SUN Hockey Pool

Confidence in Kipper

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:53 PM ET

Things were a little different last time these two starting goaltenders faced each other from opposite ends of the ice.

Calgary Flames keeper Miikka Kiprusoff was struggling to recapture the confidence he showed in his breakout 2003-04 season.

Dallas Stars netminder Marty Turco was off to a winning start and came away with a 3-2 victory in overtime at the Saddledome, spoiling the Flames' home-opener.

But heading into tonight's rematch, Kiprusoff has recouped the style that earned him the modern-day record with a 1.69 goals-against average during the last NHL season -- a record he snatched away from Turco, who set it at 1.72 in 2002-03.

The Stars stopper says he may never get a chance to reclaim that piece of history.

"I don't know. You never know," said a hopeful Turco. "Ideology would suggest, yeah, the goals are going to go up, the records and all that might be a thing of the past."

Flames coach Darryl Sutter agrees it's a brave new league.

"All the old records, all the old statistics, all the old numbers, throw them out, start over," he said. "Just (because of) the way the game has changed."

While some goalies believe they're being picked on in exchange for more goals, citing smaller pads and restrictions on playing the puck as examples, Turco says the new rules make he and his colleagues even more valuable.

"The changes they've made, some people thinks it hurts goalies. I think it helps us as a position and our stature on the team," said Turco. "Whether it's contractually or just importance. That's what we like. We really enjoy being in the moment and making the difference for our team. That's why every goalie is playing in the NHL because they've made that difference in the past and they want to continue to do it at this level and do it consistently.

"It's not entirely a bad thing."

When the Flames and Stars met Oct. 13 at the Saddledome, Turco knew it was just a matter of time before Kiprusoff got things turned around.

With a pair of impressive performances against the Edmonton Oilers in the past week, even those skeptics who thought Kiprusoff may have been a one-year wonder are starting to believe the Finnish 'tender was no flash in the pan.

Turco never doubted it.

"I've been around long enough now to realize it doesn't really matter what people say. It boils down to the organization and the belief and confidence that the coaches and teammates have in him," said Turco.

"We all know that's there and really that's all that matters to Kipper and all that matters to any of us goaltenders."


Videos

Photos