Kipper saves spot in record book

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Miikka Kiprusoff deflects praise as easily as he does pucks.

The Calgary Flames goaltender turned aside 26 shots Saturday in a 3-0 blanking of the visiting Boston Bruins. His fifth shutout in 28 starts this year tied him with four former Flames for the single-season franchise record.

He now has about 40 cracks at breaking the mark, depending on how many starts backup Philippe Sauve receives over the next 50 games.

Kiprusoff isn't going to think about anything but the next game.

"After the season you can always look at the numbers," said the soft-spoken Finn yesterday before the Flames flew to Edmonton for tonight's game against the Oilers.

"We've been playing well. We did a good job in our own zone. I think that's how the Flames play. One of the top teams in goals against. We have to keep working on that.

"It's also the forwards. They always talk about the great defence. They do a great job but it's even forwards -- they all work hard, they practice hard and they do their jobs. It makes the defencemen's job and they make my job easier. It's a real team effort."

Calgary grabbed a 3-0 lead with an 111-second outburst early in the first period then settled into a defensive mode for the better part of 40 minutes to hold on for the win.

Kiprusoff, though, was forced to make a handful of great saves after breakdowns led to odd-man rushes and partial breakaways.

Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr was grateful his netminder was focused.

"Last night he made us look good," said Regehr. "He's always calm out there and confident, and is in the right place at the right time."

Kiprusoff got off to a rough start on the team's season opening road swing, allowing 18 goals in four games. Since then, though, he has allowed just 39 goals in 24 games for a 1.64 average.

The 29-year-old is currently tied for second in the league with Minnesota's Manny Fernandez with a 2.06 GAA. He's also tied for sixth (with Nashville's Tomas Vokoun) with a .920 save percentage.

As for the Flames shutout record, which will likely be Kiprusoff's alone by season's end, Regehr says Kiprusoff will never rest on his past achievements.

"I think that's a huge compliment for him," said Regehr. "I know he works hard with (goaltending coach) David Marcoux to continually improve his game."


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