter left the arena without speaking to

Game notes
Flyers D Joni Pitkanen will undergo surgery Wednesday to
fix a sports hernia and will miss four-to-six weeks. Fellow
defenseman Eric Desjardins injured his right shoulder in the first
period and didn't return. ... The Flyers recalled LW Ben Eager, D
Freddy Meyer, and G Jamie Storr from the AHL's Philadelphia
Phantoms. ... Iginla hasn't scored in nine games. ... This was the
only meeting between the clubs this season.