Flames too hot to handle

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:44 PM ET

That it was their eighth win in a row wasn't on their minds.

Nor was the fact the milestone win equaled a Calgary record.

The happiness in Calgary's dressing room came with how the club produced last night's 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings -- with authority.

"It was one of our best games, especially against a team that talented," stated defenceman Rhett Warrener. "We worked hard and we worked smart. They had some chances but for the most part we were in control of the play and (outplayed) them. That's the secret to our success."

Claiming every game this month, the Flames put an assertive stamp on the victory, which ties the team's mark for consecutive wins since the club moved to Calgary.

The franchise record is 10, set in the fall of 1978 when they were still the Atlanta Flames.

Coming into the tilt, the hosts were the hottest team in the NHL but the opposition, being a Red Wings squad sitting atop the league standings, was a perfect measuring stick.

The Flames didn't just stand alongside their highly-touted antagonists. They beat them pillar to post thanks in big part to a frenetic forecheck.

Warrener was thrilled about the performance from the forward crew.

"When they do a job like that, we don't play in our end. That's certainly a nice way to play a game as defencemen," he enthused. "Our forwards are definitely capable of doing that and showed it tonight."

Just like they were when it came to scoring at key times.

Down early thanks to Robert Lang's goal 80 seconds into the clash, which came off Andrew Ference's defensive zone turnover, Tony Amonte gave the Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289 reason to erupt by scoring just past the period's midway point.

Buoyed emotionally, Calgary took over from that point, pulling ahead on Chuck Kobasew's goal late in a second period during which his squad outshot the Wings by an impressive 16-6 count.

And when former Detroit favourite son Darren McCarty added the insurance marker early in the third, the Wings were all but cooked.

"I didn't like a few things that happened but the bottom line is you've got to give them credit," said Wings head coach Mike Babcock. "They worked hard, played hard and found a way to get the puck in the back of our net three times."

And they controlled the tempo with that relentless forecheck, too.

"I haven't seen us fumble the puck like that," Babcock said. "Is that because they're coming hard or it because we didn't manage the puck on the back as well as we normally do?"

It couldn't have been more different from the first meeting of the season, a 6-3 thrashing in which the Wings netted five powerplay goals. And quite a change from the opening month, which ended with Calgary three games below the .500 mark but now sitting 12-7-2.

"We came home after that second long road trip and the record wasn't looking so great but knew we had eight of the next nine at home and had to make something happen," said Amonte. "But we've done it one game at a time. You're not going to make the playoffs in one night. You've got to do it every night."

On the two-year anniversary of being acquired by the Flames, goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 21 shots to claim the win.

Manny Legace stopped 25 shots for Detroit.


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