Calgary Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff played brilliantly last season even as his team struggled.
He won 35 games and posted excellent ratios (2.35 goals-against average, .921 save percentage). The outmanned Flames lost 16 games in overtime or in the shootout, but Kiprusoff kept them competitive almost every night.
This season has not gone nearly as well. His ratios (3.76 GAA, .854 save percentage) are abysmal and the Flames are lagging behind the playoff race as a result.
But coach Bob Hartley told the Calgary Herald that he remains confident in his tireless veteran.
“I'll be very honest with you, Miikka Kiprusoff was one of the reasons why I decided to come to Calgary,” Hartley said. “I still feel the same way about Miikka Kiprusoff. If I would be a betting man, I know Miikka Kiprusoff is going to win way more games for the Calgary Flames than he's going to lose.
“He's one of the best goalies in the league. I feel very comfortable, very confident, with Miikka. And I know that he's going to bounce back.”
Goaltender coach Clint Malarchuk told the Herald that Kiprusoff did have some issues in the Colorado loss.
“He struggled at times a little bit,” Malarchuk said. “For the most part, the guy is an ultimate competitor and he battled through it the best he could. Things kind of fell apart at the end but I think, the second goal -- he knows he didn't have it. The fourth one -- he knows. And we talked about it. And we move forward.
“The Kiprusoff bar is pretty high. If he even lets in one bad goal, people are like, 'Oh my God.' But he's still a human and he's still a goalie. No matter how good you are, those are going to happen.”