Miikka Kiprusoff was drafted 116th overall in the 1995 Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. Five years later, he made his NHL debut on October 24, 2000 with 14 minutes of relief goaltending in the Sharks 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. He played five games that season and posted a 1.95 goals-against average with a 90.2 save percentage. In the playoffs against the Blues, Miikka posted an impressive 2.01 GAA with a 93.7 save percentage in three games. He was 1-1 in his two starts filling in for goaltending partner Evgeni Nabokov who was battling the flu.
In 2001-02, Miikka went 7-6-3 as the Sharks won the Pacific Division title with a club-record 44 wins. On January 5, he posted his first shutout against the Panthers. In the playoffs, the Sharks reached the second round before losing to the Avalanche. In 2002-03, Miikka went 5-14-0 as the Sharks fell 26 points in the standings and missed the playoffs.
In 2003-04, Miikka was traded to the Calgary Flames for a conditional draft choice in the 2005 Entry Draft. Miikka became an instant star with his new team, leading the Flames to their first playoff berth in eight years. Miikka posted a 24-10-4 record with four shutouts and a 93.3 save percentage in 38 games. He also led the league with 1.69 GAA, the lowest mark in modern history. In the playoffs, Miikka first backstopped the Flames past the Canucks, Red Wings and Sharks to win the Clarence Campbell Bowl. He posted four shutouts in the first three rounds.