CALGARY - Miiikka Kiprusoff may have gone out in style Friday with 32 saves to backstop the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Roman Horak, Brian McGrattan and Roman Cervenka into an empty net scored for Calgary (18-22-4). The Flames will play their final four games on the road beginning Sunday in Minnesota.
Corey Perry scored for Anaheim (27-11-6), ending Kiprusoff's bid for his 45th shutout with 3:41 remaining when he buried a shot inside the far goal post from 20 feet out on a set-up from Kyle Palmieri.
Although Kiprusoff has one year remaining on his contract. It drops to US$1.5 million next year and there has been rampant speculation that Kiprusoff, 36, will instead retire at the end of this season. However, he has refused to comment on the topic.
At the trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs were pursuing a trade with the Flames for Kiprusoff. However, after getting permission to talk with him, Kiprusoff, decided that for family reasons, he would not waive his no-trade clause.
If Kiprusoff does call it a career, he left the sell-out crowd of 19,289 at the Scotiabank Saddledome with a great final performance. Following up on a spectacular 36-save performance Wednesday night in Calgary's 3-2 win over Detroit, he was in the classic form once again against the Ducks.
Calgary will miss the playoffs for a fourth season in a row. The Flames, since moving to Calgary, are the only NHL team that has never had a top five draft pick. With four wins in their last five, it may not happen this year either, currently sitting 25th overall.
In the second period, Kiprusoff kept the game 1-0 when he jabbed out a glove and stabbed a dangerous shot off the stick of Perry. In the third, in one of his 14 saves, Ryan Getzlaf moved into the slot and from a similar distance, was again thwarted as Kiprusoff whipped up his blocker to deflect the puck away.
With just over two minutes to go, and after Kiprusoff sprawled to get the paddle of his stick on Perry's dangerous chance at the side of the net , the crowd broke into chants of "Kipper, Kipper". When they showed him on the Jumbotron seconds later, the entire crowd rose to their feet and remained standing for the remainder of the game, chanting his name, right through the end of the game and the naming of Kiprusoff as the game's first star.
With the game puck in his glove, Kiprusoff saluted the crowd after the final buzzer with a waving of his stick at centre.
Anaheim leads the Pacific Division by five points over the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. All teams have four games remaining.
McGrattan made it 2-0 on a great individual effort 3:14 into the third period. The rugged winger tipped the puck through the skates of the Ducks' Francois Beauchemin and got loose down the wing where he took the puck to the net and slipped a backhand through the pads of Jonas Hiller.
It was the third goal of the season for McGrattan, a career high. He entered the season with three career goals in 212 games.
Horak put the Flames in front 2:45 into the second period.
Lee Stempniak's shot from the side boards hit the side of the net and caromed out front where Horak, left uncovered, fired the puck between Jonas Hiller's pads.
Horak is one of the many young Flames players getting a chance over the final month to show what he can do. In 10 April games since being recalled from Abbotsford (AHL) for the second time, the 21-year-old has a goal and four assists.
The highlight of an otherwise lifeless first period was Swedish Flames centre Mikael Backlund dropping the gloves and fighting with Ducks defenceman Ben Lovejoy after the defenceman caught Curtis Glencross with an ugly knee-on-knee hit.
Glencross left the ice on his own but did not return with what was reported as a left knee injury.
Notes: Calgary D Dennis Wideman (finger) and LW Steve Begin (upper body) did not play??? Out of the line-up for Anaheim was RW Teemu Selanne (upper body) and G Viktor Fasth (upper body). Igor Bobkov was recalled from Norfolk (AHL) to dress as the back-up????????? It was Kiprusoff's 306th career start at the Saddledome. His record is 187-82-36 with 27 shutouts????????? After posting a .921 mark last season, Kiprusoff entered the night with a .877 save percentage, which ranks him 49th, ahead of only Florida's Scott Clemmensen (.874). The worst of the past 10 years belongs to Andrew Raycroft (.879) with Boston in 2005-06.