The 67's lost Logan Couture when he crashed into the boards about seven minutes into the second period yesterday. Without him, they suffered.
On the power play. On the penalty kill. And finally, with their 25th loss of the season.
A 5-2 setback at the hands of the Sarnia Sting kept the 67's winning streak from reaching three games, although damage was minimal in the standings as the teams on either side of them also lost.
Couture limped off with an undetermined leg injury after watching about 10 minutes of the action from a seat on the bench.
"We didn't play (Couture) because we were taking a precaution," said coach Brian Kilrea, who sent the team's second leading scorer to the dressing room with about three minutes left in the period. "He went for x-rays. We'll find out (the results) later and hope for the best."
A Civic Centre crowd of 7,139 saw the 67's slip to one game under .500.
But even in defeat, they remained three points ahead of Peterborough and six ahead of Brampton in the race for a Top 8 playoff spot.
While the Sting converted 4-of-7 power play chances, the 67's could make good only on 1-of-6.
"We just got beat in the special teams game," said winger Jason Bailey. "Their special teams were better than ours."
The Sting, which is 28-20-3-4 despite winning only twice in its last 13 games, found a morale boost in the form of a 2-0 lead on goals by Steve Stamkos, who later completed his hat trick.
The 67's got one back at 17:54 of the first when Jakub Vojta picked up his fifth of the season.
And they evened the score on a penalty shot by Jamie McGinn, with Arron Alphonso worthy of an assist on the play.
Hooked from behind by Sarnia's Steve Ferry, Alphonso crashed into the net and had to leave the game for repairs. Filling in, McGinn went low to the stick side for his 36th of the year.
Trevor Kell restored the Sarnia lead on a deflection at 15:30 of the middle period, 14 seconds after Matthieu Methot went off for holding. Methot was in the box again when Stamkos made the initial pass that led to a Craig Voakes goal at 15:17 of the third.
"Obviously, I thought we were lucky that (Lukas) Flueler played good in the first to hold us in it," said Kilrea, whose Swiss goalie made 32 saves. "And I thought we were doing good to be down just one heading into the third.
"We had one guy on for three against ... we had mistakes from overagers we usually expect more from.
"It hurts any time you lose anybody when you're already short," he added when asked about Couture's absence. "Especially a fellow who is one of your penalty killers and one of your leaders to score. He does everything."
The 67's are in Kingston tomorrow to play the Frontenacs, who they are battling for third in the division.
They're home Friday to host the East-leading Belleville Bulls.