Jokinen’s go-ahead goal lifts Flames to 3-1 win
That is lofty praise considering that in six seasons in Calgary Kiprusoff backstopped the Flames’ run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2004 and won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender in 2006.
“I think he was disappointed, like the rest of us, on how things have gone here the last couple years,” Regehr said. “He was excited about getting here and doing a good job for the guys, and I think he’s done exactly that.”
Kiprusoff shrugged off the compliments in typical quiet fashion.
“He’s just pumping my tires,” Kiprusoff said with a grin. “When the team plays like that, it always makes a goalie’s job way easier. You look at tonight, 25 shots against, that’s nice, and makes it much easier for me.”
Since giving up six goals and getting pulled after 40 minutes in a 7-1 home ice loss to Chicago on Nov. 19, Kiprusoff has gone 6-2-1, posted three shutouts, and allowed only 11 goals. He has a 1.22 goals-against average and .957 save percentage during that stretch.
“Kipper made some big saves for us at big times,” Calgary coach Brent Sutter said.
The Flames, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, played at home for the first time since returning from a season-high, six-game road trip in which they went 4-2.
“It’s always tough to come back home after a long road trip,” Jokinen said. “It’s been eight games in the last nine we’ve been away so it was a big win for our club. We’ve just got to keep winning.”
Atlanta (15-10-3), which has lost three of four, will finish a four-game road trip Thursday night in Vancouver.
“We just didn’t put enough pucks at the net to really test Kiprusoff,” Atlanta coach John Anderson said. “Twice we had it right in the slot and decided to try and pass it off. We can’t see the whites of the eyes before we shoot.”
Calgary took charge in the second with two goals and a 14-6 edge in shots.
“We’re just one of those teams that likes to make the perfect play, and sometimes it’s not there,” Anderson said.
The Flames made it 2-0 at 14:28 when Iginla set up Jokinen, who overpowered Hedberg with a long slap shot that went in off the goalie’s glove.
“They have a lot of good hockey players, they have a good offense, but we played patient hockey,” Jokinen said. “After the first period, we played pretty solid hockey those last 40 minutes. We deserved to get the two points.”
Atlanta had been 9-3-1 on the road and had won four of five away from home.
“They’ve got a really, really good team,” Hedberg said. “One of the best goalies in the world, some top notch defenseman, and Iggy and Jokinen up front. They’re a tough team to beat.”
NOTES: Regehr (undisclosed injury) returned after missing one game. However, C Craig Conroy(notes) (undisclosed), shaken up Monday night in the Flames’ 2-1 loss at Los Angeles, was not in the lineup. … Atlanta rookie LW Evander Kane(notes) was a healthy scratch. … Atlanta’s 6-foot-7 defenseman Boris Valabik(notes) made his season debut after being out all season with an ankle injury. … Johnson’s assist was his first point with the Flames. … Calgary has scored first in 23 of 30 games. … Only the New York Islanders (11) and Colorado (12) have played fewer home games than Calgary (13). … The Flames, who played 11 of their previous 14 games on the road, began a 12-game stretch lasting into January in which they will play nine times at home.