SUN Hockey Pool

Silent Sid still winner

Pens' Sidney Crosby reacts after getting hit from behind in the second. (Sun Media/DARREN...

Pens' Sidney Crosby reacts after getting hit from behind in the second. (Sun Media/DARREN MAKOWICHUK)

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:18 AM ET

Sidney Crosby had the marquee but wasn't the star of the show.

Instead of providing a night of highlight-reel plays to electrify a Saddledome filled to see the Pittsburgh Penguins standout in his first NHL visit, Crosby didn't register a point for only the third game this season.

Yet it still wasn't enough for the Calgary Flames to string consecutive wins together.

Sid the Kid was blanked in all areas, but Kristopher Letang became the hero by netting the shootout winner in a 3-2 Pittsburgh victory last night at the Saddledome.

"You're just trying to contain him, keep him off the scoresheet, and we were able to do that," said Flames centre Craig Conroy. "We did a good job against him, but we didn't do the ultimate job and that was to win the game."

Sounds about right for a Flames squad that can't find any traction to put together a winning streak. And shutting down Crosby, yet still losing was a tough pill to take.

"We don't take any solace in that," head coach Mike Keenan said of Crosby's lack of personal success. "I wish he'd have scored three or four or five points and we would have won 6-5. It doesn't matter to us."

No, it's all about wins and the Flames (11-13-5) wasted an opportunity.

Ahead by a 2-1 count in the third period thanks to a pair of goals from Jarome Iginla and on the powerplay, the hosts were looking for insurance before the sellout of 19,289.

However, Anders Eriksson couldn't contain a bouncing puck at the blueline, allowing Ryan Malone a breakaway. Malone scored the sixth shorthanded goal allowed by Calgary this season, drawing the Penguins (14-12-2) even.

It was eerily similar to the winning goal surrendered to Chicago a month ago.

"I'd like to blame the guy that's making the ice, but I don't think I can," Keenan said.

"I can't explain what happened there. I watched the video and it bounced a couple of times.

"If there's something with the ice, a bevel there, I guess we'll have to check it."

Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, who claimed victories in both Alberta cities on back-to-back nights.

Lost in the defeat were strong performances from Iginla and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Although Kiprusoff took the shootout loss, he put in a second straight solid game, blocking 33 saves through overtime.

He stopped Crosby and Malkin in the shootout, but surrendered goals to Letang and Petr Sykora.

"It's tough to lose in a shootout," Kiprusoff said. "If you don't win, you can't be totally happy."

Meanwhile, Iginla continued his impressive season in which he's on pace for 45 goals and a career-best 107 points.

Heading into the clash, the talk was all about Crosby, but on the night, Iginla was the more-impressive captain.

"He always seems to rise to the occasion, whether it's the regular season in something like this or the playoffs," Conroy said.

"Whenever we need something big, he always seems to be the spark. I think people take it for granted a bit that Jarome is a superstar.

"I don't want to say he's better than Crosby, but I'm not saying he's worse than Crosby either."

The only thing Iginla failed at was scoring in the shootout, although he was in the same boat as Alex Tanguy and Matthew Lombardi.

Only Kristian Huselius could beat Dany Sabourin, who replaced starter Marc-Andre Fleury less than five minutes into the game due to an ankle injury suffered by the starter.

The night was a double-disaster for the Flames, too, with defenceman Robyn Regehr leaving in the second period due to a fractured foot suffered when he blocked a shot.

The Flames next head out on a six-game road swing beginning Sunday in Chicago.


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