Third straight stinker

Miikka Kiprusoff allows the Blackhawks' fourth goal against the Flames during third period action...

Miikka Kiprusoff allows the Blackhawks' fourth goal against the Flames during third period action last night. (Sun Media/Lyle Aspinall)

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

Smashing his stick into three pieces during the morning skate, Mike Keenan hoped his Calgary Flames would snap to attention.

But the wakeup call didn't stick.

The Flames got another one just 42 seconds into their game against the Chicago Blackhawks last night.

Although they battled back twice from deficits, the Flames fell short for a fourth time this season as the Hawks swept the series with a 5-2 win.

Shaking off a hit from Flames defensive giant Robyn Regehr, the shifty Martin Havlat slipped up the boards and hit Dave Bolland for the early 1-0 lead.

The puck banked in off Bolland's body, and the booth review took longer than it did for the talented Blackhawks to open the scoring.

Regehr was the first to take responsibility for the way things are going after the team dropped its third straight in regulation for the first time this season.

Watching the same thing nearly happen in Edmonton a couple of nights earlier, he was pretty upset about the way last night's contest started.

"He's a slippery guy," Regehr said of Havlat getting away from him in the opening minute.

"I tried to stand up on him and I didn't do a good enough job on the one-on-one. I can't allow him to get through there.

"It was a bit of a bad break how the goal went in, but if I'd done the job on the one-on-one, that wouldn't have happened."

If the Flames were caught off guard, the Blackhawks were equally surprised as Todd Bertuzzi got out of the penalty box and took a great breakaway pass from Jarome Iginla to even the score less than six minutes later.

Bertuzzi deked Flames nemesis Nikolai Khabibulin and slid a backhander past the netminder.

Unfortunately for the home crowd, they hardly had time to celebrate.

Putting his ninth goal of the season past Miikka Kiprusoff as Bertuzzi's marker was being announced, former Calgary Hitmen star Andrew Ladd silenced the Saddledome.

All alone in the slot, Ladd took a feed from Bolland and rifled the one-timer high.

Dion Phaneuf brought the building back to life late in the opening frame with his sixth of the season, but the Hawks pulled away from there with three more goals from roleplayers -- Adam Burish, Colin Fraser and Troy Brouwer.

It would be one thing to say they were beaten by the best the Hawks had to offer, but stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were kept off the scoresheet.

"It wasn't a very good game at all. I'll be the first one to take the blame," said Regehr.

"I'm just not playing as well as I can of late, and struggling. I think if you go around the room and ask a whole bunch of guys here, they could probably say the same thing."

His defensive partner, Adrian Aucoin, said much the same thing.

Unhappy with the effort, the Flames were disappointed they couldn't come up with more against a top team they haven't beaten all season.

"This is pretty embarrassing to us, being a top team or how we want to portray ourselves," said Aucoin.

"We don't play well against them at all, from top to bottom.

"We didn't play smart. We were spread out and didn't play well at all. I would be surprised if every guy in this room didn't know how bad we were tonight."


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