Final

Series (Game 2 of 6)

Calgary leads 5-1

Game 1: Wednesday, December 17th
Flames3Final
OT
Wild2
Game 2: Monday, December 29th
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Flames2
Game 3: Thursday, February 19th
Flames3Final
OT
Wild2
Game 4: Friday, February 27th
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Flames4
Game 5: Saturday, March 28th
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Flames3
Game 6: Friday, April 3rd
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Wild4

Wild 1

(17-16-2, 36 pts)

Flames 2

(21-11-4, 46 pts)

9:00 PM ET, December 29, 2008

Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1 2 3 T
MIN 0 1 01
CGY 1 0 12

E. Nystrom (Flames - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

D. Langkow (Flames - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Harding (Wild - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: .931

Nystrom has short-handed goal in third to lift Flames

Associated Press

CALGARY -- The move Eric Nystrom used to fake out goalie Josh Harding for the go-ahead tally was so smooth it looked planned.

Nystrom insists it wasn't.

Nystrom took an errant puck at center ice, darted alone into the Minnesota zone and made a pretty forehand fake to draw goalie Josh Harding to the ice before sliding in the short-handed goal that gave the Calgary Flames a 2-1 win over the Wild on Monday night.

"It's funny, you don't even think about it," said Nystrom when asked if he broke in with a particular move in mind. "I just went in, my body just made the move and made it happen. It's crazy how sports works like that."

It was Nystrom's first goal since Nov. 1, a span of 25 games.

With the win, the Flames (21-11-4) extended their unbeaten streak to eight games (5-0-3) and widened their Northwest Division lead over idle Vancouver to three points.

The sellout crowd of 19,289 let out a loud ovation after the goal. As thrilled as the fans were, Nystrom said he was even more pumped up.

"I don't score too many goals so to get that type of reception, everyone was so excited," Nystrom said. "I just had the adrenaline pumping right through me, it was awesome."

Daymond Langkow also scored for Calgary. Stephane Veilleux tallied for Minnesota (17-16-2).

"You need that. You need guys like [Nystrom], who battle hard for us, a couple big fights for us the last couple games and tonight he scores a big goal," Langkow said.

The two goals would be enough support for Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 22 saves to win his league-leading 21st game (21-10-3).

Kiprusoff made a clutch stop in the third period, when he jabbed out his pad to deny Andrew Brunette of what looked like the tying goal from the side of the net.

"Our defense got enough pressure on him that he couldn't put it upstairs. It was good luck there," Kiprusoff said.

The Wild have lost their last six road games and overall are 2-8-1 in their last 11 to fall into last place in the Northwest.

Harding, getting a rare start in goal in place of Niklas Backstrom, provided a bright spot for the Wild.

Harding made 27 saves, including a sequence of four superb stops in a row during Calgary's power play early in the third to preserve a 1-all tie.

"Credit to him, he battled for us, he kept us in the game," Minnesota's Eric Belanger said. "I wish we could have got the win for him."

Harding took no solace in his own performance knowing that he didn't deliver the key save when the team needed it.

"I misread the play," Harding said about Nystrom's goal. "I thought our defenseman was coming a lot closer and that he couldn't go that way so I tried to challenge the shot and I bit on the fake and the rest is history."

Minnesota tied the game with 15 seconds left in the second period. Martin Skoula dumped the puck into the corner of the Flames end. Belanger was first to the puck and directed a shot toward the net.

The puck glanced off Kiprusoff's stick and into the slot, where Veilleux fired a shot that hit off the back bar in the net and caromed out so fast that play continued.

At the next whistle, the video replay was reviewed and it was ruled a goal.

It was the second time on the night that referees Rob Martell and Mike Leggo had to get on the phone to verify the legitimacy of a goal.

On Calgary's first-period goal, Langkow was skating hard towards the net as Todd Bertuzzi's centering pass deflected off his skate and past Harding. This time, the initial ruling was a goal and that was confirmed as the correct call by the video replay official.

"Their two goals -- that first one goes off a skate and the second goal, it bounces four times and right on his stick for a breakaway," Belanger said. "It's frustrating as we battled hard tonight and we deserved a better ending."

Game notes


Minnesota played with five defensemen because Kim Johnsson had to leave the team prior to the game due to a family emergency. ... Minnesota has yielded the first goal in its last 11 games. ... Of Rene Bourque's 14 goals, 13 have come even strength with the other being a short-handed goal. Jarome Iginla is second on the Flames in even strength goals with eight. ... Through 36 games, Calgary is six points ahead of last year's pace. ... Minnesota dropped to 8-15-1 versus Western Conference opponents. They are 9-1-1 versus Eastern teams. ... The Wild are 1-12-2 in their last 15 trips to the Saddledome.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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