Kipper’s top five career moments as a Calgary Flame
Carrying Flames to 2004 Stanley Cup final ranks at the top
1. The 2004 run to the Stanley Cup finals
Rescued from the scrap heap by then Flames’ coach/CM Darryl Sutter in exchange for a second-round draft pick (as ridiculous as that sounds today) on Nov. 16th, Kiprusoff was only acquired to pinch-hit for an injured Roman Turek (as ridiculous as that sounds today). The Flames won their first playoff round since 1989, upsetting the Vancouver Canucks and then chased a dream, clawing to within one goal of sending Game 7 of the final in Tampa Bay to overtime. During the run, Kiprusoff went 15-11 with a 1.81 GAA and .928 save percentage. A star had been born.
2. The Vezina Trophy season
In 2005-2006, Kiprusoff produced finest regular season ever by a Flames’ netminder and one of the most spectacular anywhere in recent memory. He fashioned a 40-20-11 record, with 10 shutouts, a 2.07 GAA and was named first all-star team goalie, deservedly snared the Vezina as the top puck-repeller and wound up a finalist in the balloting for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, won by Joe Thornton.
3. Passes Mike Vernon on Flames’ all-time goaltending win list
By repelling 35 shots and slaying the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Oct. 14th, 2011 at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Kiprusoff passed the only man to backstop the organization to a Stanley Cup, hometown hero Vernon, and into first place with franchise win No. 263. “I feel,” he said that night, “like (this) is my team.” No kidding.
4. Detroit-Calgary 2006-2007 first-round playoff series
Yes, the eighth-seeded Flames were punted in six games by the top-dog Red Wings. But Kiprusoff was nothing short of other-worldly. Oddly, this was arguably his finest hour in the silks, despite being on the losing end of the stick. Out there on his own far too often, he stopped a ridiculous 239 shots over those six games, 53 alone before The Mule, Johan Franzen, finally put him out of his misery in double OT at the Saddledome, 2-1 in the decider. “He’s faced enough shots,” marvelled defenceman Rhett Warrener, “for three series.” They’ve given out Orders of Canada for less.
5. Win No. 300
Becomes only the 27th goaltender in history to hit the three-century mark, beating his old team, the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on Feb. 9th, 2012. He enters this abbreviated season with 311, good for 23rd position, trailing Evgeni Nabokov by one.
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