SUN Hockey Pool

Kipper shines in victory

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

Whatever elixir cured Miikka Kiprusoff's illness earlier this week should be bottled sold.

Apparently, it's a magic potion.

The Calgary Flames netminder, who missed a start due to sickness, came up with a second straight brilliant performance between the pipes in last night's 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers.

"He had the eyes going tonight," said forward Eric Nystrom. "He was making saves on deflections and really seeing the puck well.

"We need him to do that, win some games for us. We've got to be a little better in front of him, but that was a huge win."

Pick any player for the visiting Rangers. He was stoned by Kiprusoff along the way in a 32-save performance for a third-straight win which improved Calgary's record to 10-4-1.

In the opening minutes, Kiprusoff stumped Wade Redden, Vinny Prospal and Brandon Dubinsky during a wild flurry.

On several occasions, he turned aside offerings from Chris Higgins.

And he was simply magical whenever Marian Gaborik had a golden chance.

"I'm feeling all right. It was a quick one," Kiprusoff said of the cold which relegated him to backup duty in Dallas. "Sometimes, those things can take a couple games, but the last game, I felt all right and today was back to normal."

If "normal" means holding the fort behind a team that was sloppy for long stretches.

"I thought was a good game for us after the first period," said captain Jarome Iginla, who netted the winner. "The first period wasn't as intense as it should have been for us and our legs weren't going as much, so we didn't get as many hits or create as much. They're a good team, are playing well, and we got better as the game went on."

On a night all about remembrance -- Canada's war dead were honoured prior to the game and all 19,289 on hand at the Saddledome were awaiting to see what fallout would come from Sean Avery's return to Calgary -- the Flames yet again had a strong start when Daymond Langkow opened the scoring less than four minutes into the tilt.

However, the Flames went through a steady stream of turnovers and miscues to give the quick-skating Rangers hope to pull back, which they did when defenceman Dan Girardi sent a long point shot that found paydirt.

But Iginla's powerplay goal, his fourth goal in the last three games, put the hosts ahead late in the middle frame and Rene Bourque added the insurance goal. Nigel Dawes assisted on all three Calgary goals.

Steve Valiquette stopped 19 shots for the Rangers (10-7-1).

The Rangers also suffered a major blow when captain Chris Drury left the game early in the first period with a concussion.

Drury, a former Flame, was readying for a breakout pass that never came. Instead, Calgary's Curtis Glencross caught him with a hit that sent him to the ice.

Dubinsky left the game early in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

Calgary next embarks on a three-game road trip that begins Tuesday in Montreal before heading to Buffalo and Toronto, and has confidence.

"It's a big win," said head coach Brent Sutter. "We were sluggish in the first period ... but we'll take the points. Those are two big points, but our team can play better."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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