Killer times in red

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

Thirty-seven and counting.

That's not the number of wins the Calgary Flames have this season -- that total sits at 36 as the team prepares to visit Colorado tomorrow.

Thirty-seven is how many consecutive penalties the Flames have killed off since Vancouver scored on their first opportunity in Calgary's post-Olympic break debut.

The Flames have now played five full games without allowing a powerplay goal against.

"You don't concentrate on how many in a row, or anything like that, it's just going out and executing," said Flames grinder Darren McCarty when told of the lengthy streak.

"We pay more attention to where we're at in the league and creeping up percentage wise."

Jordan Leopold, who, along with blueline partner Robyn Regehr, has been a key element in keeping the streak alive, didn't want to jinx it.

"Let's not talk about it because every time we talk about it, something happens," said Leopold, who went on to try and explain some of their success after starting the season with the league's worst unit.

"I think just everybody's been on the same page, No. 1. Earlier in the year, we were struggling finding each other, making the right plays, getting the right clears at the right time.

"It's definitely a tough thing to do and we take pride in it. We want to be in the top 10 in the league. We're climbing up slowly but surely."

The Flames were 11th in the league before yesterday's games and boast the fourth-best percentage at home.

A big reason for the upward climb is the play of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 39 saves Thursday, en route to his league-leading eighth shutout of the season -- a 1-0 blanking of the Dallas Stars, who hadn't been shut out all year.

"Obviously, our best penalty killer is Kipper," said McCarty. "He does such a great job back there as you saw (Thursday).

"We're not giving teams great, great opportunities. They're going to get their shots and their chances but, when they do, Kipper's there."

McCarty also gives credit to the forward tandems which pressure opponents before the puck even makes it into the Flames zone.

"We've got four or five two-man units that kill -- and guys can be interchanged," said McCarty, whose fellow forwards Stephane Yelle, Marcus Nilson, Shean Donovan, Daymond Langkow, Tony Amonte and Jarome Iginla were also key elements in keeping the Stars' powerplay silent even during 1:08 of five-on-three time.

"Really, what's been our success -- especially since after the Olympic break -- is we're really doing a good job up the ice. Especially the first guy hounding the puck instead of just swinging off and letting them come back and try and take the neutral zone. We really attack and force.

"One of our keys to each game is to win the special teams war, so to speak.

"It's such a big part of the game. We all know that, come playoff time, it can be the difference between winning and losing."


Videos

Photos