CALGARY - Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Tanguay did the scoring, but credit Miikka Kiprusoff for that victory.
A concerning lack of discipline was only negated by the Calgary Flames goaltender’s strong performance while his team was shorthanded, allowing them to come back from a 1-0 deficit with a pair of late goals to pull off a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night.
“We probably didn’t do the best job staying out of the box,” said Bouwmeester. “If you’re going to be a good penalty killer, your goalie has to be your best player. That was kind of the book on these guys, they do have a good powerplay ... You know that (Kiprusoff’s) going to be there, he’s always going to make those saves, even though sometimes they’re not routine.”
He made all but one.
Tom Gilbert’s goal in the first period looked like it would stand up as the game winner for 55 minutes. It came after winger Tim Jackman got his stick up into Oilers defenceman Cam Barker’s face after a whistle.
Tanguay’s interference call in the second period washed out a Flames powerplay just when the team was gaining some momentum.
If it wasn’t a brain fart, it was a lazy play that sent Flames to the sin bin.
Cory Sarich got burned and took a hook, Curtis Glencross got his stick up high, and Mark Giordano took two infractions over the final 10 minutes for hooking and cross-checking.
But Kiprusoff’s heroics — including a couple of clutch saves in the dying moments with the Oilers net empty — got them through it unscathed.
“No, we never get bored,” grinned fellow Finn Jokinen on Kiprusoff’s play. “In our minds, he’s the best goalie in the league.
“He’s definitely earning his paycheque every night.”
AGAINST THE GLASS
Already the rumour mill churns when it comes to the Flames, with TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeting there’s talk teams are interested in kicking Rene Bourque’s tires as Flames GM Jay Feaster watches his squad sputter out of the gate. I wouldn’t expect it to happen unless there’s a decent return that can help the team right away. At the same time, Bourque is regarded as a satisfied underachiever here, and Feaster has made an effort to put his own stamp on the look of the team since taking over. Then again, maybe the early talk is just a ploy to motivate one of the team’s most talented snipers ... Decent debut from C Brendan Morrison, who apparently is recovered enough from knee surgery to dominate in the faceoff circle.
IN THE CREASE
The Flames should get Mike Vernon to present all their pre-game awards. He handed Miikka Kiprusoff a cheque for charity before puck drop to celebrate the Finnish netminder’s new franchise wins record (263) and the normally stoic and disinterested Kiprusoff actually looked like he enjoyed himself ... Must have been tough for Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond to sit in the box for most of the first period in his season debut after jumping to the defence of linemate Tim Jackman — who normally doesn’t need defending — Jackman was accosted by Oilers goon Ben Eager on their first shift, but didn’t want to drop gloves. Leblond and Eager took 10-minute misconducts for aggressive behaviour ... Jackman took a dumb penalty on his next tour of the ice, raking his shaft down Cam Barker’s mug. The Oilers’ Tom Gilbert scored on the powerplay ... Barker took his own stupid penalty late in the period, interfering with David Moss’ progress on a rush. The Flames, though, couldn’t make good on the man-advantage ...
Priceless pressbox reaction: Eric Francis — who prides himself on fashion (as you may have noticed on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Hotstove) and golf etiquette — takes serious offence to a video on the big screen during the second intermission showing Flames winger Tim Jackman golfing in jeans in Minnesota this summer ... Can’t confirm it, but rumours flew during the third period that even former Wild coach Jacques Lemaire fell asleep watching the Flames/Oilers on TV Tuesday night. Maybe the blast of the horns late in the game woke him up.
On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane