CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - Miikka Kiprusoff's teammates made his job a lot easier on Wednesday night.
Kiprusoff made 31 saves and the Calgary Flames scored three power-play goals to beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-1 and move back into sole possession of first place in the tight Northwest Division.
"The defense did pretty much a perfect job in front of me," Kiprusoff said. "There were no breakaways, and most of the shots were from a long way out."
Matthew Lombardi, Daymond Langkow and Chris Simon scored for the Flames, who are two points up on Vancouver, four ahead of Edmonton and five ahead of Colorado.
Andy McDonald had the lone goal for the Mighty Ducks.
"Tonight we weren't obviously as sharp as we could have been," McDonald said. "We've got to put this one behind us and we've got one more game on the road here against Vancouver. You can't stress the importance of these games. We need these points for getting into the playoffs."
Making his seventh straight start and 18th in the last 19 games, Kiprusoff allowed only a power-play goal by McDonald halfway through the first period that tied the score 1-all.
Kiprusoff was perfect after that, turning aside 27 shots the rest of the way to improve to 29-14-7 on the season. He is tied with Marty Turco of the Dallas Stars for the NHL lead in wins.
"Some of the saves he made were very timely saves and that's huge for us," Langkow said. "It's nice having the confidence with him back there."
In late December, Kiprusoff announced he would not represent Finland at the Olympics because he wants to rest a nagging hip injury. He said he is looking forward to the time off to try and get completely healthy.
"For sure this will be a great thing for me," Kiprusoff said. "I've been waiting and if I can get myself back to 100 percent, that would be great.
"I like to play, I just need to be smart between the games and sometimes take it a little bit easy in practice."
Langkow's goal proved to be the winner, making it 2-1 at 2:38 of the second.
Controlling the play in the Ducks' end, Jarome Iginla slid a pass across to Langkow near the top of the faceoff circle and he sent a hard slap shot into the top corner over the outstretched glove of goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
"A tremendous pass from Jarome," Langkow said. "He saw me across the ice and put it right on my tape and I had all kinds of time."
Calgary increased its lead later in the second at 16:38. Simon stationed himself in front of the Ducks' net and was able to deflect in a point shot from Andrew Ference as the Flames converted their third straight man-advantage chance.
"They were practicing tip-ins this morning and Simon is always there front and center when we are practicing screening the goalie and tipping the puck and it paid off for him tonight," Flames assistant coach Rich Preston said.
The Ducks entered the game with the NHL's ninth-best penalty-killing unit.
Calgary finished 3-for-5 on the power play.
"I don't think you can really expect to win a hockey game giving up three power-play goals. In reality, you cant give up those and that's the difference in the hockey game," Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said.
The Flames are 7-1-1 over the past six weeks at the Pengrowth Saddledome, where Calgary will wrap up play before the Olympic break by hosting the Blues on Friday night.
Anaheim lost for just the third time in regulation in the past 14 games (7-3-4).
Playing against his former team, Giguere finished with 21 saves and dropped to 15-8-10.
Calgary and Anaheim exchanged power-play goals in the first period.
Lombardi gave the Flames the lead at 6:11, striding to the top of the faceoff circle and neatly putting a wrist shot into the top corner.
The lead lasted less than 4 minutes before McDonald evened it. Teemu Selanne's shot caromed off the near goal post and out the other side of the crease where McDonald put it in the empty net.
Notes: With a five-game homestand following the Olympic break, Calgary does not play again on the road until March 12 in Colorado. ... Calgary C Byron Ritchie (knee) is close to returning after missing 16 games. ... Anaheim is just 1-8-2 against the Northwest Division. ... Calgary is 14-5-2 against the Northwest Division. Against the rest of the Western Conference, the Flames are 11-10-4. ... Calgary LW Mike Leclerc is scoreless in three games since joining the Flames. Including his time with the Coyotes, he has gone 11 games without a goal.
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