Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A well rested Kiprusoff more than does his part

He had five periods off over the last couple of games, so when Miikka Kiprusoff got back into the nets for the Calgary Flames it was nothing but bad news for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Calgary goaltender turned aside 39 shots to earn his second shut out of the year and 26th of his career as the Flames edged the Blue Jackets 1-0.

The score was indicative of the hard work that Kiprusoff had to put in for his offensively challenged team mates, who seemed to have troubles generating any kind of offense, save Craig Conroy’s third period winning goal.

Despite their shortcomings on the offensive side of the puck on Tuesday the win was good enough to move them into a tie for first in the Northwest division, as the flames victory combined with a 4-2 loss by Minnesota to Chicago propelled the Flames into the tie for the all important division lead and its seeding possibilities for the playoffs.

Kiprusoff last saw action on Friday when he was relieved of his duties after giving up two goals on 11 shots during the Flames 3-1 loss to Anaheim. In what may make the beginnings of a goaltender controversy, coach Mike Keenan sat down the Flames number one suggesting that he wasn't taking the proper frame of mind into the games, that at least is the what Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Flames reported on Monday.

Curtis Joseph took over on Friday and played again in Saturday’s match with the Phoenix Coyotes, a 3-1 victory that moved Joseph to 448 career wins, one more than the legendary Terry Sawchuk in the overall career win category.

While Cujo’s addition to the Flames is a solid investment in a reliable veteran goaltender, the Flamers are very much Kiprusoff’s team, to see him bounce back to his stellar form with a 39 save performance will be noticed by his team mates in the Flames dressing room.

Having not given him much of a cushion to work with and waiting far too long to give him some help, they now owe him one for his work on Tuesday.

Any success for the Flames playoff run this spring will very much rest on the shoulders of Miikka Kiprusoff.

And while the odd night off is very much a key to his long term success. It’s also pretty clear that he probably doesn’t want to be sitting on the bench for more than two games in a row, even if there’s an eventual Hall of Fame goaltender ready to help out.

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