Inside the Game: Kipper the keeper
Miikka Kiprusoff was perfect against the Kings, pushing Calgary to a 2-0 win
Miikka Kiprusoff was the story for the second straight night. The Calgary Flames netminder earned his 30th career shutout and fourth this season, with a 2-0 win over a fiesty Los Angeles Kings club.
"Tonight our D really helped me out a lot," said Kiprusoff after the game adding the Flames defence allowed him to see most of the 36 shots the Kings put on the Flames net.
Cory Sarich had nothing but praise for the young Kings after the game.
"They were on us all night long. They really forechecked well and kept us hemmed in our end most of the time."
The Flames picked up a tough point the night before against the Anaheim Ducks. Kiprusoff played one of his best games of the season and stole that point for his club. The Ducks outshot the Flames 40-23 and were able to draw eight penalties in the game.
Associate coach Jim Playfair said that the team owed Kiprusoff a huge thanks for the point and that the team needs to be able to retain and defend a league once they have it.
"We have a big obligation as a team to expect more of ourselves, demand more of ourselves," said Playfair.
Craig Conroy reached a milestone in the loss: he played his 900th career game.
"When I came into the league, my goal was to reach 400 games," said Conroy prior to the game. "To reach 900 is amazing."
Kiprusoff looked sharp early when Wayne Simmonds tried to send the puck over his shoulder when the Finnish goalie was on his knees from a previous shot. Kiprusoff just got his glove on the puck to deflect it high.
Sarich took the game's first infraction for tripping. He reached through Dustin Brown to snag the puck but got his stick caught in the forward's skates. The tripping penalty came at 2:24.
Calgary put themselves down by two men when Mark Giordano hooked Patrick O'Sullivan at 3:50 giving the Kings a 35-second five-on-three.
For a second straight night, Kiprusoff continued with his brilliant play. At the tail end of Giordano's penalty he made a cross-crease play that astounded all who saw it. Anze Kopitar picked up a rebound and flung it at the net but Kiprusoff came across just in time to glove it down.
Despite the Kings keeping the Flames hemmed in their own zone for the majority of the first half of the period, the Flames went to the power play when O'Sullivan was called for tripping.
The power play got to work early and it paid off. Jarome Iginla held the puck on the boards before passing it to Todd Bertuzzi. The winger took the puck towards the net and sent a smooth pass over to a waiting Mike Cammalleri who one-timed it past Jonathan Quick. Former King Cammalleri's 29th of the year came at 8:58.
"It was a pretty excellent pass by Todd," he said. "I just had to put it in."
Iginla's assist was his first point in four games but it was an important point. He moves into 3rd place in all-time points in the Flames franchise. He has 821 career points with the club.
Cammalleri has now made two trips back to his former rink and he feels a bit more calm about playing at the Staples Center.
"It's still a bit weird," he admitted between the first and second period in an interview with Sportsnet. "It was much different the first time, it was much more nervous the first time back."
Cammalleri has 15 goals since the beginning of 2009 but when asked about his hot streak, he deferred the credit to the team.
"I'll attribute that to being on a roll as a team," the Richmond Hill native smiled.
The chances flew back and forth in the first five minutes of the second period. Cammalleri nearly knocked in his second of the game when he dove in front of Quick and tried tap in a shot but the puck went high. The Kings held their own as well by trapping the Flames in their own zone for several minutes, sending as many shots as they could towards the net.
At the half-way mark of the second period, the Flames were outshot 22-13.
The Flames penalty killing continued its excellence on the night when Matthew Lombardi was sent to the box for slashing at 13:08. Going into the game, Calgary's penalty kill was ranked 4th in the NHL.
Right after Lombardi was released from the sin bin, Bertuzzi was able to get a partial break but at the last second elected to pass it back, unaware the Kings defenders were already back and ready to scoop up the pass.
The Kings put the pressure on to begin the final period, desperately wanting the tying goal. They held the Flames in their own zone for over a minute. To make things tougher on the Flames, they took a hooking penalty when Conroy got his stick in on Brown at 2:29.
Robyn Regehr backhanded the puck over the glass at 2:35 and the Kings got a two-man advantage for close to two minutes. Calgary's penalty killers looked terrific, with several players making shot blocks and making sure Kiprusoff had a clear view of the shots sent at him. LA fans let their team know how they felt about the second squandered 5-on-3 with boos.
Two massive hits were delivered in a matter of seconds when Johnson slammed David Moss into the boards in the offensive zone and then Phaneuf ran straight into Drew Doughty who was cruising through the neutral zone with the puck. The rookie defenseman had his head down when Phaneuf leveled him.
"It's a big part of my game, that I have to play with that edge. There was a couple (hits) available and I stepped up," said Phaneuf.
Sean O'Donnell went after Phaneuf immediately and smacked him in the face. Phaneuf refused to retaliate and drew a roughing call. The Flames power play was unable to generate any sort of offence and even gave up a 2-on-1 chance for the Kings. Fortunately for Calgary, Kiprusoff continued his excellent play and made the pad save on Matt Greene.
With just under 9:00 to go, the Flames had no shots on net. The Kings, on the other hand, had eight.
Fortune swung in the Flames favour when former Oiler Jarret Stoll took a hooking call at 11:27. The Flames were able to set up but couldn't beat Quick. The fans really started to boo their former player Cammalleri during the power play. There were some boos prior to that but the dissatisfaction with the Flames leading scorer hit a boiling point while the Kings were down a man.
With Quick gone to the bench with just over a minute to go in the game, Kiprusoff made a great save on Kyle Calder and then Curtis Glencross made a heads up play to seal the game. He saw Rene Bourque skating into the neutral zone and passed it up. Bourque took the pass and slid it into the net for this 19th of the year and ice the game at 19:24.
The Flames now improve to 9-1-0 in their last 10 games against the Kings.
THE NUMBERS GAME
1 - Goal post for Mark Giordano
3 - Huge hits made by Dion Phaneuf in two straight nights
4 - Place in all-time wins for Mike Keenan as he passes Pat Quinn with the win Thursday.
THE BIG SAVE
THE BIG HIT
WHY THE FLAMES WON
UP NEXT: Arizona beckons the Flames on Saturday when they faceoff against the Phoenix Coyotes. Game time is 8:00 p.m. on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada & The FAN 960.