SUN Hockey Pool

Pack in the box

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

DETROIT -- Time and time again, the powerplay was absolute magic.

Passes were crisp and sharp, with bullets for point shots headed toward a net that had plenty of traffic in front.

Just the way the coach draws it up.

And the Flames had the best seat to watch it all.

While Calgary's powerplay has been a weak point through the pre-season and early days of the regular season, no such problems for the Detroit Red Wings.

In helping prove any predictions of a Motown freefall were a tad premature, the Red Wings clicked five times with the extra man -- three times in the first period alone -- to post a 6-3 thrashing of the Flames yesterday afternoon in a sold-out Joe Louis Arena.

"That's unacceptable. We know that in our room," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"We have to change this pretty quick. This first period was even worse than it was in the first game of the season (another 6-3 loss to Minnesota).

"It's not just the penalties -- you're gonna take penalties -- but you've got to kill some. We were nowhere close to good enough on special teams."

Calgary, which was 0-for-4 with the man- advantage, falls to 1-2 on the season, while the Wings have three victories in as many outings.

Maybe it was a case of the Wings being out for revenge for that second-round playoff upset of 2004 because the hosts were ready to make amends before the 20,066 in attendance by establishing the pace of play.

The Flames were all-world in shooting themselves in the foot to put the game out of reach before the first intermission.

At 2:55, Jordan Leopold was sent to the penalty box for tripping. Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom took advantage with the first man-advantage marker of the clash.

At 4:51, Tony Amonte was given a double minor for high sticking. Brendan Shanahan scored.

At 15:41, Dion Phaneuf was also assessed four minutes for high sticking. He had a perfect view from the sin bin when Mikael Samuelsson tallied.

It could have been even worse, seeing as the Flames were shorthanded seven times in the opening period, which ended with a shot clock that read

22-4 for the hosts.

One team watched the mastery, while the other performed it.

"They've always been pretty quick and we probably made them look quicker," Iginla said.

"They've always been one of the best teams at puck possession and when you're not moving your feet, it looks there like they're playing with us. That's not even close to our best."

The good news is Calgary was only shorthanded twice the rest of the way. The bad news? Detroit hit paydirt both times.

The Flames actually tried to make a game of it in the second and were rewarded when Rhett Warrener put his team on the board thanks to a point shot deflected by Detroit's Kris Draper past a startled Manny Legace. But they couldn't pull close enough to have a shot of drawing even.

Detroit goals by Henrik Zetterberg and Robert Lang sandwiched Roman Hamrlik's tally in the second period, while Pavel Datsyuk and Chuck Kobasew traded third-period markers.

Philippe Sauve replaced Kiprusoff after the second period, with the starting netminder the victim of five goals on 36 shots. Sauve stopped three of four shots.

Detroit netminder Manny Legace made 21 saves.

"We'll learn and adjust from that game. Teams are too good around the league. You can't start like that," Iginla said.

The Flames' season-opening, four-game road swing concludes tonight in Colorado.

- - -

DETROIT RED WINGS: 6

CALGARY FLAMES: 3


Videos

Photos