Smiling Kipper kicks back

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

As he took off the last pieces of his equipment following Tuesday night's win, Miikka Kiprusoff was asked how much better an off-day would be.

On the heels of Calgary's 3-2 comeback win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames netminder and all his teammates were afforded a "recovery day" yesterday before preparing for Saturday's clash against the archrival Edmonton Oilers, which happens to be the team's final regular-season home game.

Coming off an important win, the R 'n' R had to be better?

"For sure," Kiprusoff said with a grin. "It's nicer to recuperate after such a good game."

It could have been a really bad time for Kiprusoff had the Flames not regrouped from the two-goal deficit against the Canucks. Especially since he surrendered two goals 12 seconds apart in the first period, including a Daniel Sedin shot from behind the goal line.

"It's part of the game, things like that can happen, hopefully not too often," Kiprusoff said. "You can't worry about it, it's a huge game, and there was still a lot of games left. The only thing I can do is make sure they don't score any more."

Which he did, with a handful of critical saves -- the best being back-to-back stops on Taylor Pyatt early in the final frame -- that helped the Flames vault into top spot in the Northwest Division.

The unfortunate part for the Flames is the fact their perch was short-lived.

Before the Flames host their provincial rivals, all four other Northwest teams will have played twice. All four teams made up one of those games last night.

Minnesota beat Edmonton 3-1 to grab back first place, putting the Oilers on the brink of missing the playoffs.

Colorado moved into seventh place with a 6-3 victory over Vancouver, to move two points up on the Canucks and two back of the Flames.

Dropping out of first place less than 24 hours after taking over the top spot, doesn't worry Kiprusoff.

"It's not something for me to do. I watch games with teams we're going to play next, but otherwise, I'm not big for standings," Kiprusoff said. "It's easier for me to just concentrate on the next game. Maybe some other guys need that but for me it's different."

Besides, when the Flames do return for their final five games, their playoff future is completely in their control.

They'll have games in hand on all their division rivals and the opportunity to decide their own destiny.

"It's a good situation," Kiprusoff said. "If we do our job, we're fine."


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