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Kiprusoff bests temps, pucks, for first outdoor shutout

by Robin Brownlee
CALGARY -- Until the Montreal Canadiens brought the heat with 21 shots in Sunday’s second period, the challenge for Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames wasn't stopping frozen rubber, but avoiding frozen fingers and toes.

Kiprusoff faced just eight shots in the opening 20 minutes the 2011 Tim Horton's Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium, but then turned aside all 21 shots the Canadiens unloaded at him in the second period on the way to a 4-0 Calgary win.

All told, Kiprusoff made 39 saves on the way to his fourth shutout of the season, No. 38 of his career and the first recorded in the six games the NHL has staged outdoors.

"They had a pretty slow start," Kiprusoff said, talking about Montreal’s inability to get on track offensively. "They didn't shoot that many in the first.

"I was a little nervous, like if they get some 2-on-1s or something. I was pretty cold in the first, but I had something under my stuff. During the second, they started shooting more, too. I felt better there."

Kiprusoff didn't have a lot to do early, particularly in the first 10 minutes of the game as the Flames carried the play. The Flames held a 13-3 edge in shots when Rene Bourque scored to make it 1-0 at 8:09.

There was no standing around for Kiprusoff in the second period as the Canadiens came out firing. Montreal's 21 shots set a single-period shots record for the six outdoor games, eclipsing the 19 the Flames directed at Montreal’s Carey Price in the first period.

"He played great; "especially early," Calgary captain Jarome Iginla said of his goalie. “He didn't get a lot of shots, but all of a sudden there would be a point-blank shot.

"I think he made a couple of leg kicks early when he had to be pretty stiff, but he looked great. It's funny because as hard as it is for players to get used to it (the cold) off the start, it's got to be way harder for the goalies staying warm.

"We're on the bench. We're coming to the bench and we're warming up and stuff. You forget, they're stuck out there."

So, what was more difficult, finding a way to stay warm during without much to do during a chilly first period or turning aside all that rubber in the second period?

"The first period was real cold,” said Kiprusoff, who retreated to the warmth of the Calgary bench every opportunity he got during play stoppages. “We had to stand outside there a little bit and there were some problems with the ice.

"Those guys had a pretty nice set-up there. It was warm. They were nice enough to give me a little room there to sit down."

With extra layers on, the challenge for Kiprusoff early was to keep his fingers and toes warm.

"My toes," Kiprusoff said. "My hands felt alright. That was one worry, too. It's not fun to catch the puck if you have cold fingers. We knew it was going to be a cold day."

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