Kipper solid for Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Hovering just a few rows up from ice level in the corner, the Madison Square Garden press box gives the media a reminder of just how fast the game really is.

Even more so when you are watching the New York Rangers, who needed just a dozen seconds to show off their speed after the opening faceoff last night as they blazed in and nearly scored on a barely settled Miikka Kiprusoff.

But Kiprusoff was up to the task, getting his left toe on Ryan Callahan's re-direction, and was perfect the rest of the way as his Calgary Flames blanked the Rangers 3-0.

The score didn't do the home side justice in a rare meeting between the two teams.

The Rangers had plenty of chances and hit a post or two along the way as they outshot the Flames 31-20.

"I thought they played a pretty good game," said Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr. "We knew that they were disappointed in their last couple of games ... so we knew they'd be ready. We just tried to weather the storm."

They did, and got a goal from captain Jarome Iginla late in the second period, another from David Moss early in the third, and the nail in the coffin from Rene Bourque with two minutes to play to help Kiprusoff earn his third shutout of the season.

You have to wonder how different things would have gone had their netminder missed that puck on the first shift.

Callahan was streaking to the net under duress from Regehr and knocked a great pass from defenceman Eric Staal toward the open side.

"That's not the way you want to start the game, that's for sure," said Regehr, who took a hooking penalty in the process but kept Callahan from getting the rebound.

"I thought I had him under the stick enough, but he was still able to get a little piece of the puck, and Miikka, thank goodness, his pad was there to make the save."

Kiprusoff appreciated that infraction.

"Oh yeah, it was a good penalty by Regehr. It was an empty net," he said. "I don't know what happened, but I think he slowed down that puck and I was able to throw my leg there."

If the Rangers looked fast in the first period, they were even more impressive in the second as they fired a dozen more pucks at Kiprusoff and limited the Flames to just two.

Those came seconds apart with little more than four minutes to play in the frame -- and the Flames made them count by taking the lead.

Iginla's 14th of the season came after Dion Phaneuf's blast from the point was stopped by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and a juicy rebound came out to Michael Cammalleri. The newest No.-1 centre had his attempt blocked, but it went right to an open Iginla for the tap-in and a 1-0 advantage.

Not a bad way to use your only two shots of the period.

"You're going to have those periods sometimes," said Moss, who re-directed a pass from Todd Bertuzzi off the inside of the far-side post and in to make it 2-0 in the third.

"When you do, I think that's why we have Kipper in net. He really bailed us out tonight."

Bourque finished the host Rangers off with two minutes remaining on a nice individual effort.

Taking a great pass off the boards from Craig Conroy, Bourque moved in and wired a shot at Lundqvist, then charged into the corner and beat a Rangers defenceman along the boards to pick up his rebound. He carried it around the back of the net and then popped a wrist shot under Lundqvist's arm to prompt a collective groan from the New York crowd.

"That's how we have to play if we want to win," Kiprusoff said. "Play smart with lots of patience. It was a pretty good example of how we want to play."


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