Kiprusoff made 26 saves for his NHL-leading seventh shutout and
the Flames beat the San Jose Sharks 2-0 Saturday night.
"It's been the same way all season," Kiprusoff said. "You
just have to take one game at a time and can't look too far forward
because every game is huge."
His best stop was a spectacular effort against Marcel Goc
halfway through the second period that protected the Flames'
Darting into the Flames zone, Goc cut to the middle and turned
Jason Wiemer inside out. Goc then eluded Bryan Marchment's poke
check attempt, and fired a shot that appeared headed for the top
corner before Kiprusoff grabbed it with his glove.
"That's the one that really sticks out," Sharks coach Ron
Wilson said. "It was a great move and a great shot and he came up
with a great save."
Kiprusoff also leads the NHL with 31 victories. The Flames have
scored only 13 goals in the seven shutouts.
"Kipper is a confident guy right now back there and,
defensively, they're one of the best teams in the league," said
Sharks goalie and Kiprusoff's former teammate Evgeni Nabokov.
"Their identity is they're not going to score four or five goals,
they're going to score two or three, but it's going to be enough to
San Jose is 10th in the Western Conference, six points behind
eighth place Edmonton in the playoff race.
"We've got to realize how important these games are," San Jose
defenseman Scott Hannan said. "The way teams can get points
nowadays, especially with the amount of games we have left, we
can't let these things slip as it's really hard to make up
Jarome Iginla and Chris Simon scored for Northwest
Division-leading Calgary, which holds a two-point lead over
Vancouver and a three-point advantage against Colorado. Iginla
stretched Calgary's lead to 2-0 with 4:41 remaining.
As Hannan attempted to keep in a puck inside the Calgary blue
line, he was bowled over by Mike Leclerc. Hannan left the puck free
for Iginla, who raced away on a breakaway and beat Nabokov through
Kiprusoff's busiest stretch came midway through the first period
when teammates Shean Donovan and Darren McCarty were called for
minor penalties 24 seconds apart.
During the extended power play, the Sharks recorded 10 shots on
goal -- six coming during the 1:36 stretch of two-man advantage.
Joe Thornton was thwarted twice in a row from the side of the
net, and Kiprusoff jabbed out his pad to kick aside Jonathan
Cheechoo's dangerous shot from the slot. Sharks defenseman Tom
Pressing was also turned aside twice from in close.
"We knew the Sharks are real hungry now hunting for a playoff
spot so we knew it was going to be a tough game," Kiprusoff said.
Simon gave Calgary the lead just 3:04 in.
During a prolonged scramble in front of the Sharks net, San Jose
failed on a couple of attempts to clear the puck. Simon was able to
knock it past Nabokov.
"We had some good chances, but we didn't bear down and score
when we had to," Hannan said. "We had the shots and the
opportunity to win the game but it just didn't happen."
The Sharks finished 0-for-6 on the power play after converting
nine times in their previous 22 chances.
"The Sharks have a pretty good power play, they move the puck
around so good," Kiprusoff said. "Our killers did a great job of
letting me see the puck."
Calgary was 0-for-7 with the man advantage. San Jose has killed
off 27 straight short-handed situations over six games.
The Sharks have been shut out only three times this season, but
the blankings have all come in their last 13 games.
Calgary LW Kristian Huselius (foot) was replaced in the
lineup by Wiemer, a healthy scratch the previous five games. ...
San Jose is 7-17-6 when allowing the first goal, compared to 21-6-2
when taking a 1-0 lead. The Sharks are 15-0 when they score the
first two goals.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome Location: Calgary, Alberta
Referees: Bill McCreary, Tim Peel Linesmen: Ryan Galloway, Brad Lazarowich
Attendance: 19,289 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Chris Simon (6)
Assists: Shean Donovan, Daymond Langkow