Flames newbies start rough

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

DETROIT -- It wasn't exactly the debut they were hoping for.

Brad Stuart and Wayne Primeau suited up as Calgary Flames for the first time but the combination of fatigue and a fiery Detroit Red Wings attack didn't allow them a taste of the winning atmosphere they expected after being traded away from the Boston Bruins a night earlier.

The Flames fought back with three goals in the third period but it was too late to salvage the outing as the Red Wings came away with a7-4 victory at the Joe Louis Arena yesterday.

Still, Stuart is amped about the opportunity in front of him after the Bruins sent him to a potential Cup contender along with Primeau for Andrew Ference and Chuck Kobasew.

"I'm excited about it," said Stuart, making his first public comments since the deal was announced Saturday night.

"Obviously we got off to a bit of a rough start tonight but I have a good feeling about this team. To get the chance to play in Calgary I think will be good for me and I'm just generally excited."

Primeau, too, was in a positive state of mind joining a new team but the draining events of the previous 24 hours caught up to all involved, including the Flames players who seemed both mentally and physically depleted at the end of a three-game, four-night road trip.

"It made for a long night, a long day for sure. Found out about 25, 30 minutes after the game last night. Basically went home and sat down with the family a little bit, had to pack up not knowing when I'll be able to get back to Boston to get some more stuff," said Primeau.

He got to bed around 2 a.m. and got up five hours later to catch an early flight into Detroit. Not that he could catch much rest.

"I couldn't really sleep too much," he said. "It was definitely difficult, playing (Saturday), not so much physically but mentally draining. Finding out about the trade and not having the opportunity to see my son before I left. He was sleeping when I got home last night and sleeping whenI left, so that was difficult."

The Wings didn't waste any time taking advantage of the Flames, who gave up50 shots combined on Miikka Kiprusoff and Jamie McLennan. Before the midway mark of the first period, Henrik Zetterberg opened the scoring. Pavel Datsyuk and Mathieu Schneider followed up with goals 71 seconds apart a few minutes later to blow the game open and chase Kiprusoff.

McLennan came in and made some nice saves but the combination of listlessness among his own teammates and jump from the fresh Red Wings was too much.

Zetterberg netted his second of the night and Williams and Tomas Holmstrom also scored to make it a 6-1 game heading into the third period.

Alex Tanguay scored an unassisted goal after lifting Johan Franzen's stick and stealing the puck right in front of Wings starter Joey MacDonald, who earned his first NHL victory with 16 saves.

Jeff Friesen, Roman Hamrlik and Mark Giordano scored goals to get to within two late in the third period but Johan Franzen sealed the win with 1:23 remaining. McLennan admitted it's been a busy couple of days but was angry the team lost another chance to gain ground in the tight Northwest Division.

"I think it's been an emotional 24 hours but we can't use anything as an excuse," he said. "We're not 10 games into a season, we're 50 games into the season. We need more out of everyone."

Stuart -- who was traded to the Calgary Hitmen from Regina during the 1998-99 season -- hopes he can help end the Flames' four-game skid tomorrow at the 'Dome.

He added a spark to the Hitmen all those years ago.

"That was a great time in my hockey career so far, to come to Calgary and play junior," said Stuart. "I'm looking forward to having a similar experience.

"If you can come to a team and win ... that's what I'm looking forward to doing."

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GAME OVER

1. Henrik Zetterberg, Red Wings -- Two goals and four points to pace the Red Wings to an easy win.

2. Mathieu Schneider, Red Wings -- A tally and a helper from the blueline.

3. Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings -- Started the rout with the Wings' second goal in the first period.

UNSUNG HERO

Daniel Cleary earned a couple of assists and did some gritty work in front of an angry Flames team in the latter half.

WHY FLAMES LOST

The looked tired, physically and maybe emotionally, at the end of a road trip that took them into the Eastern time zone for three games in four nights. A three-goal first period for the Red Wings was a gift.

HIT OF THE GAME

Craig Conroy has been pretty quiet over the past few games but he tossed a big check on Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk in the second period, ramming the Russian in the numbers and to the ice.

BURNING QUESTION

The Flames added a solid top-four d-man but how will the dressing room chemistry be affected after a second trade in as many weeks?

NOTABLE

Stephane Yelle blocked a shot with his foot in the first period and didn't return. He was wearing a boot after the game .

UP NEXT

Atlanta Thrashers at Flames, Tomorrow, 'Dome, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet, FAN 960


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