When the Calgary Flames have needed him most, Miikka Kiprusoff has been a rock to lean on.
They've been leaning on him heavily lately and during a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at the Saddledome last night, Kiprusoff finally collapsed under the weight.
The defending Vezina winner usually shines when entering the third period with a lead or a tie. But while he made some great saves earlier in the game, soft ones from Brian Rolston and Pavol Demitra slipped through his cushions.
"It was a close game and, from my point of view, a couple of pretty soft goals go in. It was a pretty bad game from me," said Kiprusoff, who admitted the game-winning slapshot 4:47 into the final frame from Rolston was one he would love back. "It was a tight game in the third when Rolston put the slapshot in. That's probably the worst, you don't want to let that in.
"There's not too much I can do now about it but you want to win these close games, the goalie should stop those shots."
Paul Stastny's deciding goal Denver was a bad angle tally that slipped through the cracks as Kiprusoff protected his post . The eighth-seeded Flames can ill-afford ones like that as they try to get their game together to fend off a charging Avalanche squad that has narrowed the gap.
Asked if Kiprusoff's game was uncharacteristic last night, Flames head coach Jim Playfair answered with one word.