SUN Hockey Pool

Flames Thrashed in Atlanta

Flames goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff lets a puck get by for a Thrashers goal during the third period...

Flames goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff lets a puck get by for a Thrashers goal during the third period of Sunday's game in Atlanta.(AP Photo/John Amis)

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:20 PM ET

ATLANTA - An unhappy homecoming.

Yet again.

Another trip to the city of the franchise's birth turned into a disaster for the Calgary Flames, this time with a 5-2 defeat to the lowly Thrashers Sunday afternoon.

The Flames, who called Atlanta home until 1980, have returned six times since the Thrashers joined the NHL in 1999, and have five losses and one tie.

More importantly, the Flames (39-21-4-2) have now lost two straight to fall to .500 through four games on their seven-game road swing.

Their lead on Vancouver for the Northwest Division title is down to eight points, and the Canucks have three games in hand.

Signs Calgary’s losing trend in Atlanta was about to continue came early.

Even with a better team on paper and control of play in the opening minutes, the Flames were guilty of all kinds of miscues - turnovers at the far blueline, missed passes, lost battles - and finally paid for it.

Not even five minutes into the tilt, Miikka Kiprusoff was beat on the first shot he faced, a goal he should have stopped.

Bryan Little took a sharp-angled shot that made its way through Kiprusoff's legs while the netminder was going down into the butterfly for his 27th goal of the season.

Past the midway point of the opening frame, Craig Conroy drew the visitors even, easily finishing off a strong shift.

The team was buzzing all around the Atlanta net when Curtis Glencross fed a cross-crease pass that threaded a needle to reach Conroy, and the veteran centre easily tapped home his ninth goal of the season.

But another breakdown in the Flames zone proved costly before the period ended.

While his teammates had the Flames running around and Kiprusoff was screened, defenceman Tobias Enstrom sent point shot just inside the far post.

Things went from bad to worse for Calgary thanks to another brain cramp.

Dion Phaneuf lazily went deep into his zone for an icing and was beat to the puck by Eric Boulton.

Chris Thorburn gained possession and tied to pass to the front of the net to have bank off Jordan Leopold's stick and into the Calgary cage.

Jarome Iginla continued his scoring spree to give the Flames a bit of hope, finishing off a great shift by slapping home a perfect pass from Dustin Boyd for his 30th goal of the season, but the momentum swing didn't last.

Just a couple of minutes later, Ilya Kovalchuk beat Kiprusoff with a rocket of a slapper through the legs and then Little netted his second of the game on the powerplay.

The Thrashers (25-35-5-1) remain 29th in the league standings.

The Flames are in New Jersey Tuesday to face the Devils.


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