It’s bad enough that the Montreal Canadiens offence is struggling, but when a former all-star goalie brings his A-game, you know it could be a long night.
Miikka Kiprusoff had a 25-save effort, earning his 200th career win, to lead his Calgary Flames to a 1-0 at the Bell Centre.
The Flames essentially dominated Montreal in the first twenty minutes, with a 13-9 shot advantage.
Calgary scored the only game of the game, at 14:55 of the first period, when captain Jarome Iginla put a screen shot past Jaroslav Halak.
The Habs came out in the second period, challenging the Flames physical play, and were outhitting them 19-16 after two periods.
Montreal’s offense had it’s chances, including a breakaway opportunity by Scott Gomez, but Kiprusoff continued to shut the door.
The Canadiens had an excellent opportunity to tie it up, with a late power play in the third period, but could not solve the Finnish netminder, who earned his 31st career shutout.
“It’s frustrating when we can’t put a goal on the board,” said Canadiens forward Mike Cammalerri. “We gotta create more chances offensively.”
The former Flame acknowledged the team’s successful penalty killing unit (0 goals allowed in 6 chances), but noted the importance to stay out of the box in a one-goal game.
“In a game like tonight, it kills a lot of momentum,” he said. “It’s hard to get puck time when we’re sitting in the box.”
Canadiens coach Jacques Martin echoed his winger’s concern. “Once or twice we took penalties after some good shifts,” he said.
“Sometimes even if the opposition doesn’t score, you lose your momentum.”
Martin also commented on his teams struggling power play that went 0 for 3 Tuesday night. “It’s a concern. Most games are determined by two factors, special teams and goaltending,” he said.
“We need to have better execution and traffic in front of the net.”
Goaltending clearly was not the problem for the Canadiens, on Tuesday night, thanks to Jaroslav Halak’s 30-save performance.
“It’s tough (to lose a one-goal game) but it happens,” Halak said. “You need to find a way to score a goal.”
Halak also commented on the tweet left by his agent on Saturday.
“Obviously he wrote something he shouldn’t,” he said. “I found out on Sunday. It’s got nothing to do with me. I try to control what I say, and that’s the bottom line”
Halak also said he has not talked to Carey Price about the incident, “I think he knows that I’ve got nothing to do with it.”
Montreal has lost three straight at home, while Calgary (11-4-1) now rides a four-game winning streak.
The Canadiens record falls to 8-10-2 and is a disappointing 0-5 against Western Conference teams this season.
Montreal will head off to to Phoenix, for a game against the Coyotes, on Thursday, and to Nashville,Saturday, to face the Predators.
Three Stars: 1. Miikka Kiprusoff 2. Jaroslav Halak 3. Jarome Iginla
Photos: Montreal Gazette