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Point in right direction

Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman (centre) gets pushed into Calgary Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff...

Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman (centre) gets pushed into Calgary Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff (left) by Flames Bryan Marchment during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Monday, April 3, 2006.(CP PHOTO/Jeff McIntosh)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:14 AM ET

They've made their point.

A critical, you'll-take-all-you-can-this-time-of-year point.

Pardon the Calgary Flames for not celebrating it, though.

The expectation is to garner a deuce, even when playing for the fourth time in six nights and going into the night on a three-game winning streak, pointed out Andrew Ference, making last night's 2-1 shootout loss to the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings a disappointment.

"It was a step back from the other games as far as energy and a physical side," the Flames defencemen said.

"We played catch-up I think in the second period, running after guys and being a step behind.

"It was a missed opportunity."

On a night all the relevant Northwest Division hunters were in action, the targeted Flames managed to up their pace-setting point total to 93, three ahead of the second-place Colorado Avalanche.

Edmonton stands five points back and Vancouver is six points in arrears.

Calgary holds a game in hand on the Oilers and two on the Canucks.

Still -- and even with six regulars out of the lineup due to injury -- the Flames found no solace in adding a crucial point because, as defenceman Robyn Regehr pointed out, they allowed the veteran-laden Red Wings dictate the game.

"I think everyone on our team knows that if we had one of our best efforts the game was there for us to win," Regehr said. "Unfortunately, we didn't play very well in the second period there and it cost us a goal and went into overtime.

"I don't think anyone is very happy with the way we played. We knew they were going to be tired and we didn't take advantage of that.

"We kind of let them play their game out there. We didn't come out and establish too much of our game."

They can thank goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff for keeping them in the game.

Attempting to equal the franchise record by capturing his 39th win of the season, Kiprusoff was again spectacular through the first 65 minutes.

He racked up 42 saves, many of the highlight-reel variety, in keeping the Wings at bay.

Only cagey vet Steve Yzerman was able to beat Kiprusoff during regulation time, taking advantage of a faceoff scramble as the game neared its midway point.

Kiprusoff, however, couldn't cover his disappointment over not holding the fort in the showdown for the extra point, during which he surrendered goals to Pavel Datsyuk and Jason Williams, as Calgary fell to 2-6 in shootouts.

"That's one thing I'm going to practice a lot next summer and next training (camp)," he said quietly.

For Calgary, Dion Phaneuf scored his 18th goal of the season, which ties him with Gary Suter for the most by a Flames rookie defenceman.

Chris Osgood rejected both Matthew Lombardi and Jarome Iginla in the shootout, to garner the victory for Detroit, which tied the NHL record by winning on the road for the 28th time this season.

Calgary will face Phoenix tomorrow night at the 'Dome.


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