SAN JOSE, Calif. – Miikka Kiprusoff low-keyed his kick save. The rest of his teammates were a little more jubilant.
Daymond Langkow scored early in the third period, and the Calgary Flames held on to beat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in a matchup of division leaders on Saturday night. Olli Jokinen also scored for the Flames, who have earned at least one point in 13 of 15 road games this season.
For all of Calgary’s offensive exploits, it was Kiprusoff’s third-period save – when he kicked out the puck with his left skate – that had everybody talking.
“It was unreal,” Langkow said. “I don’t even know how he saw it. It was a huge save, and belongs on the highlight reel.”
Kiprusoff stopped 35 shots to beat his former team for the 11th time in 19 games. San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov made 34 saves.
“I saw it hit my glove and I knew it was right there,” Kiprusoff said. “It can go anywhere when you kick it like that, and this time it went into the corner.”
Scott Nichol was the victim of the improbable save.
“I took one look and that was enough for me,” Nichol said. “I also hit the crossbar. That’s what makes him such a good goalie, he never gives up on the puck.”
Ryane Clowe scored for the Sharks, the Pacific Division leaders who lost for the second time at home in regulation (8-2-3).
“We hit the post, they hit the post and both goalkeepers were good,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said. “We didn’t get the one we needed.”
The Flames maintained their one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche in the Northwest Division with the fourth win in their last five trips to San Jose.
Jokinen not only scored a goal, but was part of a defensive effort that kept Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau without a point in a game for the third time this season and the first since Oct. 15.
“They’ve been the highest scoring line so far and we knew it would be a challenge,” Jokinen said. “It was just a good two points for us.”
Clowe gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead with 15:20 left in the second period. Clowe and Douglas Murray combined to win the puck off the boards. It made its way to Dan Boyle, who took a shot from the right side that Kiprusoff failed to smother. Clowe tapped in the rebound for the goal.
Jokinen tied it six minutes later, taking a crossing pass from Jarome Iginla and scoring inside the far post.
“This was a game that both teams needed goaltending, and got it,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. “They both made big saves. The one by Kipper was unbelievable. The puck is heading into the net and he throws a foot up to knock it out.”
Langkow found himself perfectly positioned for the winning goal with 16:24 left. Rene Bourque grabbed the puck behind the net and centred it to the wide-open Langkow.
NOTES: Flames D Robyn Regehr, matched against Thornton’s line, was injured. … Radio broadcaster Randy Hahn called his 1,000th Sharks game. … Flames D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 370th consecutive game, the NHL’s current leader. … Iginla has 13 goals and eight assists over his last 16 games. … Clowe has five goals and five assists during a nine-game point streak. … Thornton had his 10-game point streak snapped. … Langkow has 31 points in 41 games against the Sharks.