Dominant 'tenders duel

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Both teams are riding winning streaks after less-than-stellar starts.

Both now pride themselves on team defence.

And both boast one of the NHL's elite between the goal posts.

These aren't your Stanley Cup-winning Detroit Red Wings taking on the Calgary Flames tonight at the Saddledome (7 p.m., Sportsnet).

Steve Yzerman has retired and Brendan Shanahan is taking a bite out of the Big Apple this year -- but one man who returned to Hockeytown is Dominik Hasek.

Like the Flames with Miikka Kiprusoff, the Wings have a whole lot of confidence knowing their last line of defence is capable of stealing a game or two.

"I think any team that gets on a win streak, night in and night out winning hockey games, you have nothing but confidence in your goaltender," said Red Wings veteran Kris Draper yesterday after practice at the Saddledome.

"When we've needed big saves at timely points of the hockey game, Dom's been there for us.

"We've won a lot of one-goal games on this streak.

"When you get up late in the game, that's what you expect from your goaltender -- especially a world-class goaltender like Dom."

Hasek has claimed seven straight as part of the Red Wings' nine-game winning streak, including back-to-back shutouts against Edmonton and Nashville last week. His goals-against average of 1.29 is incredible when you consider Hasek is nearly 42 years old.

About the only thing more impressive is Kiprusoff's performances for the Flames during their five-game string of victories.

Kiprusoff also has two goose eggs to his credit and a GAA of 1.00 during the run.

But the Finn has faced an average of 29 shots against, while Czech counterpart Hasek has fewer than 20.

"He's really turned it on during this streak, made some unbelievable saves," said Flames winger Tony Amonte.

"He's definitely stepped up his game. That's the only way we're going to win and he knows it. He's the best goalie in the league and keeps on going out there and proving it."

Darren McCarty says his former team has a bit of a new look to it but the club is still solid, especially on the back end.

"That's where it starts," said McCarty, who won a Stanley Cup with Hasek and the Red Wings in 2002.

"It's that old adage you win championships starting from your net out."

That said, McCarty feels the Flames can end one streak and continue their own by getting to Hasek early and often.

"The reason that he's playing so well, I think he's only facing 20 shots a night. A lot of guys can play well doing that," said McCarty.

"He is Dominik Hasek and you only get 20 shots on him, you don't have a very good chance to score.

"You've got to put as many pucks to the net as you can and I think that's what we'll try to do (tonight)."

First, they'll have to get through a formidable Detroit defence. The Wings were 3-4-1 before their streak began and have really stepped up their game defensively. Just like the Flames, who were 3-7-2 before finding their stride.

Draper said the first period is where his team has been setting the tone.

"We've certainly been real responsible in our own end. We've come out and held teams to not a lot of shots. Especially early," he said. "I think our first periods have been very good. We've been able to start very well."


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