Kiprusoff and Flames blank Predators 1-0
Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 12:14 AMCALGARY -- Miikka Kiprusoff
reigned supreme in the battle of Finnish goaltenders.
While Nashville's Pekka Rinne
made more saves, Kiprusoff was perfect in stopping all 26 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season and the Calgary Flames
used Derek Smith
's first NHL goal to edge the Predators 1-0 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday night.
Kiprusoff exacted revenge on his fellow Finn, who shut out the Flames 2-0 on Oct. 22 in Calgary.
"He's a pretty good goalie there in the other end," Kiprusoff said. "Last game here he was the reason why they took those points. I try not to look at him too much. I just try to do my own job. I feel better that way."
In the all-Finnish matchup, both goaltenders made sure their opponents did little offensively, stopping a combined 55 of 56 shots.
"At the Olympics (in 2014), those will probably be the two goalies that Finland, I think they'd be crazy not to take," Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
Smith was the only one able to finish on the night.
Down to four defensemen after Mark Giordano
blocked a shot and Chris Butler
took a puck to the face earlier in the period, it was rookie blueliners T.J. Brodie and Smith who produced the game's only goal late in the opening period. Jarome Iginla
kept the puck in at the blue line and fed Brodie, who found Smith with a backdoor pass for a tap-in at 18:50.
"It was unbelievable to get it out of the way," said Smith, a veteran of just 27 NHL games. "It's been a long time coming. I was lucky enough to get a tap-in like that for my first so it was pretty special."
The goal was something Flames coach Brent Sutter had been preaching to his club, Smith said.
"We got an odd-man rush and he was talking about driving the net, trying to open up something through a seam," he said. "I stayed down there and Brods made a great play."
Though Butler returned to the game wearing a visor, the Flames lost Giordano to a lower-body injury.
"Everybody's got to step up and contribute," Smith said. "When you get down to four, five D everyone's got to play smart, use the first option and try to conserve some energy and just play smart and play hard and I thought we did a good job of that tonight."
The Flames had several opportunities to open the scoring before Smith connected.
Just 47 seconds into the game, Rinne was forced to flash his right pad to stop Mikael Backlund
. He then made a glove save off a streaking Brodie at 10:42 before stopping Roman Horak
on a partial breakaway.
Both goaltenders kept the opposition off the board during the same shift in the second period.
Horak wired a shot that caught both posts before Rinne was able to sweep away the rebound. On the ensuing rush, Nashville's Patric Hornqvist
fed a cross-crease pass to David Legwand
, forcing Kiprusoff to go post-to-post to rob him with his pad at 4:52.
With two minutes remaining in the middle period, Rinne got a blocker on another Horak blast from the high slot.
"Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. I wasn't this time," Horak said. "On the other side was Kipper. He made a great save and kept us in the game. He was a big part of this win."
Kiprusoff knows goaltending karma well. A big stop at one end often leads to a goal at the other.
"Usually when it's in the other end the goalie make a huge save, they always score coming back," Kiprusoff said. "You have to be ready there."
Rinne continued to keep the Predators within striking distance in the third, using his blocker again to deny Tim Jackman
, who elected to shoot on a 2-on-1 five minutes into the period.
He did the same to Jay Bouwmeester
at 8:40. After jumping into the rush and taking a feed from Curtis Glencross
, Bouwmeester was denied by Rinne, who trapped the puck in his body.
"We had good chances," Kiprusoff said. "Rinne played unbelievable again."
Rinne, who finished with 28 saves, turned aside chances by Alex Tanguay
, Olli Jokinen
and Iginla before Kiprusoff stopped four shots to help the Flames successfully kill a hooking penalty taken by newcomer Blake Comeau
with 5:04 left in regulation.
In the end, one save was the difference.
"It's a one-puck game, a one-mistake game and we just weren't able to find the back of the net," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We have to get a little more greasy. When we have these one-puck games where it's 1-0, you have to get greasy, got to get to the blue paint and get that middle drive and see if you can find a loose puck. We have to get a little more shoot-first mentality."