SUN Hockey Pool

Making a killing

STEVE MACFARLANE

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Having scored what he hoped would be the winning goal a few minutes earlier, Dion Phaneuf had the worst seat in the house as his teammates tried to make sure they made it stand.

Perched in the penalty box after taking a high sticking infraction with less than four minutes to play, the Calgary Flames defenceman watched a gritty rotation kill off the infraction and clinch the4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center last night.

"The penalty kill was huge for most of the night, and that was a big kill at the end of the game," said Phaneuf, who snapped home the deciding goal in the third period after Matthew Lombardi won a faceoff to the right of goaltender Cam Ward.

"Definitely tough to watch when you're sitting in the box, I'll tell you that."

Phaneuf could breathe a sigh of relief, and his teammates can do the same after claiming their fourth straight game on the road -- their first extended winning streak of the season -- thanks to strong penalty killing and additional goals from Kristian Huselius, Dustin Boyd and Jarome Iginla.

It wasn't easy.

The team was obviously tired after playing the night before in Tampa, where they won 9-6 in an old fashioned shootout.

"We were a little bit tired.I could see that we were making some mental mistakes because of fatigue but we hung on," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan.

"We've had a lot of travel and we've been getting in at (wee hours of) the morning, so you don't get much sleep, much rest.

"But we're a well-trained team and a fit team, and that's helped us.

"You could see that we had enough energy -- just barely enough tonight but we had enough to get through it.

"I'm really pleased with that aspect of our team."

The clubs were tied heading into the third period, with the Flames twice giving up one-goal leads.

It happened again in the final frame when Matt Cullen finally got a man-advantage marker past Miikka Kiprusoff, who was shelled with 36 shots following Thursday's wildwin over the Lightning.

"It was a real tough start for us. We knew that they'd be coming out and really flying. They had a great first period," said defenceman Robyn Regehr, who led all penalty killers with 7:48 of shorthanded ice time.

"A lot of it was Miikka. He's the one that gave us a chance to stay in the game."

Chad LaRose and Craig Adams both beat Kiprusoff, but the netminder made33 stops on the night and faced 16 shots in the first period as the Flames struggled following Huselius' breakaway goal that came less than five minutes in.

Dustin Boyd's second of the season was much prettier than his first -- which he banked off the back of Blues goaltender Hannu Toivonen earlier this month.

Alone in front of the net with only Ward to beat, Boyd faked a forehand shot, quickly shifted to his backhand and lifted the puck over the netminder for a 2-1 lead.

It was shortlived as Adams scored little more than a minute later, but again the Flames pulled out the victory in the third period.

"As a team, we're believing that we're going to go in the third and find a way to win games," said Iginla, who snapped a powerplay tally past Ward to make it 3-2 for his fifth goal in the past three games.

"Things are starting to pay off."


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