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Cammalleri, Flames torch Sabres 5-2

by John Kreiser
The Calgary Flames are among the NHL's hottest teams -- and no Flame is hotter than Mike Cammalleri.

The 26-year-old center had 8 goals in his last six games before the All-Star break, and continued his hot scoring on Wednesday night with three more goal as the Flames burned the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Cammalleri has scored eight times during a four-game goal-scoring streak and has 11 goals and 13 points during a seven-game points streak. Cammalleri's 25 goals are a team high, and the Flames are 13-3-1 when he scores.

"Obviously it's going in for me right now and it feels pretty good when the puck's going in like that. It definitely adds to the confidence level, and the stick feels pretty comfortable in your hands," Cammalleri said.

The Flames are 6-2-0 in their last eight games and 13-3-1 in their last 17. They've won nine of their last 10 at the Saddledome, where they've lost only five times in regulation this season.

Todd Bertuzzi broke a 2-2 tie at 7:08 of the third period when he snuck past Toni Lydman at the Buffalo blue line and beat Ryan Miller on the stick side, just under the crossbar.

Cammalleri then put the game away by scoring twice in a 1:24 span to complete his second career hat trick. His second of the night came at 11:24 off a pass from Jarome Iginla that he mostly fanned on, only to see the puck slide into the net. The third came at 13:08, triggering a barrage of hats from the sellout crowd.

"I've played a lot of games in college against Ryan Miller, he's always been the opposite, ultra-stingy, so it was lucky to get a lucky one on him," Cammalleri said of his fluky second goal.

It was a huge turnaround for the Sabres, who came to Calgary one night after embarrassing the Oilers, winning 10-2 and handing Edmonton the worst loss in franchise history. Buffalo appeared to run out of gas in the third period, allowing three unanswered going and being outshot 19-5.

"Things were going pretty good," Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. "We had the first couple scoring chances in the third, and it seemed once they got the go-ahead goal we got sloppy, we got careless, and that led to the fourth and fifth."

Cammalleri put the Flames ahead 1-0 just 3:51 into the game when he rifled a power-play rebound past Miller. Ryan Phaneuf made it 2-0 at 4:10 of the second period, taking a bad-angled shot from the left wing near the goal line that slithered through Miller's legs.

But the Sabres regrouped and tied the score before intermission.

Drew Stafford, who had three goals in Edmonton, got his fourth in two nights by coming out of the corner and getting three whacks at the puck before knocking it past Miikka Kiprusoff at 11:43. Tim Connolly got the Sabres even with 50.8 seconds left by wristing a power-play shot over Kiprusoff's shoulder.

"There's no excuses for this," Stafford said. "Every team has got to play in your own end in order to be successful. It was just a poor effort in the third in our own end and as far as getting pucks to the net. That's something we've got to get ready for in Phoenix."

Blackhawks 3, Ducks 2 | Video

Chicago got its eight-game road trip off to a good start thanks to Nikolai Khabibulin, who survived a 38-shot barrage to help the Hawks to their first regulation win at Anaheim since Feb. 7, 2001.

"They really took it to us in the second and third periods," said Chicago forward Patrick Kane, whose power-play goal at 16:41 of the first period put Chicago ahead to stay. "They probably outplayed us. But our goaltender came up big and we buried our chances."

Kane's goal broke a personal 12-game drought and put the Hawks ahead 2-1. Jonathan Toews beat Jonas Hiller with a blast from the slot 3:13 into the second for what proved to be the winner when Travis Moen blasted a shorthanded slap shot from inside the left circle past Khabibulin at 19:50.

The third period was scoreless, but not for lack of trying by the Ducks, who dominated play, especially down the stretch, but were unable to get another puck past Khabibulin. His best stop came with about a minute left when he got a glove on Samuel Pahlsson's tip of Chris Pronger's slapper from straight away.

"He made a lot of big saves, but I think we played pretty solid," Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We got some goals when we needed to get them. They obviously had it at the end, but we battled hard and got the win."

It was a frustrating night for the Ducks, who had won 7-3 at Phoenix on Tuesday.

"We came out and knew what we had to do, throw lots of rubber at the goalie, get in front of him and try to screen him," Moen said. "We just needed a few more bounces. I thought we worked extremely hard tonight. We just didn’t quite get the win."

The Hawks got off to a fast start when Adam Burish shoved a rebound into the net 3:07 into the game. Bobby Ryan deflected Pronger's power-play blast into the net at 12:53 to tie the game. It was Ryan's 11th goal this month, the most by a rookie in one month since Alex Ovechkin had 11 in March 2006. He also set a team record by scoring for the fifth game in a row.

Kane's goal, his first since Dec. 20, came when he tucked Martin Havlat's passout into the open left corner after Hiller lost his stick.

"I think it was a well-played hockey game," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "We created lots of chances for ourselves. We probably made a couple of mistakes in critical areas that cost us, but I thought our work ethic was strong. Playing in a back-to-back situation, we were able to carry a lot of that same type of energy into the game. I don't think we were rewarded for the hard work that we put in."

The Ducks got Teemu Selanne back after he missed 17 games after suffering a severe leg cut at Edmonton on Dec. 19.

"I think I felt better as the game went on," Selanne said. "Missing 17 games, it’s not normal just to come back. I knew that the next step was to start playing games and get into those situations. It’s a really good start. I’m happy I have no pain. It was tough to lose. We were working very hard. We just couldn’t score the third goal."

Predators 5, Canucks 3 | Video

A two-goal lead against the Western Conference's lowest-scoring team with All-Star Roberto Luongo in net should have been enough to end Vancouver's six-game home losing streak. Instead, Nashville scored four unanswered goals to end its six-game losing streak against the Canucks.

The Predators got three goals in a six-minute span from a most unlikely source -- their 29th-ranked power play -- after Vancouver scored three times on four shots in the first 6:58 of the second period. Martin Erat, Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont scored with the man advantage before David Legwand hit the empty net with 54.1 seconds left to stun the full house at G.M. Place, which saw the Canucks lose their eighth in a row at home.

"The results aren't there," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "It's up to us -- the coaches, players and management -- to get the results we think we can get. We have to look for ways to improve."

The Preds led 1-0 after one period on a goal by Joel Ward. Vancouver's Alex Burrows tied the game at 1-1 when he finished off a 2-on-1 break with a blast from the left circle that beat Pekka Rinne 1:24 into the middle period. Sami Salo's power-play slapper from the left point went through a screen and into the net at 5:17, and Ryan Johnson capitalized on a giveaway to score on a backhander that popped the water bottle, giving the Canucks a seemingly safe 3-1 lead.

But after Nashville coach Barry Trotz called his timeout, the Predators settled down, began forcing the Canucks into penalties, and capitalized on their chances with the extra man as they ended a three-game losing streak.
"My line and I are here to be productive and score goals -- create offense for this team. I think we all feel the pressure with the situation we're in." -- Mats Sundin

"It did calm us down," forward Steve Sullivan said of the timeout. "The fans were into it, so it kind of cuts their momentum. It wasn't what we had to do; it's what they were doing. They were starting to feel it, they were starting to roll pretty good. It was an extra 30 seconds for them to enjoy their goal and maybe lose a little bit of focus. It got us back into the game."

Erat made it 3-2 at 16:01 by banging in a rebound after Luongo made a save in traffic. Jason Arnott's one-timer from the top of the left circle at 19:49 tied the game, and J.P. Dumont picked up a rebound at the side of the net, pulled the puck back and tucked in into an empty net 2:01 into the third period to put Nashville ahead.

"We got in penalty trouble and they made us pay," Vigneault said. "Penalty-killing has been a strong suit of this team, but we're not getting it done."

"It was a weird game," said Rinne, who finished with 27 saves. "We started well, slowed down in the second, but the last 30 minutes, we were really strong."

Mats Sundin's cross-checking penalty set up Arnott's goal -- the fourth time in seven games since his return that he's been in the penalty box for an opponent's power-play goal. He has 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points in those seven games.

"Of course," he said when asked if he was feeling pressure. "My line and I are here to be productive and score goals -- create offense for this team. I think we all feel the pressure with the situation we're in."

Material from wire services and team online and broadcast media was used in this report.

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