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Flames send Blackhawks to fourth straight loss

by Brian Compton
Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 35 shots as Calgary handed the Chicago Blackhawks its fourth straight loss in a 3-2 decsion at the United Center on Sunday night.
In their last three games, the Chicago Blackhawks have faced Roberto Luongo, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Miikka Kiprusoff.
No wonder why the Hawks are struggling.
Kiprusoff made 35 saves – including 18 in the third period – as the Calgary Flames handed Chicago its fourth straight loss in a 3-2 decision at the United Center on Sunday night.

“The last three goaltenders we’ve faced are Luongo, Giguere and Kiprusoff,” Savard said after the Blackhawks’ latest loss. “They can put you on a losing streak – all three of them. I can’t fault our guys. They worked, they battled. Hockey’s a funny game sometimes.”
Nobody was laughing on the Chicago bench when stay-at-home defenseman Cory Sarich broke a 1-1 tie for the Flames with 7:41 to play in regulation. Daymond Langkow gave the Flames a 3-1 lead just over two minutes later on a power play goal before Dustin Byfuglien got Chicago back within a goal at 14:39.
Sarich’s tally appeared to have been deflected before going past Nikolai Khabibulin. It was his 12th goal in 566 NHL games.
''That's the way they usually go in for me,'' Sarich said. ''All I could see is it hit a Chicago player, maybe (Magnus) Johansson, but I'm not exactly sure. As long as they go in.''
Robert Lang gave Chicago a 1-0 lead 10:50 into the game, when he redirected a shot from the left circle by Byfuglien past Kiprusoff for his ninth goal of the season.
Owen Nolan knotted things up for Calgary when he beat Khabibulin at the 7:57 mark of the second period. The veteran forward took a pass from Alex Tanguay and fired a slap shot from the left wing that Khabibulin couldn’t glove to make it 1-1.
“He played a heck of a game,” Savard said of Khabibulin, who finished with 26 saves. “You can’t fault him on any goals. The last two goals, they were tipped. The puck’s just not going our way right now. We’ve got to find ways and continue to work. I like the way we’re playing.”
Kiprusoff was lights out for the majority of the contest and was sensational in the third period. He made a sprawling save on Patrick Sharp in the game’s final seconds to preserve the win for the Flames, who were playing the first of a six-game road trip.
''Sometimes, if you don't know where the puck is, it's best to lay down and hope it's under you,'' Kiprusoff said. ''Everyone was jumping, but I knew the puck was under me.''
Calgary coach Mike Keenan was thrilled with Kiprusoff’s performance. The Flames (12-13-5) will look to make it 2-for-2 on this road trip when they visit the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. It is the longest road trip for Calgary this season.
''It was a tight game and Miikka gave us a fantastic game tonight,'' Keenan said. ''Earlier this season, he struggled a little bit, but this was a good road game for us.''
Meanwhile, Savard remains confident that the Blackhawks (14-13-2) will bounce back, perhaps as early as Wednesday night when they host the Los Angeles Kings.
“We’ve got to make our own luck, but it’s not about effort,” Savard said. “It’s not about chances; we’re getting a lot of chances. We’re working. We’ll get out of this, and, in the long run we’ll be better off for it.”
Red Wings 5, Hurricanes 2 | Video
NHL, meet your new hottest team.
With the New Jersey Devils’ nine-game winning streak coming to an end on Sunday, Detroit has become the team nobody wants to play as the Wings made it six in a row with an impressive win over Carolina at Joe Louis Arena.
Jiri Hudler had three assists for Detroit (21-6-2), which received a game-winning goal from Andreas Lilja with 7:20 remaining in the second period ( 700K ). Lilja broke a 2-2 tie when he ripped a slap shot past Hurricanes’ netminder Cam Ward for his second goal of the season. Ward finished with 33 saves for Carolina (16-12-3).
Lilja entered the game with just 11 career tallies. It was his fourth in just over two seasons with the Red Wings.
''It's always nice to score. It doesn't happen often,'' Lilja said. ''When it happens, that makes it better.''
Detroit pulled away in the third period on goals from Pavel Datsyuk ( 700K ) and Tomas Holmstrom ( 700K ), which came just 36 seconds apart. But it was Valtteri Filppula ( 700K ) and Johan Franzen ( 700K ) who got the Wings going, as the unlikely pair helped Detroit get out to a 2-1 lead.
''Earlier it was said that we had no secondary scoring,'' Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

''But they're rounding into shape.''
Hudler’s three assists give him 20 points for the season. His play has taken some pressure off arguably the best line in the NHL, which features Henrik Zetterberg (41 points), Datsyuk (35 points) and Holmstrom (28 points).
''It's 82 games, you've got to help the first line,'' Hudler said. ''They score a lot of goals, but we're going to need everybody.''
Carolina has received contributions from multiple sources this season, but Erik Cole was the lone member of the Hurricanes to find the back of the net on Sunday. Cole scored both of

Carolina’s goals in the second period, and both erased deficits. In the end, though, Detroit’s firepower was simply too much to overcome.
''It's tough,'' said Cole. ''You have to keep trying to battle back, coming from behind.''

Avalanche 9, Blues 5 | Video 

It was a long night for Blues' goaltender Hannu Toivonen who surrendered five goals on 15 shots as St. Louis fell to the Colorado Avalanche 9-5 on Sunday night.
Anyone who paid money hoping to see some goals at the Pepsi Center on Sunday certainly went home happy.
Milan Hejduk had a hat trick and three assists, Paul Stastny had two goals and three assists and Ryan Smyth had a goal and two assists as Colorado terrorized St. Louis all night long in a wild affair.
“It was just a fun game,” Hejduk said. “The whole team played well. Our line, everything we touched went in. Just one of those nights.”
One the Blues would much rather soon forget. St. Louis entered the night not having allowed more than four goals in any game this season. On Sunday, they allowed five in the second period alone.
It was only 1-1 after the opening period, but Hejduk quickly broke the tie with his second goal of the night at the 5:02 mark of the second ( 700K ) on a power play tally. The lead was short-lived, though, as Jay McClement scored the second goal of the night on a penalty shot just 42 seconds later ( 700K ).
And then, the rains came.
Stastny put the Avs back in front at 10:01 ( 700K ), Wojtek Wolski made it 4-2 at 11:28 ( 700K ), Brett Clark made it a three-goal game at 14:38 ( 700K ) and Smyth put Colorado up by four at 17:27 ( 700K ).
Just like that, it was 6-2. All four of those goals came at even strength. Blues goalie Hannu Toivonen allowed five goals on 15 shots before being replaced by Marek Schwarz.
''We didn't give Hannu a lot of help back there, and the game was back in reach, so we wanted to show him that we still believe in him,'' Blues coach Andy Murray said.
Stastny certainly enjoyed Colorado’s ability to score basically at will, but the highly-talented forward realizes it certainly could be a while before it happens again. The Avalanche’s nine goals were the most by one team since the Toronto Maple Leafs picked up a 10-2 win against the Boston Bruins on Jan. 4, 2007. On the same night, the San Jose Sharks earned a 9-4 win over Detroit.
“It happens,” Stastny said of the outburst. “A couple of bounces, and things start going your way. You never expect it. You can’t expect it every game. I think you just have to go out there and work hard. Some days, they’re going to go in.”
They started to go in for the Blues in the third period, as Doug Weight and rookie David Perron scored a minute apart early in the frame to pull St. Louis within two. Colorado coach Joel Quenneville immediately called a timeout.
“You’re up by four, you give up two, it’s almost like it’s a new hockey game,” Quenneville said.

“You can’t take shifts off. We had to get the momentum back and we had to play harder.”
The Avs did just that, as they regrouped and not only regained their four-goal lead, but increased it to five as Stastny, Hejduk and Wolski all found the back of the net in a span of less than seven minutes. Blues’ forward Lee Stempniak scored at 19:19 ( 700K ) to round out the scoring.
It was certainly impressive to see the Avalanche find a way to score so many goals without arguably the greatest player in franchise history. Without Sakic, the line of Stastny-Hejduk-Smyth was downright dominant and looks to be developing a tremendous amount of chemistry. The trio combined for 14 points on Sunday night.
“Joe’s a big part of this team,” Smyth said. You can’t replace Joe, and everybody’s got to step up. As a line, we took it upon ourselves to do that. Everybody in this locker room is bringing their assets to the table to fill the void for Joe.”
''When you score nine goals, there is a pretty good chance that those guys are going to be involved in a lot of them,'' Murray said.

Material from wire services and team media were used in this report.
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