Turns out he was just getting started.
What happened next in this semifinal jolted Canada Hockey Place: The Americans scored four times on Kiprusoff in a six-goal first period Friday, earned a 6-1 victory and surged into the Olympic gold-medal game. The U.S. will meet the Canada-Slovakia winner Sunday.
Only twice in the past 10 years has an NHL team led by at least six goals after the first period, and no NHL team has scored six in any period this season. "It was a crazy 12 minutes," said forward Patrick Kane, who scored twice. "I've never been a part of something like that. It seemed like we were scoring every shift."
It felt even longer to the Finns. "The game is over after six minutes," Finland forward Teemu Selanne said. "It was a long day and very disappointing."
By the time Kiprusoff left the game 10:08 in, the U.S. had a 4-0 lead on only seven shots. The Calgary Flames goalie had allowed four goals on 75 shots in three previous games, giving him the top save percentage in the tournament.
"No one is ever as good as they look. And no one is ever as bad as they look, either," Jamie Langenbrunner said.
Kiprusoff's day appeared to be over after Eric Johnson made it 3-0 with a power-play goal at 8:36. That prompted Finnish coach Jukka Jalonen to call timeout. Kiprusoff got a reprieve, but he was back at the bench 1:32 later when Kane scored his first goal. This time Kiprusoff kept his mask on and marched straight down the tunnel toward the dressing room.
"We didn't expect that in a million years," U.S. defenseman Jack Johnson said. "I don't think anyone did, especially when you get down to the final four, but it happened for us and we're looking forward to Sunday."
It will be the first time since 1972 that the U.S. men will play for Olympic gold on foreign soil.
Kiprusoff had only himself to blame for the start of his misery. The U.S. cleared its zone with a nudge of the puck that sent it sliding slowly into the Finnish end. Phil Kessel raced after it and forced Kiprusoff to come way out of his crease. He gently swept the puck away, but right onto the stick of Malone. He quickly fired a shot from the top of the left circle into the vacated net at 2:04 for his third goal.
This marks the second time in three Olympics that the American men will play for gold. They haven't claimed the top spot on the podium since the 1980 Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid, N.Y. Canada edged the U.S. for gold in 2002 in Salt Lake City.
"We believed we could win a gold medal,'' Langenbrunner said. "Now we have the opportunity."