Rookie Kiprusoff makes 32 saves for shutout


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Although Miikka Kiprusoff's teammates
usually call him Kipper, one of the San Jose Sharks chanted
"Kip-ru, Kip-ru-soff!" in honor of the rookie's second NHL

Kiprusoff smiled.

"Every game I get my chance, I try to give my team a chance to
win," he said.

Kiprusoff stopped 32 shots as the Sharks shutout the Vancouver
Canucks 2-0 on Saturday night. It was Kiprusoff's sixth win in his
role as backup to Evgeni Nabokov.

"There were a couple of good saves," he said modestly.
"They've got some big guys and they were trying to make traffic."

Marco Sturm had his career-high 17th goal of the season for the
Sharks, who have won their last two after a three-game skid. Teemu
Selanne also scored.

Dan Cloutier stopped 20 shots for the Canucks, who were shut out
for just the second time this season. Vancouver has won just one of
its last seven games and is fighting for a playoff spot in the

Cloutier credited Kiprusoff.

"He was the difference," Cloutier said., "You get one by him
and it's 2-1, and then you don't know where you can go from

Coming off a 6-1 loss Thursday to Phoenix that captain Markus
Naslund called their worst effort of the season, the Canucks came
out dull again on Saturday, with only two shots on Kiprusoff in the
first period.

Cloutier made six saves in the first, including a shot that
bounced a few feet off the ice before coming to rest precariously
between his skate and the left post.

The Sharks, who sit atop the Pacific Division, picked it up in
the second, going up 1-0 on Sturm's wraparound goal at 8:08. Sturm
has three goals against the Canucks this season, and the Sharks
lead the season series 3-0.

Cloutier earned a delay of game penalty midway through the
second after he came way out of his goal to dive on the puck as
hard-charging forward Mike Ricci skated in. Daniel Sedin served the

San Jose went up 2-0 at 6:21 of the third when Selanne took a
perfect pass from Brad Stuart and fired it past Cloutier. It was
Selanne's 22nd goal this season.

Cloutier was pulled with more than a minute to go. But even with
the man advantage, the Canucks were unable to beat Kiprusoff.

Canucks coach Marc Crawford said it was better than Thursday,
but it still wasn't enough.

"We played better and I think if we have that kind of effort
most nights, we'll have a more favorable outcome," he said.

Kiprusoff's first shutout came back on Jan. 5 against Florida,
when he stopped 28 shots in a 6-0 San Jose victory.

"This was a tougher game because it was a close game," he
said. "It was 1-0, 2-0, so it was mentally tougher."

Game notes
The Canucks host the Sharks on Sunday night. "We have to
come back with the effort we had tonight, and then a little bit
more," Crawford said. ... Selanne was honored before the game for
his 400th career goal, scored Thursday in the Sharks' 5-2 win over
the Ottawa Senators. ... Vancouver F Andrew Cassels left the ice in
the third period after colliding with San Jose D Bryan Marchment.
After the game, Crawford was unsure of his condition. ... The
Sharks have eight shutouts overall this season.