<
>

Kiprusoff stops 25 shots in Calgary win

4/10/2004

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff responded to the challenge from their coach.

Called out by Darryl Sutter for subpar performances in the
playoff opener, Iginla scored a goal and Kiprusoff made 25 saves as
the Calgary Flames evened their first-round series with Vancouver by beating the Canucks 2-1 Friday night.

Rookie Matthew Lombardi notched his first career playoff goal 50
seconds after Iginla scored, giving Calgary its first playoff win
since 1995.

"It was a great feeling just to be able to get an early goal,
and to see that second one go in was a huge momentum swing and it
got our feet under us," Iginla said of his first playoff
goal since scoring as a rookie eight years ago. "We didn't feel we
played great the first game, and this game we came out and had a
good start and were able to hold the lead."

The victory gave the Flames home-ice advantage in the
best-of-seven series that heads to Calgary for Games 3 and 4 on
Sunday and Tuesday -- the first playoff games for that city since
1996.

"We can't wait to go play in front of our own crowd," Iginla
said.

Sutter, who said after the series-opening loss that Iginla
played too much of a perimeter game, was pleased with how his
captain responded.

"I thought he played with some emotion," Sutter said. "That's
what playoffs are about, you have to have emotional leaders."

As for his goaltender's improvements after giving up five goals
on 22 shots in Game 1, Sutter said, "We didn't get to this point
without having solid goaltending."

After being beaten by screens, deflections and rebounds on the
Vancouver power play on Wednesday, Kiprusoff did a better job
fighting through the traffic to find point shots and loose pucks.

"I didn't do a great job last game, so I was really more active
looking for the puck and I did a better job," Kiprusoff said of
his first playoff win in three years and second in six career
starts.

Markus Naslund scored and Dan Cloutier made 22 saves for the
Canucks, who had won seven straight, six in the regular season and
the series opener against Calgary.

Vancouver won the Northwest Division by winning its final six
games despite losing star forward Todd Bertuzzi to a season-ending
suspension for punching Colorado's Steve Moore on March 8.

"They just simply outworked us," Cloutier said. "You never
want to see a team come into your building and outwork you,
especially in the playoffs."

Kiprusoff got a couple of breaks early as his teammates swiped
two pucks away from the goal line in the opening minutes. By the
time Sami Salo hit the crossbar behind him 5:37 in, the Flames were already ahead 2-0.

"We controlled the play the first four minutes, they got a
couple of breaks and we got away from our focus a little bit,"
Canucks forward Matt Cooke said.

Iginla opened the scoring at 3:06, skating out from behind the
net and snapping a wrist shot past Cloutier seconds after Calgary's
Chris Simon bumped Cloutier out of position while cutting through
the crease.

Cloutier argued his case to no avail, but he was calmer after the
game.

"The guy just kept going and pushed my stick around so he
twisted me a bit," Cloutier said.

The Flames made it 2-0 after a funny bounce just 50 seconds
later when the rebound of Rhett Warrener's point shot bounced into
the equipment of Salo, who stood alone in the slot. Salo spun
around, trying to find the puck, and it finally dropped into his
feet just in time for Lombardi to swipe his first playoff goal
between Cloutier's legs.

Kiprusoff got his turn to argue when Vancouver scored its goal midway through the second period, and he had a good case after Ed Jovanovski knocked him down at the side of the crease during a four-on-three power play. That left Naslund with an empty net.

"He pushed me," Kiprusoff said. "I was surprised they didn't
call it, but right now it's just matter of we get the win."

Kiprusoff preserved it with 11 saves in the third period, including great stops off Marek Malik from the slot and Martin Rucinsky on a short-handed rebound.

"He's been bouncing back all year," Iginla said of Kiprusoff.
"Tonight he stood on his head with early saves and late saves."

Game notes
Vancouver rookie RW Jason King played his first playoff
game, and Game 1 starter Jarkko Ruutu was scratched. ... Canucks D
Bryan Allen skated with teammates Friday for the first time since
injuring his shoulder March 27 against Dallas. He doesn't know whether he'll play in this series. ... Referees called offsetting
obstruction and diving penalties twice during a three-minute span
in the second period. ... The Flames are 20-8-4 after a loss
and 11-4-3 after losing by at least two goals.