Flames 3, Ducks 2
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Back at home, the Calgary Flames returned to their winning ways.
Dion Phaneuf and Alex Tanguay scored in the first period and the Calgary Flames held on for a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.
Stephane Yelle scored the eventual game-winner near the midpoint of the second period to push Calgary's lead to 3-0. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 22 shots to help the Flames snap a two-game skid and win their fifth straight at home, where they are an NHL-best 19-5.
"We weren't satisfied with the last couple games on the road and tonight we came out really well in the first period and that set the tone for the remainder of the game," Yelle said.
Calgary moved to within two points of Northwest Division-leading Vancouver. The Flames also improved to 5-2-0 without leading scorer Jarome Iginla, who will be sidelined at least two more weeks with a sprained left knee.
"We're just a little bit more confident right now here," Tanguay said. "For us, it's just a matter of what we do on the road where we know we are capable of winning hockey games."
Scott Niedermayer scored twice to pull the Ducks within one, but that was as close as they got. Anaheim has lost five straight and nine of 11 heading into the All-Star break. It's lead in the Pacific Division is also down to four points on second-place San Jose, which has played three fewer games.
"It's pretty disappointing," Niedermayer said. "We've put together a stretch of hockey here that hasn't been a lot of fun."
Phaneuf opened the scoring on a power play just 56 seconds into the game. Matthew Lombardi won a face-off back to Phaneuf, whose wrist shot from the blue line beat Ilya Bryzgalov.
"It's just another story of us not competing for 60 minutes," Anaheim's Andy McDonald said. "In the second and third, we battled a lot harder and were more intense on the puck but for whatever reason, we didn't have that intensity early on and it hurt us."
Tanguay made it two goals on five shots for Calgary, scoring his 12th goal of the season on a wrist shot that squeaked in under Bryzgalov's arm at 11:58.
After Yelle score at 9:25 of the second, Niedermayer pulled the Ducks to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 15:05.
Anaheim made it 3-2 just 1:29 into the period when Andy McDonald's shot deflected in off Niedermayer in front, the goal coming just seconds after a Calgary penalty had expired. It was Niedermayer's 10th goal of the season and 11th two-goal game. He has never had a hat trick in his 15-year career.
Anaheim played again without defensemen Chris Pronger (foot) and Francois Beauchemin (spleen), who missed their ninth and 11th games respectively. Niedermayer is also banged up with a stress fracture in his foot that will keep him out of next week's NHL All-Star Game.
The Ducks had a couple of dangerous opportunities to tie it late in the game but could not beat Kiprusoff.
Anaheim now has eight days off before it hosts Dallas on Jan. 28.
"The way things have gone, maybe that's what we need, some time to clear the head," McDonald said. "Mentally when we come back, maybe we'll be a little more refreshed and physically this will give guys a chance to heal up from any injuries that they have."
Notes: Calgary LW Kristian Huselius had an assist to extend his points streak to six games (five goals, four assists). ... The Ducks picked up their NHL-leading 44th fighting major when George Parros fought Calgary's Eric Godard in the first period. Calgary is 4-0 this year in the games Godard has appeared in. ... With 295 career goals with the Ducks, RW Teemu Selanne is five goals away from tying Paul Kariya for the all-time franchise lead. ... Calgary has outscored the opposition 86-55 at even strength.