Kipper's feeling chipper

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

As the final minute ticked off the clock, Miikka Kiprusoff felt the pucks coming at him in the Calgary Flames net.

He knew the action was fast and furious as the Bruins pushed frantically for the equalizer in last night's 3-2 Flames victory.

Just don't expect Kiprusoff to know who exactly was firing the pucks he was stopping. Lord knows he couldn't see much of everything, with Zdeno Chara providing the screen of epic proportions, being 6-foot-9 and all, while Boston had the goalie pulled for the extra attacker.

"He's a big man," Kiprusoff said of the Boston defenceman. "He's pretty good around there, too, long reach. And you can't move him.

"Yeah, big man."

So what's the secret? How exactly did Kiprusoff come up with those game-saving stops to preserve the victory which runs the Flames winning streak to five?

"Butterfly," he said with a wry smile. "I'm better off looking through his five-hole. It's the only way to see something."

On a night Kiprusoff made the biggest gaffe, he whiffed on a clearing attempt and Patrice Bergeron had a wide-open net to hit to open the scoring, the Flames star goalie still managed to prove his game is dialled in.

Kiprusoff, whose big contract and big early-season goals-against-average had all kinds of critics questioning his abilities, continues to be a key cog in the club's winning spree.

While the offensive heroes keep changing, he continues to be the constant, shining between the pipes night after night.

During Calgary's winning streak, Kiprusoff has posted a sparkling 1.40 goals-against-average and .952 save percentage.

The last two games has featured the league's hottest netminder on the visiting team -- first it was the NHL's second star of the week Peter Budaj of Colorado and last night Tim Thomas, who was coming off back-to-back shutouts over Edmonton and Vancouver.

Yet it's been Kiprusoff earning the win with outstanding play.

"I've been feeling all right and it's been more than two games," he said. "It's nice to get these wins and I think all of us are playing with good confidence right now, and that's a big thing.

"We've been able to win these close games and that's good. It's how we have to play."

When Kiprusoff is on the mark, you can bet his teammates have a bit more spring in their step. It doesn't take long even for the newcomers to appreciate what he can do when the game is on the line.

"For me, it's interesting," said Michael Cammalleri. "I've played 10 games with him now and I'm kind of getting used to it. It's kind of fun knowing if you make a mistake he's going to bail you out.

"It's nice, for sure."

Not that last night started out on the right foot when Kiprusoff had a blooper as he tried to play the puck from behind his net.

"I tried to play it quickly back to our D but I missed the puck," he said. "That was totally my mistake. It's a good thing we were able to score after that and have those two points."

Although he had to wait a while to really be relied upon.

Kiprusoff's teamates responded almost immediately after the goal, and took a 3-1 lead by the time the third period was just over five minutes old.

From there, it was Kiprusoff's turn to shine and hear the cheers from the crowd.

The Bruins took their turn to play rope-a-dope, pushing until the end to somehow make it a perfect Western Canada road swing.

"That's what teams usually do, open up their game a little bit and start pushing hard," Kiprusoff said.

Right now, the Flames have no doubt Kiprusoff will be there to make the save, even if he has no hope of seeing the puck.


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