Kiprusoff leads Flames to 3-1 win
The way Miikka Kiprusoff has been playing, three goals by his CalgaryFlames teammates was plenty of support. Olli Jokinen scored in the second period, and Kiprusoff made 24 saves in a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday. "He's probably been playing his best hockey in the last month and a half than maybe I've ever seen him play," Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr said. That is lofty praise considering that in six seasons in Calgary, Kiprusoff backstopped the Flames' run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2004 and won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender in 2006. "I think he was disappointed, like the rest of us, on how things have gone here the last couple of years," Regehr said. "He was excited about getting here and doing a good job for the guys, and I think he's done exactly that." Kiprusoff shrugged off the compliments in typical quiet fashion. "He's just pumping my tires," Kiprusoff said with a grin. "When the team plays like that, it always makes a goalie's job way easier. You look at tonight, 25 shots against, that's nice, and makes it much easier for me." Since giving up six goals and getting pulled after 40 minutes in a 7-1 home ice loss to Chicago on Nov. 19, Kiprusoff has gone 6-1-2, posted three shutouts, and allowed only 11 goals. He has a 1.22 goals-against average and .957 save percentage during that stretch. Kiprusoff improved to 17-3-7 this season and is just two wins behind NHL-leading Martin Brodeur from New Jersey. Perhaps his biggest save of the night came in the second period when he threw out his glove to stab a shot by Ilya Kovalchuk, who sent a shot toward the top corner. "Kipper made some big saves for us at big times," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said.