|Nashville Predators' David Legwand, center, shoots on Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, left, during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary,Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Jeff McIntosh)
Less than 24 hours after signing a six-year, $35 million contract extension with the Calgary Flames, Miikka Kiprusoff
helped lead his team to a commanding 5-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Kiprusoff stopped 39 of 40 shots during Tuesday night’s match-up. He came up huge durng a five-on-three in the second period where he stopped several shots and made sure that the Predators couldn’t use the big power play as momentum shift in the game.
After the game, a smiling Kiprusoff told the media he was extremely pleased with the contract extension.
“It’s good for me and Flames. I can’t ask for more.”
He credited the fans for one the reasons he wanted to stay in Calgary.
“It’s an unbelievable place to play hockey and I have nothing bad to say about them.”
Kiprusoff started his NHL career with the San Jose Sharks as a 5th round draft pick. He was chosen 116th overall in 1995. Before playing his first NHL game in the 2000-2001 season, he spent his time playing for AIK Sweden, TPS in Finland and the Kentucky Thoroughblades.
He played a total of 47 games for the Sharks between 2000 and 2003, recording 14 wins. He was traded to Calgary in 2003 for a 2nd round draft pick in 2005 (Marc-Edouard Vlasic).
Kiprusoff played 38 games in the 2003-2004 season and helped take the Flames to the final game of the Stanley Cup Championship. He had 24 wins during his regular season debut for the Flames and 15 wins during the playoffs. He ended the season with a 1.69 goals-against-average, a modern day record.
The 2003-2004 season marked several ‘firsts’ for Kiprusoff. His first playoff shutout came in the first round of the playoffs, on April 13th, 2004. He posted a 4-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks and was named the first star of the game. He also received his first Vezina Trophy nomination.
After playing for Timra Sweden during the 2004-2005 NHL lock-out, Kiprusoff recorded his first 40+ wins in the 2005-2006 season. With 42 wins during the regular season, he garnered himself a Hart Trophy nomination and won the Vezina Trophy. He also won the William Jennings Trophy for playing on the team with the least goals allowed.
The 2006-2007 season saw Kiprusoff post his second consecutive 40+ wins in a season. He played 74 games and had 40 wins during the regular season. The playoffs weren’t a bright spot for the majority of the Flames but Kiprusoff proved why he’s one of the best goaltenders in the league during the team’s six games against Detroit. He had a .929 save percentage and managed to stop 48 shoots in game two. He nabbed his third straight Vezina nomination that season but lost out to New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur.
Tuesdays victory over the Predators was Kiprusoff's sixth win of the season.
Calgary head coach Mike Keenan noted that Kiprusoff was left out alone to make big saves a little too often against Nashville.
“For sure he (Kiprusoff) expressed his gratitude (on new contract) because we left him out in many situations far too often," said Keenan.
"If you’re a coach of a hockey club, you don’t want to see that many shots against, but he played exceptionally well and responded well and as we got a little bit careless in the third period he even got better. He was on top of his game tonight.”