Flames Star-struck in battle

STEVE MACFARLANE, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:40 AM ET

One streak is over, another is reaching new heights.

An exciting but disappointing 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars last night at the Saddledome ended the Calgary Flames' winning streak at four games.

Jarome Iginla, meanwhile, saw his personal goal-scoring slump reach nine -- a skid the length of which the sniper has seen just once since 2001.

But it wasn't for a lack of effort.

The Flames captain looked determined to end the drought and played a strong game, only to be denied, along with the rest of his teammates, by a few bad bounces and the efforts of Stars goaltender Marty Turco.

"I thought tonight was the most chances I've had in a long time," said Iginla, who was rejected six times by the Stars netminder, missed on another half dozen and saw a few pucks skip over his stick before he could fire. "Marty Turco played really well. That's the way it goes sometimes.

"There were some bouncy pucks, there were some posts. There were a lot in the feet in front of the net where we were right there battling."

The low-scoring battle had the feel of a playoff game.

Some heavy bodychecks, a little bad blood and some great goaltending contributed to the atmosphere.

Steve Ott didn't endear himself to anyone wearing the Flaming C. The pest annoyed Iginla on a number of occasions, slamming him into a post in the second period, then flopping on top of the Flame in the third after flooring him with a hit beside the Stars net.

Kiprusoff wasn't immune, either. Ott plowed into the netminder in the first period and rode him awkwardly into the boards at the end of a partial breakaway. In the third, the frequent visits to his crease frustrated Kiprusoff enough to toss the puck against the boards behind him and bicker with the referee.

"He was effective out there, but I'd still rather have him out there on the ice than some of their other players," said defenceman Cory Sarich of Ott's feistiness.

Adding to the frustration was the fact the Flames powerplay was unable to come through when needed most.

The hosts had seven opportunities but came away empty-handed.

"I didn't think we were desperate enough, if that's how you describe a playoff game," said Keenan. "My own expectation of our team is we'd play with more desperation if it was a playoff game.

"You find a way to get a powerplay goal, particularly if you get seven opportunities to their one."

Turco was the Stars' best penalty killer on the league's top shorthanded unit, finishing with 31 saves on the night.

"Any time you get seven powerplays in a one-goal game and you don't get any, we definitely look at ourselves and know that we should have been a difference," said Iginla. "There were some that I could have sworn it was going in."

Daymond Langkow thought so, too. He even had his arms raised after he thought he scored his second of the night, only to realize Turco stopped him with a windmill move with his arm at the last second.

"We had some good chances but it seemed like we were coming up a couple of inches too short," said Langkow. "There's no excuse. You get that many opportunities, you've got to put some of them in the net."

Brenden Morrow deflected a shot by Mike Ribeiro past Kiprusoff to tie the game in the second period, and Niklas Hagman took advantage of poor positioning by the Flames goaltender to score the winner over Kiprusoff's shoulder from a bad angle.


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