CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- After Jarome Iginla helped the Flames secure their first playoff berth in eight years and moved into a tie for the NHL goals lead, it was hard to wipe the smile off the Calgary star's face.
"It has been a long time, let's be honest," Iginla said after
the Flames beat the Phoenix Coyotes 1-0 Wednesday night. "It feels
awesome; we've worked very hard this season.
"This is our first goal -- now we prepare for the playoffs."
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff notched his fourth shutout of the
season, stopping 27 shots. Kiprusoff's arrival in Calgary last
November from San Jose helped spark the club's significant turn of
fortunes this season.
"It was fitting for him to get the shutout to get us into the
playoffs," Iginla said. "All year, he's been standing on his
Long-suffering Flames fans also paid tribute to Kiprusoff's
efforts. They gave him a game-ending standing ovation after he
batted away a barrage of Phoenix shots with just four minutes left
in the third and forward Martin Gelinas in the penalty box for
"Kiprusoff is a big part of the reason we are where we are this
season," Denis Gauthier said. "He's not a Vezina and Hart
candidate for nothing."
The Flames have 92 points with a two-game road trip in
California to close out the regular season.
Calgary is in sixth place in the Western Conference. All the
Flames needed was one point to secure the coveted playoff berth. And
all it took was one goal.
Calgary started tentatively against a Phoenix club that has won
just once in 21 games.
But after 16 sluggish minutes, Iginla scored the only goal eight
seconds into a power play.
With a crowd in front of Coyotes goalie Brent Johnson, Iginla
converted a nice feed from defenseman Robyn Regehr.
It wasn't a pretty goal for Iginla, but it gave him 40 on the
season and enough to tie Columbus' Rick Nash for the NHL lead.
After Iginla's goal, the Flames and their fans had to wait
another 44 minutes before making the important win official.
Calgary has dominated Phoenix this season, outscoring the
Coyotes 11-3 in four straight wins. The Coyotes dropped to
Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said he was proud of his team for
sticking with its game plan through a long season.
"Some of them have never been in this position, so good for
them," he said. "Let them savor this."
After the game, Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris, who played five
years in a Calgary jersey without a single playoff game, had only
good words to say about his former club.
"I think it's great," he said. "I was over there with a lot
of those guys when we went through the bad times, but finally now
they have an opportunity.
"The rebuilding took a little bit longer than people thought, but they've got the right people in there right now for a good team
and a good playoff run."
Iginla is the only current member of the Flames to have
worn a Calgary jersey in a playoff game. ... The Flames had their
10th straight sellout. ... Morris played in his 500th NHL game. ...
Calgary G Roman Turek hasn't played a home game since Feb. 5, when
Kiprusoff came back from a knee injury. Turek beat the Coyotes 4-0
the last time the teams met, on March 24.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome Location: Calgary, Alberta
Referees: Dan Marouelli, Craig Spada Linesmen: Don Henderson, Mark Wheler
Attendance: 18,419 (95.5% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Jarome Iginla (40)
(Power Play) Assists: Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold