Flames heat up, burn Avs, 2-0
CALGARY, Alberta ” Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves for his second straight shutout to help the Calgary Flames clinch the Northwest Division title with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
The Flames last won a division title in 1994-95 when they finished atop the Pacific Division before losing in the first round of the playoffs to San Jose.
Rookie Dion Phaneuf scored his 20th goal of the season on a slapshot from the point at 10:35 of the second period. The goal was set up when Byron Ritchie knocked defenseman Rob Blake off the puck with a heavy check and Chris Simon sent a nifty backhand pass to Phaneuf at the far point.
Tony Amonte scored an empty net goal with 46 seconds left in the game to seal the victory, but not before Kiprusoff came up with a number of great stops in the third period.
He jabbed out a pad to thwart Ian Laperriere cutting in alone early in the period. A few minutes later, Blake had a wide open chance from 10 feet out that Kiprusoff stabbed with his glove.
The home crowd of 19,289 celebrated the hot goaltending by breaking into chants of “MVP” late in the game.
At the other end of the ice, Jose Theodore made his second straight start for the Avalanche and looked sharp making 23 saves.
The Flames will enter the postseason as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
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