Calgary has scored just five goals in four games this year, but has managed to win twice behind goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
Kiprusoff helped the Flames (2-2-0) start a four-game road trip with a win by making 33 saves in a 1-0 victory over Ottawa on Thursday. It was his 18th career shutout after he led the NHL last season with a franchise-record 10.
“Our team is structured from our goaltender out,” Calgary coach Jim Playfair said. “When that’s the structure of your team, you expect to win 1-0 games. Miikka gave us a chance to do that tonight.”
Despite Kiprusoff’s effort, the Flames would still like to give him a greater margin for error. Calgary has scored just one goal in 30 power-play chances this season.
Toronto (2-1-2) was shut out by Kiprusoff last season, a 1-0 loss at Calgary on Jan. 6. Kiprusoff made 27 saves in that contest and Tony Amonte scored the lone goal for the Flames.
Calgary, though, hasn’t had much success in Toronto. The Maple Leafs have won 12 of the last 13 home meetings in the series with a 6-5 overtime loss on Dec. 16, 2000, as the lone blemish.
Toronto has struggled at home this season, however, getting outscored 8-5 in going 1-1-1 at Air Canada Centre. Overall, the Maple Leafs have allowed 15 goals in their first five games.
The Maple Leafs have gone to a shootout in three straight games after a 7-6 loss to New Jersey on Thursday. They blew a 6-3 lead heading into the third period as the Devils’ Brian Gionta scored a natural hat trick to tie the game.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” Toronto captain Mats Sundin said. “We played two good periods, and to let them back when you are up 6-3 is a heartbreaker. It feels like a loss even though we got a point.”
Toronto missed defenseman Pavel Kubina, who is out for four to six weeks with a knee injury. The Maple Leafs attempted to compensate for his absence by giving more ice time to Wade Belak and Jay Harrison.
Sundin, who has one goal and three assists this year, is three goals shy of reaching 500 for his career.
Calgary is still looking for newcomer Alex Tanguay to make more of an impact. Tanguay was dropped from the top line Thursday and replaced by Kristian Huselius, who assisted on Jarome Iginla’s goal in the third period.
Iginla scored for the first time since the season opener when the puck came right to his stick after Huselius fanned on a shot from the slot.
“I was just trying to get in front of the net for him,” Iginla said. “It looked like he just kept fighting the guy off and eventually he got it through and I was very fortunate that it was literally right on my stick. It was nice to see that slide in.”
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