Kids alright, Flames aren't

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

CHICAGO -- There was a serious chill after the game at the United Center.

It had as much to do with the icy feeling of the players as the apparently malfunctioning thermostat in the visitors' locker-room.

The Calgary Flames had just dropped their second straight road game on consecutive nights in embarrassing fashion, and the 6-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks took its toll.

Frustrated slamming of equipment into the bags echoed on the recording devices shoved in their faces.

"I think everyone's frustrated," said defenceman Cory Sarich. "But we're the ones who are causing the problem, so we're the ones who are going to have to figure it out."

It's easy to see why the mood is so sour.

Swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Blackhawks and looking tired in both games, you'd think the team was battling a flu bug.

It turns out some of them are, but they know they can't use it as an excuse.

"We still have to find ways to be better than we were this weekend," said captain Jarome Iginla, who called his own game "terrible."

Stung by a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jackets the night before, the Flames had golden opportunities for a little redemption in the early going last night.

But their powerplay fizzled, and by the time they discovered energy, the home side was already up a goal and looking for more.

As it turned out, the young Blackhawks were pretty hard to stop.

"We were looking forward to an inspired effort and to recover from some of the stuff we thought we could have improved on from (Saturday)," said Flames forward Michael Cammalleri. "It's a little disappointing, for sure."

Martin Havlat started the rout with a powerplay goal at 10:36 of the first period, set up perfectly at the back door by rookie Kris Versteeg. The kid from Lethbridge, who has added to the impressive stable of fresh faces in Chicago, then scored one of his own.

With big Adam Burish providing a screen in front of Miikka Kiprusoff, defenceman Aaron Johnson slapped a hard shot that nicked something in front and got past the Flames netminder for a 2-0 lead.

It could have been worse, as both Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien hit posts with shots.

Kane made good later to give the 'Hawks a three-goal lead, capping off a mesmerizing offensive spurt by swatting Havlat's setup over Kiprusoff.

Responding with a fluky goal by Dustin Boyd late in the second, the Flames ignited a little hope. But it was snuffed out seconds into the third period, when Jonathan Toews scored his first of the season.

Versteeg made it 5-1, and Troy Brouwer capped off the night with the Blackhawks' second powerplay goal.

But as good as the Blackhawks are, the Flames feel they're better than they showed. Much better.

"I feel like you've got to respect their skill level, but at the same time, there's no reason for us to get beat the way we did," said Cammalleri. "All due respect to them, we've got to be better than that."

Kiprusoff was heads and tails above his teammates, making 21 saves with a dozen of them pretty spectacular.


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