CALGARY, Alberta (AP) _ Pavel Datsyuk and Manny Legace have exceeded most
people's expectations this season.
Thursday night in Calgary, they were at it again, combining forces to knock
off the Flames.
Datsyuk set up both Detroit goals, including Steve Thomas' winner late in
the second period. Legace made 33 saves in the Red Wings' 2-1 victory over the
``Pav's one of those special players,'' said Legace. ``Losing Sergei
(Fedorov), he has filled that hole right away.
``We knew he had it in him, we just didn't realize that with him getting the
extra ice time and taking the spot Sergei had, that he would do as well as he
has. He's taken that role and just ran with it.''
Thomas put the Red Wings up 2-0 with the only goal of the middle period,
during which Detroit was outshot 14-5.
Datsyuk started the play by neatly stripping the puck from Flames rookie
Matthew Lombardi as he skated out of his end. He then sent a backhand pass to
the front of the net. Brett Hull slid the puck over to Thomas, who one-timed it
past goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
``When (Datsyuk) is back-checking, he's kind of stealth,'' said Hull. ``He
just picked his pocket from behind, I don't even think he knew he was there.''
Ray Whitney scored the other goal for Detroit, which concluded a three-game
Western Canada road trip with a 1-1-1 record. The Wings were missing defenseman
Chris Chelios, hurt Tuesday in Vancouver.
Chuck Kobasew scored the lone goal for Calgary, which lost for the fourth
time in five games to drop into seventh in the Western Conference. They Flames
are tied at 70 points with the Los Angeles Kings, with St. Louis two points
back in ninth.
The Flames came on strong in the third period, when Kobasew's hard slap shot
at 12:09 made it 2-1. But they could not get the tying goal.
``We have to bear down and play our game like we did in the third period for
the full 60 minutes,'' said Lombardi. ``We have to come out stronger knowing
that every game is a playoff game for us.''
With Dominik Hasek (groin) gone for the season and Curtis Joseph (ankle)
also out, Legace continues to shoulder the load in net. Legace has started
seven of the last eight games, winning five. On the season, he's 15-7-4.
``Manny's stood in there when we had a little adversity and has been able to
keep us in hockey games, and for the most part win some hockey games for us,''
Thomas said. ``Kudos to him, he's really done a good job.''
With the Flames storming the Red Wings' end most of the third period, Legace
had a close-up look at one of the NHL's most surprising teams. He was
``They came out solid in the third and ran us around, a credit to their
side,'' said Legace. ``They didn't give up down two goals and they've been
doing that for the last three months.''
Detroit opened the scoring when Denis Gauthier and Stephane Yelle couldn't
connect on a pass in the Flames' end. Datsyuk got the loose puck near the blue
line, fed a pass in front to Henrik Zetterberg, who in turn set up Whitney at
the side of the net.
Kiprusoff made 20 saves in dropping to 15-6-2. He's given up two or fewer
goals in 21 of his 23 starts.