Lee Stempniak scored the winner in the third period and added an assist Wednesday night as the Calgary Flames picked up a badly needed two points with a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
Stempniak broke a 2-2 tie at 5:37 on a beautiful set up from Curtis Glencross, who missed the last two games with a wrist injury. Glencross wheeled deep into the Detroit zone and zipped a pass to an uncovered Stempniak in the slot, who fired home his seventh goal of the season.
Glencross added his ninth at 9:12, capitalizing on Valterri Filppula’s turnover along the side boards, and Blake Comeau followed 48 seconds later to make it 5-2.
Alex Tanguay and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for Calgary (10-11-4), which won its fifth in a row at home.
Niklas Kronwall and Filppula scored for Detroit (12-10-5).
The Flames were coming off a disappointing three-game road trip to California in which they lost all three games by a combined score of 11-3 to drop to last place in the Western Conference.
Miikka Kiprusoff, who gave up 12 goals on 46 shots in his two starts and was pulled in the third period of his last game in Los Angeles, was much sharper Wednesday.
He needed to be early, as Detroit outshot Calgary 15-6 in the first period.
However, while Kiprusoff was playing well, struggling at the other end was Detroit goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Given the start with No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard out with the flu, the 28-year-old Swede finished the night with just 17 saves as the Red Wings held a 38-22 edge on the shot clock.
After Calgary had taken the lead in the first period, Detroit tied the game 2-2 at 16:39 of the second. Kyle Quincey’s long wrist shot on a power play was stopped, but Filppula was right there to hammer the rebound past Kiprusoff to snap an ugly 0-for-37 mark with the man advantage on the road this season.
Also picking up an assist was 23-year-old rookie Gustav Nyquist, who was recalled Tuesday from Grand Rapids where he was the AHL’s leading scorer with 23 goals and 37 assists.
Away from Joe Louis Arena, Detroit had amassed 69 minutes 20 seconds of time with the extra man before that goal. It was the worst start to the season in that respect since the 1928-29 Detroit Cougars, who played a 44-game schedule, failed to score a road power-play goal the entire year.
Detroit got off to a fast start taking the lead 3:20 into the game when Kronwall wired a slap shot past Kiprusoff.
Calgary tied the game 1-1 at 5:55 of the first period on a power play. Tanguay took a pass from Mike Cammalleri and made a deke to his forehand before whipping a shot into the top corner.
The Flames then took a 2-1 lead at 9:52 on a lucky bounce as Bouwmeester’s shot rebounded in off the skate of Detroit defenceman Jakub Kindl.
Notes: The Red Wings, who are winless in their last three, continue their three-game road trip through Western Canada on Friday night in Edmonton. ... Kiprusoff improved his record to 4-5-2, while Gustavsson dropped to 1-2-1. ... Bouwmeester’s goal was his fifth of the season, matching his best output since coming to Calgary in 2009-10. His career high is 15, which he reached twice in Florida. ... Glencross bumped C Roman Cervenka to the press box. ... RW Jordin Tootoo was a healthy scratch for the Red Wings. ... Detroit C Cory Emmerton played his 100th career game.