SUN Hockey Pool

Kiprusoff robs Oilers once again

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

After the first period, the Calgary Flames had more broken sticks than shots on goal.

Midway through the second, the only thing buoying fan interest was the somehow ageless Smooch-cam.

The only thing keeping the Flames alive was Miikka Kiprusoff.

Just like old times.

By far the biggest star in a game devoid of all the passion, hatred and intensity one should expect from the second all-Alberta matchup in a week, the stoic Flames netminder stole the show the first 30 minutes while his teammates scrambled to keep pace with a much more determined Oilers club.

Performing the type of sixth-sense magic he exhibited nightly in his first post-season here, Kiprusoff gave his club a chance to stay in the game after being outshot 14-4 in the opening frame. Holding the fort through two particularly dangerous Edmonton powerplays, Kiprusoff snared a wicked point shot with his glove, turned a dangerous Fernando Pisani deflection aside, robbed Shawn Horcoff in tight and generally frustrated a visiting squad that deserved a better fate.

"We count on Kipper for a lot but that was a bit much," said Flames winger Shean Donovan, smiling.

"That first period was ugly and most of those 14 shots weren't -- they were dangerous."

The only blemish on Kiprusoff's otherwise spectacular opening period was an Ethan Moreau goal that bounced in off Dion Phaneuf's leg from behind the net.

A fluke, to be sure.

"We should have been up after the first by a couple at least," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, singing a familiar refrain.

"Kipper was excellent against us again.

"From our standpoint, we did what we wanted -- all signs pointed to us winning the game.

"The game's over if Kipper doesn't stop (Radek) Dvorak (on a breakaway in the second) but he makes the save, Calgary gets a powerplay goal and goes on to win."

Steven Reinprecht's powerplay marker lifted the patient crowd to its feet at the 17:12 mark of the second period, followed 71 seconds later by Chuck Kobasew's second of two in a 3-1 come-from-behind win.

Kobasew's first marker illustrated the difference between the two clubs on the night and in 2004 as Jussi Markkanen misplayed a harmless Jason Wiemer wrister that Kobasew roofed.

In a Battle of Alberta that ultimately decided the Oilers would hit the golf course and watch Calgary in the 2004 playoffs, Kiprusoff was the difference.

It appears he's focused on doing it again, as the Flames have won both meetings so far this season.

"The games have been close in this building and we've been outscored 6-1," said MacTavish.

"Kipper did it to us again."


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