Kiprusoff stopped 33 shots for his eighth career shutout as the Flames beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 Saturday night.
“Last game against Dallas, I felt a bit better and today I felt really good,” said Kiprusoff, who entered the night with a 4.54 goals against average — a sharp contrast to his NHL-record 1.69 in the last season.
Kiprusoff was at his best in the second period when Edmonton outshot Calgary 15-4, but was unable to cut into a 2-0 deficit.
“All night he just looked so solid in there making tough saves look so easy,” the Flames’ Jarome Iginla said. “There were a few right on the crease where from the bench they looked like they were going in, but then he sticks out his leg and makes the save and those are huge boosts.”
Edmonton lost its third straight after opening the season with three wins.
“We can’t expect to compete with the teams that are considered among the tops in our conference, the tops in our league, if we’re going to come out with slow starts like we have been,” Oilers center Michael Peca said.
The Flames began the day ranked last in the NHL on both the power play and penalty-killing, but a stark reversal in fortune on both fronts proved to be pivotal.
Mired in a 2-for-31 skid with the man-advantage, Calgary’s power play converted its first chance of the game halfway through the first period when Langkow shovelled in a loose puck at 9:53.
The penalty-killing unit came through early in the second period, fighting off a 2-minute, two-man advantage. With Warrener and Jordan Leopold both in the penalty box for separate hooking penalties at 4:43, Edmonton applied tremendous pressure but couldn’t score.
With a chance to put the game away, Calgary’s power-play received its own 2-minute, two-man advantage late in the third period but couldn’t beat Jussi Markkanen, who finished with 25 saves.
Leading 1-0, Iginla gave the Flames a two-goal lead at 15:32 of the first period when he stole the puck from defenseman Cory Cross, moved in alone and sent a shot through Markkanen’s pads for his second goal of the season.
“A couple mistakes and we’re down 2-0 early in the hockey game,” Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger said. “We’ve fallen into that in the last three games and we’ve lost the last three games. We need to come out a little smarter and make sure were away defensively and try to limit our mistakes as much as possible.”
The goals by Langkow and Iginla were Calgary’s first opening-period goals of the season … The Flames are now 6-1-1 in their last eight meetings with Edmonton. … After being split up for one game, Calgary’s top line of Tony Amonte, Iginla, and Langkow were reunited, and the trio played one of its best games of the year.