SUN Hockey Pool

What a waste!

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Miikka Kiprusoff allowed four goals, and his goals-against-average went down. Normally, that wouldn't be a good sign for the Calgary Flames.

However, lost in the kerfuffle of the officiating controversy in last night's 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers was that Kiprusoff had his best game of the young season. And his teammates wasted it.

"I thought he made some great saves, especially early when they did have a big push," said captain Jarome Iginla. "We know he's a competitor in there. We have complete confidence in him. We have to be better in front of him, and we're going to keep working at doing that."

Through four games, Kiprusoff has surrendered 19 goals -- hardly a recipe for success or the expectations of the former Vezina Trophy winner.

From the opening faceoff last night, Kiprusoff faced a relentless Oilers attack and held strong.

First-period shots on goal was every bit the 15-8 edge that favoured Edmonton, yet Calgary was even on the scoreboard.

The lone blemish was Andrew Cogliano's deflection of a high point shot.

"He was solid," defenceman Cory Sarich said.

"I don't think we were at our best in the first period and he held us right there, gave us a chance."

The dam burst when Edmonton netted three second-period powerplay goals amidst the steady stream of Flames sent to the sin bin.

"Those are tough ones on the goalie," Iginla said.

"He was under attack there for a while continually."

All told, Kiprusoff stopped 31 shots.

At the other end, Oilers goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers faced 29 shots in his first NHL game.

Drouin-Deslauriers deserves kudos for coming through in his league debut, but the Flames didn't put enough pressure on the netminder who was shaky at times.

"We're trying to get things at him, but it's hard to generate when we get ourselves into penalty trouble," Iginla said.

"We definitely wanted to throw more at him.

"We've got to find ways to switch that around."

Switching around Kiprusoff's season would be a good idea, too.

Last night's performance was a solid step in the right direction, but not quite enough, as pointed out by head coach Mike Keenan.

When asked how he rated Kiprusoff's performance, Keenan simply said: "He's part of the penalty killing unit. We had three powerplay goals scored against us."


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