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Keenan gets No. 600 in Flames' fifth straight win

Sunday, 12.16.2007 / 11:04 PM / Roundup

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

The Calgary Flames defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Sunday night to improve to a sparkling 5-0 on their current six-game road trip.
Considering the way the Calgary Flames are playing, one has to wonder if they have any desire in returning to the Pengrowth Saddledome.
   
Kristian Huselius had a goal and four assists, Jarome Iginla had two goals and two assists and Daymond Langkow had two goals and an assist as the Flames improved to 5-0 on their six-game road trip with a 5-3 win over the St. Blues on Sunday night.

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It was a milestone victory for Calgary coach Mike Keenan, who picked up his 600th career win.
   
“It means you can hang around a long time,” Keenan said of the tremendous achievement. “It means you’ve got good hockey teams and good players to coach. Not too many people can say that they’ve had the opportunities I’ve had.”
   
Keenan had the opportunity to watch his top line of Huselius, Iginla and Langkow flourish on Sunday, as the trio combined for 12 points. Calgary also went 2-for-4 on the power play and denied the Blues on all three of their man advantages.
   
“They win hockey games for you in this league,” Keenan said of special teams. “Getting timely goals is really important.”
   
Langkow got a very timely goal for the Flames when he erased a 3-2 deficit at the 16:29 mark of the second period ( 700K ). Langkow took advantage of a turnover by St. Louis defenseman Eric Brewer, when his clearing attempt around the end boards landed on the stick of Huselius at the side of the net. Huslieus sent it across to Langkow for the easy tally to make it 3-3.
   
“As a group, the whole team feels good right now,” Huselius said. “We’ve got a lot of confidence. We just try to get better every day.”
   
Iginla potted what proved to be the game-winner when he scored his second goal of the night 7:55 into the third period ( 700K ). With the Flames on a power play, Iginla took a pretty cross-ice feed from Huselius and fired a wrist shot that beat Manny Legace to the far side as Calgary grabbed a 4-3 lead.
   
"We want to keep our streak rolling, and it was a tough game," Iginla said. "It was a game that for a bit there was going back and forth as far as momentum."
   
But the Flames were able to prevent St. Louis from notching the equalizer, and Langkow put the game away with an empty-net tally at 19:41 ( 700K ). Calgary will look to make 6-for-6 on this phenomenal road trip on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
   
“We’re happy with five in a row,” Huselius said. “Obviously, we’ve got to focus for our next game. It’s going to be a tough one in Columbus, but we know we can do it. We just have to play hard and smart.”
   
The Blues, meanwhile, are in the midst of a slump. Sunday’s loss dropped them to 0-3-1 in their last four games. The lone bright spot was the debut of Andy McDonald, who had a goal ( 700K ) and an assist after being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks.
   
"It's tough right now," Tkachuk said. "We're losing ground, but we competed tonight. The bottom line is getting results. We're just creeping down in the standings right now. We had chances to win the hockey game, but too many mistakes cost us."
   
Coyotes 5, Rangers 1 | Video
   
Wayne Gretzky’s return to Madison Square Garden was a memorable one.
   
Gretzky, who retired as a player with the New York Rangers in 1999, returned to the Big Apple on Sunday behind the Phoenix bench, and once again left a winner.
   
"It seems like it's fresh in my mind because I think about it a lot because I wish I could still play," Gretzky said. "Unfortunately I can't because I'm not good enough anymore. I remember the last day here. It's like it happened yesterday."
   
Battling the flu and laryngitis, Gretzky watched as Joel Perrault potted two goals and an assist, while Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 saves as the Coyotes picked up their second win as many days. On Saturday, Phoenix picked up an impressive 4-1 win at New Jersey.
   
"I don't know if it was revenge," Gretzky said of defeating one of his former clubs. "They're a good team. Over 82 games, you're going to have games where it doesn't go your way. We got a couple lucky bounces and did some good things but I know the next game they play they'll be a much different team."
   
After Perrault broke a scoreless tie 3:11 into the contest ( 700K ), Phoenix busted the game wide open with a four-goal outburst in the second period. Daniel Carcillo ( 700K ), Radim Vrbata ( 700K ), Fredrik Sjostrom ( 700K ) and Perrault ( 700K ) scored as the Coyotes registered 11 shots in the middle frame against Rangers’ goaltender Stephen Valiquette, who received a rare start. Phoenix hit the four-goal mark for the fourth time in six games.
   
"Maybe they're eating a lot of carrots," Gretzky joked. "Better eyesight."

"The second period obviously lost us the game," said Valiquette, who finished with 21 saves.

"The first three goals, I would say they were team goals. The last two I should have had."
   
It was a huge game for Perrault, who was playing in only his second game of the season after being recalled from AHL San Antonio last week. Both of his goals came via the power play.
   
"I was pretty proud of the way I played (Saturday) in my first game back since last January," Perrault said. "I was pretty happy with my skill level, and today was even better. There was good bounces for the first goal. It's just fun to get it started."
   
Bryzgalov set the tone in this one from the beginning, as he made five saves on New York’s first man advantage, which came less than 30 seconds into the game. 
   
"It's very important we killed that penalty," Bryzgalov said. "It gave us a little booster. We realized we can play and win the game."
   
The loss was the Rangers’ third straight at MSG and fifth in six games (1-4-1). Of the 75 goals they’ve allowed this season, 20 have come in their last four defeats.
   
"Any time you lose like this in front of your fans, you bet it's embarrassing," said Rangers center Scott Gomez. "We have a good team, though. We have a great bunch of guys, and we know what it takes."
   
Devils 4, Flyers 2 | Video
   
John Madden scored two goals to help lead the New Jersey Devils to a 4-2 win over the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Flyers.
Martin Brodeur got the best of Danny Briere. In the end, it helped New Jersey get the best of Philadelphia.
   
In a 1-1 game, Brodeur denied Briere on a penalty shot 9:32 into the second period ( 700K ). Forty seconds later, John Madden beat Antero Niittymaki for a shorthanded goal ( 700K ) -- his second goal of the game -- and the Devils never looked back in a win at the Prudential Center.
   
''That was the turning point in the hockey game,'' New Jersey coach Brent Sutter said. ''They get the penalty shot and Marty makes a great save. It was massive.''
   
Briere was awarded the free breakaway after being hooked by Devils’ defenseman Vitaly Vishnevski. Brodeur, however, was able to get his stick on Briere’s chance.
   
''It happens pretty quick,'' Brodeur said. ''It's not like a shootout where they take their time. Right away, the heat goes on and he tries for a shot. I had a feeling that wasn't the place he wanted to shoot because he had just missed. I knew he wasn't going to go high on me.''
   
Briere admitted he was trying to shock the future Hall of Fame netminder by shooting it low. But No. 30 didn’t bite.
   
''Just before, I tried to beat him high glove and he took it away,'' Briere said. ''I thought he would try for the same thing. When you have a goalie like him, you try to do the unexpected. Very rarely do I go five-hole. I tried to surprise him.''
   
After Madden scored shorthanded to give the Devils a 2-1 lead, Arron Asham put his team up by a pair when he ripped a shot from the slot past Niittymaki at the 13:57 mark of the second ( 700K ).

Briere cut the lead back to one when he beat Brodeur on a power play goal 6:44 into the third ( 700K ), but Jamie Langenbrunner secured the victory for New Jersey when he potted an empty-net tally at 19:55 ( 700K ).
   
Mike Richards also scored for the Flyers ( 700K ), who have lost three straight for the first time this season. Philadelphia will look to right the ship on Tuesday night, when it hosts the Phoenix Coyotes.
   
''We had three or four good chances to score before they get the short handed goal,'' Briere said. ''Brodeur made the key saves and they had the momentum on their side.

Panthers 3, Blackhawks 1 | Video    
   
In a game in which they were badly outplayed, the Florida Panthers relied heavily on goaltender Tomas Vokoun to skate away with two points.
   
Vokoun made 44 saves, while Jay Bouwmeester had a goal ( 700K ) and an assist as Florida edged Chicago despite being outshot 22-4 in the first period and 45-24 overall.
   
It marked the second straight game that Vokoun saw at least 40 shots. The Detroit Red Wings peppered Vokoun with 46 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Panthers on Saturday. Florida coach Jacques Martin was leaning towards playing backup Craig Anderson at the United Center, but instead went with his No. 1 netminder.
   
''I wasn't supposed to play, but Jacques changed his mind on the plane and told me I was playing,'' Vokoun said.
   
Vokoun was ready, evidenced by the 21 saves he made in the first period. Vokoun had managed to keep the Blackhawks off the board until Dave Bolland’s backhander got past the Panthers’ goalie with just 29.7 seconds to play in the opening frame ( 700K ). It was the rookie’s first NHL goal.
   
"They came out hard, but we've got to address that," Vokoun said. "Tonight we were lucky in a sense. We won the game, but some other nights this game could have been pretty quickly over. You can't put yourself in this situation all the time. Sooner or later, these things will catch up with you."
   
The Panthers – who also received goals from Richard Zednik ( 700K ) and Rostislav Olesz ( 700K )  – improved to 3-1-1 in their last five contests. They were forced to play without forward Ville Peltonen, who suffered a foot injury on Saturday against the Red Wings.
   
''We got some scoring from different guys tonight and Tomas was there to cover up for our mistakes,'' Martin said. ''He made some big saves and we were able to capitalize when we had the opportunities.''
   
Despite suffering their sixth loss in seven games, Blackhawks coach Denis Savard was encouraged by his team’s effort against Florida. Had it not been for Vokoun, Chicago would probably have picked up the victory.
   
''We played a heck of a game,'' Savard said. ''We had enough chances to win, but we can't accept losing. I talked about being desperate last week. We have to be more desperate.''

Material from wire services and team media were used in this report.
Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead