SUN Hockey Pool

Smith fills in for Kiprusoff

Calgary defencman Derek Smith. (QMI Agency)

Calgary defencman Derek Smith. (QMI Agency)

Steve MacFarlane, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:42 AM ET

DENVER — As well as Miikka Kiprusoff played, the save of the game goes to defenceman Derek Smith.

Smith smartly parked himself behind his goaltender during a scramble in the second period of the Calgary Flames’ 2-1 win in Denver, and after Colorado Avalanche winger Daniel Winnik missed the loose puck out between the hash marks and the top of the crease, rookie Gabriel Landeskog whacked at it.

He would have scored as it slipped past Kiprusoff, only to be knocked away by Smith to preserve the 2-1 lead.

One for the highlight reels and another reason Smith finds himself in the Flames lineup more often than not.

IN THE CREASE

Mixing things up thanks to injury and underwhelming performances in Buffalo, the Flames debuted their Toronto Maple Leaf line in Denver. Matt Stajan played between fellow former Leafs Niklas Hagman and Lee Stempniak for most of the night ... Just to show how much older the Flames are compared to the Avalanche, take a look at the over-30 club. The Flames have nine players in that department. The Avs, just three. When it comes to players under 25, the Flames have just two. The Avs have nine youngsters and another pair right on that mark ... Nice to see rookie Flames C Roman Horak get a chance with Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla. He’s earned a shot in GM Jay Feaster’s so-called “Meritocracy” ... With Brendan Morrison and Cory Sarich scratched, some might be wondering whether their injuries from last year are lingering. In Morrison’s case, there’s no question he’s not nearly as quick as a year ago. It typically takes a full year to recover from serious knee surgery. Sarich hasn’t reported any soreness publicly, but he may be hurting, too. His pelvic problem is essentially chronic. Both watched from the press box with an injured David Moss, who took a shot in the foot and is still sore.

AGAINST THE GLASS

Chuck Kobasew is loving life in Denver, but even though he’s not yet 30, he’s up near the top of the veteran ranks among the youthful Colorado Avalanche players. “They try to make me feel old, that’s for sure. I still don’t feel old. I’m still in my 20s. But it’s fun working with those guys. It reminds me of my first couple of years in the league. Lots of questions,” Kobasew said. “They just remind me how old I am. I’m probably fourth oldest on the team. We’ve got a handful of guys who are in their 30s or (almost) in their 30s. They remind me I’m a part of that group.” ... Kobasew says rookie LW Landeskog is “18 going on 25,” but the impressive Swede hasn’t completely left junior life behind despite jumping to the pros. Landeskog lives with a billet family in Denver. One of his hobbies is playing hockey with his eight- and six-year-old ‘little brothers’. “We’ve got a little net in the backyard that we shoot on and take some penalty shots and all that stuff. It’s a lot of fun,” Landeskog said. “It really has worked out great for me so far. They’re really taking care of me. I’m like the big brother of the family.”

PARTING SHOTS

Hey, Erik Johnson, didn’t anyone teach you not to turn your legs when blocking a shot? The Avalanche defenceman exposed an unprotected area and took a Iginla slapshot that clearly stung. Getting to the bench was painful, but he sucked it up and didn’t miss a shift. 


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