SUN Hockey Pool

Kipper clutch in win

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Miikka Kiprusoff is looking for star money in his next contract.

The Calgary Flames goalie showed why he can be part of that NHL upper echelon.

Despite surrendering goals on the first two shots he faced, Kiprusoff slammed the door shut the rest of the way to give the Flames a 3-2 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks in pre-season action last night at the Saddledome.

It was the Flames' first exhibition win and they'll try make it two in a row tonight in Edmonton.

"If your first two goals go in, you really have to make sure it's not going to be a third one because it's usually too hard to come back," Kiprusoff said. "You don't want a start like that. Anyways, I felt pretty good. It was a rough start but I felt I was seeing the puck well and was confident I would have an OK game. As the game went on, we all started playing better and better. It was a nice win."

Kristian Huselius scored twice for the Flames and Craig Conroy netted the shootout winner for the Flames (1-2-2).

"I think, certainly, it'll help boost the confidence of the group," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan.

"I think they were starting to feel a little bit tentative of their play."

"Sometimes you can see improvement in your team and in your players and you don't get the results, they're focused on. So it's good to get the results and relief for them."

San Jose's Patrick Marleau scored 30 seconds into the clash and Patrick Rissmiller made it 2-0 with only 124 seconds gone.

But the offensive heroics from Huselius -- he also scored in the shootout -- combined with a 32-save performance from Kiprusoff and hard-hitting game from the likes of Owen Nolan and Robyn Regehr added up to a hard-fought win.

"They worked through a tough beginning, a real tough beginning," Keenan said.

"That's part of what you have to do if you're gonna be a real tenacious, hard-working group."


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