Knockout performance

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff wraps up Sabres forward Paul Gaustad last night at the Pengrowth...

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff wraps up Sabres forward Paul Gaustad last night at the Pengrowth Saddledome. (Sun Media/Jim Wells)

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

The hats were thrown for Michael Cammalleri, but it was a one-two punch from Miikka Kiprusoff and Todd Bertuzzi that knocked out the Buffalo Sabres last night.

Giving up the lead and handing the visitors momentum with less than a minute to play in the second period, the Calgary Flames were on their heels early in the third.

But a stellar save by Kiprusoff was quickly followed by the winning goal from Bertuzzi, and the Flames took over to claim a 5-2 victory.

Not long after Kiprusoff denied Daniel Paille's patient attempt, Bertuzzi was sent in alone on Ryan Miller courtesy a long pass from Adrian Aucoin that the big winger tipped past defenceman Toni Lydman for the breakaway.

Making up for earlier opportunities to shoot that he chose to dish off, Bertuzzi stuck a perfect wrister right under the bar.

The Flames never looked back as Cammalleri added his second and third goals of the night to suck out whatever wind was left in the Sabres' sails.

"I'm not one of those guys who gets a tremendous amount of opportunities out there. I seem to be on the other end trying to set it up. To be honest with you, I actually enjoy that a lot more," said Bertuzzi. "But when I get my chances, I want to make sure I'm hard on it and I make it count.

"It was just a matter of trying to tip it past (Lydman) and just get on my horse. The puck was rolling around quite a bit, so I wanted to make sure I got a decent play off."

His game-winning goal in a shootout against the Columbus Blue Jackets last Wednesday was planned. Last night's move was improved.

"That one was instinct," said Bertuzzi. "I wasn't expecting the puck to be rolling around that much. I ended up getting it to sit down and I thought I'd change it up and go forehand roof. Glad it worked out.

"It was a big win coming off the break like that, being a little bit rusty."

Speaking of rusty, Miller certainly wasn't at his best in the second of back-to-back nights in Western Canada.

Turnovers contributed to his misfortune, but Dion Phaneuf's fifth goal of the season to give the Flames a 2-0 lead early in the second period was just plain bad.

Phaneuf's centring pass hit the Sabres goalie and squeaked through his legs and over the line.

While Miller looked tired at the other end of the rink after playing in a 10-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers the night before at Rexall Place, Kiprusoff was fresh.

His save on Paille swung the momentum back in his team's favour, and put rookie defenceman Adam Pardy in his debt.

"I had to thank Kipper there, he really saved my (butt)," said Pardy, who was burned wide by the speedy Sabres winger. "I made a terrible read there. I thought he was going to pull up. It was a bad play by me, but I thanked Kipper for bailing me out."

Kiprusoff was thanking Lady Luck a little for his 29th win of the season.

"I think they hit the post three times today, so I was a little lucky there," the Finn said with a grin.

The netminder wasn't even sure Paille didn't give the Sabres the lead on that great move as he just stretched his right pad far enough over to smother the puck.

"He had me there. He was able to skate all the way through," said Kiprusoff.

"It was pretty close. I wasn't sure if it was a goal or not -- I guess not because they didn't check it out after.

"It was a good feeling to stop that."


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