Anyone questioning Miika Kiprusoff's play as of late will have nothing to complain about after the Flames wild comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings.
"It was a lot of work," Kiprusoff told the media. "You just don't have time to breathe. They just kept coming."
Kiprusoff was rock solid all night, backstopping the Flames to their first win in four games. The 6-5 victory was Calgary's third win in the shootout this season.
"It's an unbelievable two points for our team," said Jamie Lundmark. "Kipper did an unbelievable job."
The night didn't start off on the best foot for the Flames. Despite players saying they knew they couldn't take a great number of penalties prior to the game, the league's best ranked power play went to work for a good chunk of the first 20 minutes.
Kiprusoff was the Flames best penalty killer throughout the game but especially in the first period. Calgary picked up 27 minutes of penalties in under nine minutes. The Flames had to face 4:45 of 5-on-3 in the period.
"It was good penalty kill practice there," Kiprusoff smiled.
Head coach Mike Keenan was visibly upset with some of the calls against his club. During the Flames penalty parade, he was talking with the officials constantly, letting them know what he thought of their calls.
"There was some questionable calls there," Daymond Langkow told Sportsnet West. "Our penalty kill was big and Kipper was huge."
Several times during the Red Wings extended power play time Kiprusoff felt he was interferred with. Tomas Holmstrom spent the vast majority of his ice time in the blue paint, something the Flames goaltender was not impressed with.
By the end of the first 20 minutes, the Finnish goalie had stopped 26 shots and faced 28.
"I'm proud of the way we responded to get through the debacle of the first period. You have to stay persistent and focused and really work to come back on a team like this," said Keenan.
Kiprusoff himself wasn't too worried as the Flames racked up the penalty minutes continuously through the period.
"When they have that many power plays, you can't worry about it if you're a goalie, just keep working and trying to find the puck."
The embattled Kiprusoff had a rough start to the second frame when he took a shot right to the neck. It shook him up a bit and as he laid sprawled on the ice before making another save to stop the play.
"It hurts," Kiprusoff remarked after the game. "I didn't lose my voice or anything so it's alright."
When the Red Wings scored on their first power play opportunity of the second period, Kiprusoff once again complained to the referee that Holmstrom interferred with him. The ultra-pest was a thorn in the netminder's side the entire night.
Kiprusoff got a bit of the break in the third period as the Flames started putting offensive pressure on the Red Wings. He only faced two shots, which Detroit scored on one to tie the game, in the last 42 seconds of the period.
In overtime, Kiprusoff wasn't too busy either but made a fantastic glove save on Ericsson with less than a minute less in the extra session. The young defenseman snapped a hard, high shot that looked like it might beat the Flames 'tender but Kiprusoff wasn't ready to have the game ended.
The shootout saw Kiprusoff deny Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler to give the Flames the comeback win in Detroit. Olli Jokinen and Mike Cammalleri scored for Calgary.
"We can use this as a turning point," Jokinen said. "We got to play the way we did in the third period for a full 60 minutes next game. It's a high character win."
Marian Hossa was out of the Red Wings lineup after suffering a concussion earlier in the month.
Jim Vandermeer was given a 10 minute misconduct at 16:44 after a scuffle with Johan Franzen. He also took two roughing penalties on the play.
Dan Cleary's crash into the end boards was what started the rash of Flames penalties. Dion Phaneuf took a five minute major on the play, something Mike Keenan was none too happy about, and Cleary was helped off the ice by trainers. He returned in the second period.
It was Phaneuf's first multi-point game since Dec. 10 against the Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena.
It's the Flames first win in Detroit since Dec. 1, 2005.