Miikka Kiprusoff, Flames blank Habs in Heritage Classic

CALGARY, Alberta -- A lot of shots and a lack of hitting made for classic pond hockey in the Heritage Classic outdoor game, and that suited Miikka Kiprusoff just fine.

Kiprusoff made 39 saves for his fourth shutout this season, and the Flames beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 Sunday on a cold, clear night at McMahon Stadium.

The temperature was about 16 degrees at the start of the game, with winds of 16 miles per hour making it feel like less than 2 degrees. The cold didn't slow down Kiprusoff, who decided not to wear the neoprene wetsuit he tried out during Saturday's practice because it felt too hot, but he did put on extra clothes during the game.

"The first period was pretty windy," the Flames' goalie said. "I had to add something after the first period, put more clothes on, but we had a lot of good stuff here to use. The last two periods, the second and third I felt all right."

Rene Bourque scored twice, Anton Babchuk had a short-handed goal and Alex Tanguay also scored for the Flames, who became just the second home team to win in the NHL's six outdoor games.

"I think it's right up there with playing your first game, scoring your first goal, things like that," Bourque said of the experience of playing outside. "It's just fun to be part of this and playing in front of these people, especially when you're sitting on the bench and you're looking out and seeing 40,000 people."

The win moved the Flames past four teams into a tie with Nashville for fifth place in the Western Conference, as 10 points separate third place and 12th. Calgary has earned at least a point in 18 of its last 20 games.

Carey Price finished with 33 saves for Montreal, which dropped to 1-2-2 in its last five games.

Price said he wasn't cold, but said the ice conditions changed from the previous day.

"I thought the ice was a lot harder and a lot bumpier," he said. "You know what? Calgary played exactly the way they needed to play. They knew the type of game that was coming and they executed the game plan. They just threw everything at the net. They got a few good chances and they buried them."

The Heritage Classic had more hockey-like weather than the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, when 50 temperatures and rain forced the NHL to delay the start of the game from afternoon to evening.

The winds blew directly into the faces of about 5,000 people in the temporary seats, and fans were popping hot packs into their boots by the start of the second period. The announced attendance was 41,022, and the majority of fans wore the Flames' red and cream retro jerseys, but there was also a strong Montreal contingent and some combined jerseys and tuques from both teams.

"I expected some people to go home," Calgary's Jarome Iginla said. "I can imagine how cold they were. They didn't get to warm up the way we do, but they were there to the end having a great time."

Several players wore eye black under their eyes to reduce sun glare, but didn't need it for the opening faceoff at 4:25 p.m. local time because the setting sun behind the west stands cast a shadow completely covering the ice. However, the stadium lights reflected brightly off the ice by the third period.

The ice crew pampered the McMahon Stadium ice before and during the game. They opted to hand spray the surface instead of running resurfacing machines that weigh nearly seven tons over it and risk cracking the ice. They were constantly patching ice along the boards.

"The ice wasn't great, but it's better than some NHL rinks we play in," Iginla said. "It was a little bit bouncy, probably a little bit brittle compared to what we're used to, but nobody was really complaining about the ice.

"For sure there's less contact. The ice wasn't great around the boards. You could see them fixing it all the time. You want to play hard, but you also don't want to see anyone catch a toe and go into the boards. I think that's probably part of it."

Bourque scored a power-play goal at 8:09 of the first period when he re-directed a shot from Tanguay past Price.

Curtis Glencross backhanded the puck up high to Babchuk, whose shot from the top of the faceoff circle beat Price's glove for a short-handed goal at 12:44 of the second.

Bourque made it 3-0 with his second goal about 2 minutes later when he cruised in from the boards and tucked a backhander past Price.

Tanguay scored on a goal-mouth feed from Iginla at 10:53 of the third period.

Game notes
This was the first Heritage Classic since 2003, when the Canadiens edged host Edmonton 4-3. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman wouldn't commit to a date and location for another one, but said the outdoor game in Calgary was profitable. "We made a big investment in doing it in Calgary and we think it paid off tremendously," Bettman said. ... Boston is the only other team to win its outdoor game, beating Philadelphia 2-1 in overtime in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park on Jan. 1, 2010. ... Montreal LW Mike Cammalleri played his first game in a month after separating his shoulder and assistant captain Hal Gill drew back into the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury. ... Canadiens D James Wisniewski also played despite taking a puck in the cheekbone Thursday at Edmonton.