CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Miikka Kiprusoff still hasn't decided if he'll retire at the end of the season. If the Calgary Flames goaltender does call it a career, he went out in front of his home crowd with a vintage performance Friday night.
Kiprusoff resembled the goalie who led the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, making 32 saves in a 3-1 victory over the playoff-bound Anaheim Ducks.
"It's been a pretty rough season but even with that, I'm going to take my time," Kiprusoff said when asked about retiring. "I've been doing this for a living for a long time. Even before I came over here, I played in Europe. It's been my life and nothing else. It takes lots from me."
Kiprusoff's contract pays him $5 million this season, but that will drop $1.5 million in 2014, the final year of an extension he signed in 2007. There has been rampant speculation that the 36-year-old will instead retire at the end of this season.
At the trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs pursued a trade for Kiprusoff, and after getting permission to talk with him, the goalie cited family reasons for not waiving his no-trade clause.
If this is it for Kiprusoff, the fans gave him quite a send-off.
After Corey Perry spoiled Kiprusoff's bid for his 45th career shutout with 3:41 left, the Ducks' sniper almost tied it ninety seconds later, only to have Kiprusoff sprawl and get the paddle of his stick down to deny the goal.
The sell-out crowd of 19,289 broke into chants of "Kipper, Kipper." Then, when they showed Kiprusoff on the video boards seconds later, the fans rose to their feet and remained standing, chanting his name, right through the end of the game.
With the game puck in his glove, Kiprusoff saluted the crowd after the final buzzer, waving of his stick at center ice.
"It's all you can ask as a player, it's an unbelievable feeling," said Kiprusoff, who is 23rd on the NHL's all-time wins list with 319. "This crowd, it seems like they've been behind me every game since I came here."
The win follows a spectacular 36-save performance Wednesday in Calgary's 3-2 win over Detroit.
"That's the player, right there, that you saw tonight, that the people of this city fell in love with for so many years and he provided his teammates and his organization with that play on a consistent basis for so long," said Mike Cammalleri, who had two assists. "It's up to him, it's his decision and what he wants to do with his life but if it is his last games, then completely fitting. He was awesome."
Roman Horak and Brian McGrattan each scored and Roman Cervenka added an empty-net goal for the Flames, who close with a four-game road trip beginning Sunday in Minnesota.