Kipper bounces back

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:11 PM ET


 A hearty 'KIP-PER, KIP-PER, KIP-PER' chant rattled the Saddledome's rafters last night -- three hours before he earned a shutout.

 The cheers rained down again once the Flames' 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning was in the books, with goalie Miikka Kiprusoff earning his fifth shutout of these playoffs.

 Calgary Flames fans are obviously confident the team's goalie will play great after allowing four or more goals the previous outing and his teammates seem convinced by the trend, too.

 After falling to the Lightning 4-1 in Tampa Thursday, Kiprusoff made 21 saves last night for yet another shutout.

 Kiprusoff now has a 7-1 record this post-season following a loss and is 8-0 when allowing four or more goals the previous game.

 He now has a 1.00 goals-against average and an .958 save percentage following a game in which four pucks slip past him.

 "We didn't give them many chances today," said the modest Finn, acquired by Flames GM-head coach Darryl Sutter last November in a trade with his old team in San Jose.

 "We played good defence and scored some goals tonight."

 Kiprusoff's best effort was a blocker save in the second period on a Brad Richards breakaway.

 Flames winger Chris Simon scored the winner seconds later.

 "Tampa Bay has got some skilled players and before the series started, I knew there would be some breakaways. I just knew I had to be ready and stop those guys," Kiprusoff pointed out. "It was (a) shutout today but that doesn't help me for the next game. I have to do everything the same way I've been doing it all the time. And if our team plays like it did tonight, it's a good sign there's not going to be four goals next game, either."

 Kiprusoff also credited improved play by the Flames defence, limiting the Lightning's chances.

 "It's the whole team and we worked much harder than we did last game," Kiprusoff suggested.

 "The reason we're here is because of Kipper," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

 "Our whole season, he played great ... the reason we're here is because he's the best goalie in the league."

 Centre Craig Conroy said the breakaway stop on Richards swung the game in Calgary's favour.

 "That's a huge point in the game and Kipper came up big giving us a chance," Conroy said.

 "It would have been (1-0) and all-of-a-sudden we come back and 34 seconds later we scored, so it's a huge save.

 "It seems like he always bounces back for us and that's a huge thing that Kipper bounces back and has a great game.

 "I don't think he had a bad game last game but he gave up four and four seems like the magic number.

 "When we do give up four or more, it seems like the next game he's very tough to beat."

 Stats this post-season show it's next to impossible.


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