SUN Hockey Pool

Kipper steals show in L.A.

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Modest as always, Miikka Kiprusoff said he had no trouble dealing with the shelling for a second straight night.

Thirty-six shots came his way, and the Calgary Flames goaltender stopped them all.

"We played pretty well," Kiprusoff said with a straight face after shutting out the Los Angeles Kings 2-0 at the Staples Center. "They were shooting a lot, but most of the shots, I saw them, and our D took care of the rest."

Michael Cammalleri was more honest.

"He's being nice. He's being a team guy. That's the kind of personality he has -- he'll downplay how well he played -- but he stopped just as many great shots if not more," said Cammalleri, whose first-period powerplay goal was the winner a night after the Flames lost to the Anaheim Ducks in nearly carbon-copy fashion.

"We left him out to dry again tonight, didn't we?

"We can't put that much pressure on our goaltender. It just shows you how good he actually is."

No one deserves a day off in Phoenix more than Kiprusoff.

The Flames will all enjoy some sunshine and relaxation today after back-to-back games in California.

But it's not exactly a reward.

More a necessary time out -- especially for Kiprusoff, who faced 76 shots in two nights.

"We get to go sit on the bench a little bit," said defenceman Cory Sarich, who admitted the blueline brigade is beat. "He doesn't get much of a chance. Exhausting.

"A win is a win, but other than that there's lots of improvement (to be made). We had trouble getting the puck out of our end.

"We need to get our forecheck going a little earlier because we spend too much time in our end, guys get too worn down and tired."

Cammalleri's goal 8:58 into the game was the only one until Rene Bourque added an empty netter with 36 seconds left.

Luckily for the Flames, Kiprusoff was up to the task again.

His team gave up the lead twice in Anaheim the night before in a 3-2 overtime loss, and the Flames would have liked to correct their mistakes and give Kiprusoff more support.

Things looked much the same in Hollywood as they did in Orange County, however, as the Kings peppered the Flames net.

Scoring chances going the other way were more scarce, and they missed out on a few opportunities to increase their lead.

Mark Giordano hit a post in the second period, and Todd Bertuzzi lost the handle and ended up looking for someone to pass to on a sudden breakaway.

They found themselves in penalty trouble far too often, and were facing a team that didn't seem to realize it was supposed to be tired after a long trip in the east.

The well-deserved shutout was Kiprusoff's first since Dec. 7 against the Rangers in New York, and his fourth of the season.

It couldn't have come at a better time.

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GAME OVER

SUN'S THREE STARS

1. Miikka Kiprusoff, Flames -- His team's best player for second straight night.

2. Michael Cammalleri, Flames -- Scored his 29th of the season.

3. Alexander Frolov, Kings -- He's always dangerous against the Flames.

REPORT CARD

Overall: C+

Offence: C

Defence: C-

Goaltending: A

Powerplay: B

Penalty kill: A

UNSUNG HERO

Dion Phaneuf's big hits have rattled the opposition a little the last couple of nights if not inspired his own teammates.

WHY FLAMES WON

One goal was enough thanks to Miikka Kiprusoff's hot goaltending. It was one they probably didn't deserve.

HIT OF THE GAME

Dion Phaneuf levelled rookie D Drew Doughty near centre ice in the third period, almost as hard as he hit Ducks centre Andrew Ebbett Wednesday in Anaheim.

GOAL OF THE GAME

A picture-perfect pass through traffic from Todd Bertuzzi to Michael Cammalleri parked at the far post on a first-period powerplay handed the Flames sniper his 29th goal of the season and his team a 1-0 lead.

SCRATCHES

CALGARY -- RW Brandon Prust, D Jim Vandermeer (ankle), C Wayne Primeau (foot), D Rhett Warrener (shoulder).

LOS ANGELES -- C Derek Armstrong, RW John Zeiler, D Denis Gauther (suspension).

WHAT IT MEANS

Their first win away from home in five attempts, but proof their game still isn't what it needs to be on the road.

UP NEXT

TONIGHT: Calgary Flames at Phoenix Coyotes, Jobing.com Arena, 8 p.m., CBC, FAN 960

NOTABLES

A ceremonial start to the game for Black History Month featured Tony McKegney -- the first black man to score 40 goals in the NHL -- dropping the puck for RW Jarome Iginla and Kings RW Wayne Simmonds, who considers Iginla an idol ... Former Edmonton Oilers C Jarret Stoll is having a good year with the Kings. He's got 13 goals and 31 points with a team-best plus-8 rating ... Rookie C Oscar Moller, Simmonds and D Kyle Quincey rent Flames LW Michael Cammalleri's South Bay home ... RW Alexander Frolov has 19 points in 20 career games against the Flames ... Iginla has 48 points (24 goals, 24 assists) in 46 games against the Kings ... Moller played his first game since fracturing his clavicle after the world juniors ...


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