Redemption song

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

Calgary Flames fans were treated to quite a show last night at the 'Dome.

Call it Revenge of the Kipper.

Not a horror movie, but more of a feel-good story.

Only a few nights removed from quite possibly his worst performance of the season, the embattled Flames goaltender came through in the fashion that's made him one of the NHL's best netminders.

Kiprusoff stopped 24 shots, 11 in the third period alone, to help the Flames ring in the new year in fine fashion with a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

"I could tell he was going to be (good) because he was the first player here this morning and he was the last player to leave after the skate," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan. "I could see him, I watched him all day long, and knew he was up to the task.

"He played an excellent game for us."

It's the first time this season the Flames have beat their Northwest Division rivals, after dropping the first four encounters.

The worst of those for Kiprusoff was the last one, when he was beat for five goals on 20 shots in a 5-3 loss.

Afterwards, he was targeted by Keenan as well as the Flames faithful.

Heck, even Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault took a pot shot at Kiprusoff after that game in Vancouver.

Kiprusoff said he didn't hear about those comments -- although, it could be said that was bad karma for Vigneault anyway -- and denied having extra motivation for the game.

"I don't need to do that, personally. It was a huge game and we needed the points," he stated. "We knew we had to win. If you look at the season series, we needed to win, for sure."

Added Daymond Langkow, who collected a pair of assists: "It takes everybody to win and when you don't, it's not one guy's fault. He was definitely focused tonight, made the big saves at key times in the game. As a result, we got a win."

It didn't start out too well for Kiprusoff, though, before the boisterous Saddledome sell-out crowd of 19,289.

Henrik Sedin scored on the game's first shot to put the visitors ahead less than three minutes into the game.

However, Owen Nolan tied the score before the first period ended and Kristian Huselius netted the game-winner with just over a minute remaining in the second period.

From there, it became the Kiprusoff show.

He was at his best during a third-period Vancouver powerplay, stopping four shots, while Alex Tanguay and Stephane Yelle chipped in with huge blocks.

It put a stamp on the night for Calgary, which was perfect in killing four Vancouver powerplays on the night.

During the previous four meetings this season, Vancouver clicked at an impressive 36.4% rate with the man advantage.

"It was a big challenge for us to do a better job killing," Kiprusoff said. "We haven't done a good job this year. It's big for the whole team to see you kill them."

Calgary (19-14-7) won consecutive home games for only the third time this season.

The Canucks (22-14-4) still sit atop the Northwest.

The Flames finish the homestand tomorrow against the New York Rangers.


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