GAME AT A GLANCE: With only one point separating the Calgary Flames from top spot in the Northwest Division, they knew Sunday's game was critical as they took to the ice against the division leading Minnesota Wild. A fourth straight win for the Calgary club would give them sole possession of first place in the Northwest and keep the Flames in the race for a playoff spot.
And in the end, the Flames held on for a big 2-1 win victory, which also allows the Calgary squad to jump from sixth in the Western Conference to third place.
Daymond Langkow draws early first period penalty for hooking 57 seconds in. Flames have been solid on the penalty kill, killing off 13 of 15 penalties in their last few matches.
First shot on goal for the Flames belongs to David Hale, who continues to look for his first NHL goal, just short of the 10 minute mark of the opening period.
Quick conversion on a great pass by Jarome Iginla to fellow linemate Daymond Langkow for a power play marker at 12:35, to help the Flames draw first blood. Kristian Huselius also gets a helper.
Matthew Lombardi uses his speed to get the puck on his backhand, and it's a close call for Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom as defenceman Brent Burns comes close to knocking the puck past his own netminder.
On the opposite end of the ice, a close call for the Flames as a Minnesota goal was waived off by the refs after Dion Phaneuf, Jim Vandermeer and a Minnesota player collide. Seconds after Miikka Kiprusoff makes the initial save, the puck appears to be kicked in when Dion Phaneuf is tripped up, which results in the dog pile. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had the initial shot on net at 11:05 in the second.
Craig Conroy with a fiery wrister for his ninth of the season giving the Flames the two-goal lead. Owen Nolan with a brilliant pass and a great heads up play as he feeds the centering pass to Conroy.
Kiprusoff comes up huge in the final minutes of the second, making multiple saves on Mikko Koivu.
Minutes earlier, a great play by the Flames' netminder, which saw him sprawl out to make the initial save, only to have it sneak through. Lucky for the Flames, Owen Nolan was quick on his feet and swept the puck out of harms way before it crossed the goal line.
Early in the third, the Wild get their own rebound and put themselves within one of the Flames. Kiprusoff makes the pad save on Mikko Koivu, but can't get his glove on the loose saucer, propelling it back to Mark Parrish, who was sitting on the netminder's doorstep for the goal 38 seconds into the final frame on the power play.