Hockey

Kiprusoff, Thomas ready for showdown

Fans could be in store for a big-time goaltending duel as Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins visit Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames on Thursday (9 p.m. ET).

Fans could be in store for a big-time goaltending duel as Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins visit Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames on Thursday (9 p.m. ET).

Both netminders are red hot. Thomas is coming off back-to-back 1-0 shutout wins in Edmonton and Vancouver. After stopping 27 shots on Monday to beat Edmonton, he turned aside 31 the next night to stonewall the Canucks.

Boston coach Claude Julien had been alternating between Thomas and Manny Fernandez, but decided to throw the rotation out the window after Monday's shutout.

"As soon as the game was over Monday, I knew who I was going with," Julien said. "Not only did he get a shutout, but he played well. When I say something, I keep my word, and my word is, if somebody is going to get hot, he's going to get the chance to take the ball and run with it."

Kiprusoff a workhorse

Thomas is showing last year's outstanding play was no fluke.

The 34-year-old from Flint, Mich., who posted career bests in goals-against average (2.44) and save percentage (.921) in 2007-08, is putting up even better numbers this season. In six games, he's 3-1-0 with a 1.77 GAA and .943 save percentage.

Thomas has notched consecutive shutouts for the first time in his career as Boston (5-2-3) has won three straight games, all by one goal.

The margin for error will again be small on Thursday against Kiprusoff and the Flames.

The Calgary goalie has allowed just five goals during his team's four-game winning streak. On Tuesday, the 2006 Vezina Trophy winner made 22 saves in a 3-0 victory over Colorado for his first shutout of the season.

Kiprusoff's teammates permitted just two shots in the final period.

"Two shots, that's unbelievable in a close game like that," he said. "We got the lead there and we were able to shut them down. Those are huge points for us."

Kiprusoff has started all nine games this season for Calgary (5-3-1). That's nothing new for the workhorse Finn, who played in 76 out of 82 games last season, and 74 in each of the two previous campaigns.

After Thursday's game, the Flames travel to Los Angeles to face the Kings on Saturday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).

With files from the Associated Press