NASHVILLE — Miikka Kiprusoff has the distinction of having surrendered what may be the goal of the year already this season.
The Calgary Flames netminder may also have the title of having made the save of the year.
Late in the second period of Tuesday’s 1-0 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators, Kiprusoff committed larceny against Martin Erat.
The Predators sniper figured he was about to bat home a rebound chance into a wide-open net on the powerplay to break open the scoreless affair, only to see Kiprusoff kick out his right leg in time to make a highlight-reel stop.
“I was on the bench and saw it. It was unbelievable,” said Flames forward Brendan Morrison, who was on the opposite side of Kiprusoff’s brilliance over the years.
“You automatically think that can be the save of the year. He dove across, kinda in desperation and made a big save at a big time of the game.
“You could sense it was a tight game and the team that was gonna score first would probably win. The importance of that save was just magnified that much more.”
Kiprusoff stopped 34 shots en route to his first shutout of the season and 35th of his career.
Considering the result, it was the difference.
“I kinda lost the puck for a bit and saw he had pretty much an open net,” Kiprusoff said.
“Good thing somebody gave him a little pressure and he couldn’t put it upstairs, and I was able to throw my leg out there.”
The Flames aren’t destined to be a high-scoring team, which makes the reliance on Kiprusoff to turn in a number of top-shelf games performances all the more important.
“That’s how it is now. Pretty much every game is a one-goal game,” Kiprusoff said.
“I felt good today. In the third period, we felt we were taking it over and had better chances and were pushing hard.
“I had a pretty good feeling we were going to win the game. It took over 60 minutes, but it was a pretty good team game.”