Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 31 shots he faced to shutout the New York Rangers and help the Calgary Flames win 3-0 at Madison Square Gardens tonight.
Kipprusoff wouldn’t know it until the end of the game, but his biggest stop came only 15 seconds into the first period when he stopped a Ryan Callahan re-direct with the tip of his left skate. Callahan got a great break in on net right off the opening faceoff, and Kipper had to be sharp to keep the home side from getting an early 1-0 lead.
After that first stop, Kipper seemed to be in the zone and remained perfect for the rest of the game. He was tested numerous times, but the Flames defence seemed to know that their goaltender was not going to give up any easy goals, and adjusted their play accordingly. Fourteen minutes into the first period the Rangers had a 2-on-1 against Robyn Regehr. The flames defender played it perfectly, taking away the pass and allowed Kipper to play Brandon Dubinsky’s shot… which he kicked into the corner.
The Rangers have some veritable snipers and are known for their tricky puck handling and tape-to-tape passing. Though they may not have the highest scoring offense in the league, the Rangers have found success partly because they have one of the best goaltenders in Henrik Lundqvist. If you have 2 Vezina trophy contenders on the ice in one game, you know that they will both be playing their best. While Kipper was perfect, Lundqvist wasn’t helped by his defence and made a couple mistakes.
The Calgary Flames were up to the challenge of beating Lundqvist tonight, and took advantage of the few mistakes he made to score 3 times. It took them 35 minutes to get a puck past the NY goalie, but Jarome Iginla finally got the Flames on the board on a 2nd rebound attempt. The goal was made possible by Curtis Glencross, who continues to impress me. His hard work on the boards inside the Flames blueline got the puck out to Iginla who lead the rush up the ice. Iginla passed to Dion Phaneuf, who put a shot on net. Mike Cammalleri banged away at the rebound, which bounced off Lundqvist right onto Iginla’s stick. Iginla wasted no time snapping the puck into the wide-open goal.
The Flames got some insurance from David Moss 1:52 into the 3rd period when he scored his 4th goal in 4 games. The salt was rubbed into the Rangers wounds when Rene Bourque scored short-handed with 2 minutes to play in the 3rd period giving the Flames a 3-0 lead. The NY fans that still remained in their seats ran for the exits after Bourque scored.
Kipprusoff got his 3rd shutout of the season, and 29th of his career.
Warren Peters played in his first NHL game for the Flames and logged 5:08 of ice-time.
The Flames moved into 1st spot in the Northwest Division following Vancouver’s shoot out loss to Colorado.