The glove shot up, in the blink of an eye, like Superman catching a silver bullet between his fingers or Brooks Robinson moving effortlessly to snare a liner down the third-base line. Just in the nick of time. Just like old times. “Yeah, it felt good,” admitted Miikka Kiprusoff. “Especially after I made it . . . a little more interesting at the end there.” That spectacular save off Detroit defenceman Jakob Kindl, with 16.6 seconds remaining, the Red Wings’ net empty and Curtis Glencross taking up space in the penalty box, saved the day in a 3-2 Calgary victory that leaves Detroit’s precarious playoff hopes still hanging in the balance. On a night the Flames were officially eliminated from post-season contention — as if there was any doubt — Kiprusoff was in vintage form, in what may very well be his second-last appearance as a Calgary Flame at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Inside the Flames’ dressing room afterwards, as the man of the hour walked through unnoticed as media crowded around two-goal hero Steve Begin, Kiprusoff spotted a kid wearing a red No. 34 jersey and a Kipper ball cap. “Good job, Kipper,” the kid said. “Thanks buddy.” Mere minutes earlier, 19,000 plus had engaged in a vaster, more public show of affection, standing up to salute the finest goaltender this franchise has ever seen for the kind of jaw-dropping performance that’s become his custom here over the last decade. “It was an unbelievable feeling,” said Kiprusoff. “I think the crowd has been great for me since I came here and again tonight was a pretty nice feeling in front of them. “It means a lot.” For the Wings, a crushing loss that, coupled with Columbus’ win, plunged Detroit into ninth in the Western Conference. “Well, I don’t pull out any tricks,” said boss Mike Babcock when asked what rabbits he could yank from a hat after a game in which the urgency level was left far too late. “I deal in realism and facts. And the facts speak pretty clear that this is an urgent moment for us. You’ve got to win your way in. You can’t watch your way in.” Too little early push and too much Kiprusoff. That recipe spelled disaster for the Wings. Outside of that crazy Johan Franzen backhander from just across centre that skipped behind him at 12:53 of the third period (that “interesting” moment Kiprusoff mentioned earlier), the silent Finn was exemplary to sensational. He has, of course, become accustomed to battening down the hatches when confronted by the relentless tempest the Red Wings can conjure up. He withstood another storm Wednesday, 36 saves in all. “They’re always a pretty smart road team. And there’s always traffic. It’s always tough against them.”’
Vintage Kiprusoff performance enough for Flames to clip Wings
Published On: Apr 18 2013 09:06:22 AM EDT Updated On: Apr 18 2013 09:06:23 AM EDT
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