April 20, 2004
Kipper's cool like Fonzie
By TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun


 VANCOUVER -- Miikka Kiprusoff was asked mid-series if anything about the game of hockey ever rattles him.

 His answer was as cool and collected as his demeanour.

 "No."

 Not even a first-ever Game 7 start in the NHL, Miikka?

 One that followed a so-so performance of allowing five goals in a triple-overtime loss just two nights earlier?

 "No, I felt good," reiterated Kiprusoff after last night's 3-2 series-clinching win over the host Vancouver Canucks.

 "I knew it was going to be a tough game again. It was a tough series.

 "And Game 7 OT, it was fun."

 It was a harried Game 7, to be sure.

 But there was Kiprusoff standing calm and confident, again.

 Twice the Canucks tied the game, both times by Matt Cooke, including his second goal of the game with just 5.7 seconds left to force overtime.

 "We were confident," said Kiprusoff about his club's own demeanour after the contest.

 "We knew we were going to have some powerplay time.

 "Everybody was confident."

 Especially the netminder, who made 26 saves.

 "What can you say? He's playing great -- like he's been all series, all year," said defenceman Mike Commodore.

 "He's a huge reason why we're here"

 "I suppose if I was in net, I'd get rattled after that late goal."

 Indeed, just usual stuff from the Flames' biggest find of the season.

 After giving up four or more goals five times during the regular season, on three occasions Kiprusoff rebounded to allow just one goal to earn victories.

 He also did that in Game 2 after losing 5-3 in the series opener.

 After allowing five goals in Saturday night's triple-overtime, it was almost expected he'd come up big again.

 "I don't think about that too much," Kiprusoff said.

 "But I was confident. To be on this team, it doesn't happen too often to let in five goals.

 "The defencemen just did their job (last night)."

 And he did, too.

 Time and time again.

 Especially while his teammates were playing shorthanded.

 The Flames again took too many penalties.

 In the first period, Kiprusoff turned aside a nifty redirection by Daniel Sedin. Then in the second period, Kiprusoff again turned away Daniel Sedin on a flurry at the side of the crease. It was timely enough to allow the Flames to kill off the penalty and quickly turn the play up-ice for Jarome Iginla's conversion of Craig Conroy's backhand pass on a two on one.

 In the Canucks' bid to square the affair on yet another powerplay later in the middle stanza, Kiprusoff let his left leg do the talking.

 Mike Keane, showing perseverance all evening, drove the net and jammed away at a loose puck in front of the Flames net. But Kiprusoff got enough of it with his goal pad to get the whistle and a stoppage in play before Keane pushed it across the goal-line.

 In the third period, he faced 11 more pucks and a hulking Ed Jovanovski in front of the net. Finally, the Canucks tied it.

 But the feeling is Kiprusoff would have thwarted the Canucks again in OT.

 "It feels great. Tough game again," Kiprusoff said. "They scored late but we came back huge. It was great."

 Nothing exciting for the goalie, though.

 "I never see this guy get excited," Commodore added.

 "Well, he just got excited after the game."


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