Miikka Kiprusoff became the first Finnish netminder to collect 300 NHL wins, so it makes plenty of thematic sense that fellow Finn Olli Jokinen played a big role in that victory.
Jokinen scored a hat trick and added an assist while Kipper made 34 saves to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-3.
The victory wasn’t just fitting for the Finnish connection alone, as tonight ranks as a genuine full-circle moment for Kiprusoff. The Sharks drafted him in the fifth round in 1995, so it had to feel extra special to accomplish the task against the only other NHL team he’s ever played for.*
Putting it in historical perspective
Kipper is the 27th goalie to earn at least 300 career wins, but if you ask me, the most interesting peer is Evgeni Nabokov. The Sharks decided to go with the Russian instead of him years ago, as they opted to trade Kiprusoff to the Flames on Nov. 16, 2003. Check out how close those two are right now in career wins:
22nd all time: Billy Smith and Nabokov tied at 305 wins
24th: Olaf Kolzig – 303 wins
25th: Turk Broda – 302 wins
26th: Mike Richter – 301 wins
27th: Kiprusoff – 300 wins
Kiprusoff’s career record now stands at 299-194-7-60 thanks to the funky extra column for trades. (Hockey records used to be the worst, right?)
Flames franchise record breakers
As Mike Halford points out, this has been a milestone-happy run for Kipper, who recently became the Flames’ franchise leader in games played for a goalie. Considering the fact that Jarome Iginla recently took some all-time marks of his own, the duo of stars have made a big impact on the history of the Calgary Flames – even if they fell just short of a Stanley Cup.
It’s anyone’s guess how much longer Iginla and Kiprusoff will remain with the team, but they’ve left an indelible mark on the franchise. (Jokinen might have bought himself another year with his recent play, too, by the way.)
* – Interestingly enough, Kipper earned 14 wins with the Sharks franchise and 14 more against San Jose.