SUN Hockey Pool

Absolute Zero support

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- There was plenty of Finnish in the nets but not enough finish from the Calgary Flames' sticks.

Miikka Kiprusoff gave Calgary every chance to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers last night, turning in a dazzling 37-save performance, but the Flames' scoring woes continued as they lost 1-0 in a shootout.

Assistant coach Rich Preston was at a loss for words.

"The crowd's on their feet," he said.

"That's all I'll say."

The announced gathering of 19,542 at the Wachovia Center wasn't just on its toes, it was ecstatic thanks to Mike Richards' lone shootout tally that gave the hosts the win.

It left Kiprusoff and his Flames teammates disappointed.

"At least we get one point but we want two," said Kiprusoff, who still recorded his fourth shutout of the season.

"I think we had our chances, even in overtime but the other goalie played a pretty good game, too, and was hard to beat."

While Kiprusoff's performance was all-world, Flyers rookie netminder Antti Nittymaki wasn't too shabby himself, stopping 28 shots.

Jarome Iginla was one of a cast of Flames left shaking his head.

"The goaltenders put on a show," signed Iginla, who has only three assists to show for his last nine games. "We knew it was going to be that style, more of a grinding game and both goalies played well.

"It was a tough game."

It could have spiraled out of control for the Flames had it not been for their netminder.

Kiprusoff was at his best in the third when he not only helped kill two late penalties, he robbed Sami Kapanen on a juicy rebound opportunity players only dream about.

To a man, the Flames couldn't stop raving, with Robyn Regehr's words sounding similar to everyone else's.

"If that's not the best game he's played this year, it's right up there," Regehr said.

"We had every opportunity to win that game as a team and have to make sure we bear down and do that when a guy like that is putting us in the position."

Unfortunately, the Flames' slumping offence was also on display.

Nittymaki made several excellent saves but the Flames were left kicking themselves most about failing to convert a two-minute powerplay -- four-on-three -- in overtime.

Preston had no problems speaking his mind on that issue.

"You've gotta score. When you've got your best players out there, you've gotta score. It was a big opportunity," he said.

"You only get so many opportunities in a game. As an individual player, you're lucky if you get two or three chances to score in a game and you've got to bear down and put them away."

With the win, the Flyers improved to 16-6-4.

The Flames, who conclude their five-game road trip tonight in New Jersey, stand at 16-9-4.

- - -

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS: 1

CALGARY FLAMES: 0

SHOOTOUT


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