Goalie in the Kip of time

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

Every goalie surrenders the odd stinker.

Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff doesn't allow many, but he sure did early in the second period of Calgary's 6-4 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on New Year's Eve.

The impressive part was how he responded.

After he was beat through the legs by Lubomir Visnovsky's unscreened point shot to put his team down 3-2, Kiprusoff essentially slammed the door shut.

In spectacular fashion, to boot.

Could there have been a little anger in allowing a dud of a goal like that?

"I always blame my d-men, so that's the defenceman's fault. I never think it's my fault," Kiprusoff deadpanned.

Then came the laughter.

Followed by the honesty.

"Things like that happen," he said. "It's all about winning. You have to win 1-0 games and 5-4 games, it doesn't matter. You just have to win.

"It was some weird goals. We were the better team all the way, but those first two periods, there was a couple of goals like that.

"It was tough, but it's pretty nice our forwards played to get those two points."

The Flames, led by five-point nights by both Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri, erased the deficit and went onto what became a seemingly one-sided victory over their provincial rivals.

In fact, Erik Cole's meaningless tally with eight seconds remaining put a blemish on Kiprusoff's performance over the final 38 minutes.

But for the majority of the final two periods, he came up with all kinds of big stops, especially in the final frame.

He robbed sophomore Sam Gagner with his trapper, denied Liam Reddox right after it became a 5-3 game and did the same to Cole, Shawn Horcoff and Dustin Penner when the game was still in doubt.

He put a capper on the night with another glove save on Andrew Cogliano.

Cammalleri couldn't help but rave about the glove save on Gagner that came amidst a flurry of action.

"You've got to make a great read and be quick enough to get there," Cammalleri said. "For me, it's tremendous to play with this guy. He's the best goalie I've ever played with."

The way Kiprusoff honed his game when his team needed it most couldn't be missed, as pointed out by the offensive catalysts.

"That shows his competitiveness and how good he is and how professional he is," Cammalleri said. "I'm sure he wasn't happy about letting in a few early, but he said, 'That's it.' We scored a few goals for him and he said, 'I'm shutting the door and we're winning this game.'

"When you can rely on your goaltender like that, I can't tell you how huge it is for a team."

Kiprusoff's goals-against average (2.84) and save percentage (.901) aren't at the elite levels fans expect of him. He does lead the NHL with 22 wins, the latest being with four goals allowed but a gritty second half by providing the saves when needed most.

"We were able to score those couple of goals, so you know they're going to come back hard. They did fight back, but it's a good feeling when you don't have your best night but still win the game," he said.

"I just tried to focus on the puck and get us the chance to get those two points."


Videos

Photos