Battered Wings

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:02 AM ET

Beating the Red Wings is never easy.

But after falling to the high-powered Motor City crew in all three previous meetings, the stars were in alignment for the Calgary Flames to break the goose egg.

With Nicklas Lidstrom nursing a sprained knee back in Detroit, and Brian Rafalski unable to dress because of a groin tweak, it was really a case of the stars being out of alignment -- or the lineup -- for the Wings.

They couldn't take much advantage offensively, but came away with a 1-0 victory, the team's first shutout of the campaign, thanks to a fluky goal and some spectacular stops from goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.

"It feels good," said Kiprusoff. "I honestly didn't think about (the shutout) too much, but to win a 1-0 game like that, it feels good."

With a strong start despite coming off a lengthy road trip, the Flames were denied multiple goals only by the hand of Wings goalie Chris Osgood.

A lucky goal from Alex Tanguay in the first period gave them the lead and turned out to be all they'd need thanks to Kiprusoff, who had to be perfect as the Wings turned up the heat in the latter stages of the second period and outshot the Flames 13-2 in the final frame.

Killing off six opposition powerplays was critical, with one in the final minute of both the second and third periods.

"We talked about it before the game. Rich Preston mentioned that, I think we let a goal on the penalty kill in the previous six games," said Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr. "It was an area we wanted to improve upon, and it was huge for us tonight."

Kiprusoff was a big factor in that aspect of the game, too.

"Oh yeah, the goalie's always the most important penalty killer," said Regehr. "He played extremely well. He really kept us in there."

Luck was on the Finn's side on a couple of occasions in the third, as two hard shots clanged off the iron before being cleared by his teammates.

With names like Brett Lebda, Kyle Quincey, Derek Meech and first-timer Jonathan Ericsson playing with veterans Chris Chelios and Andreas Lilja last night, some expected an offensive explosion by the Flames.

Tanguay, though, was the only player to even record a point on a night that belonged to the goaltenders.

It wasn't pretty, but his attempted pass from behind the goal-line and banked into the cage off Brett Lebda to give the Flames a 1-0 lead 11:54 into the first frame.

It was Tanguay's 14th of the season, and third in the last two games. Tanguay noticed the young defencemen really stepping up for the Wings.

"They just have a great team," he said. "I don't know what it is in Detroit, I don't know what's in the water there, but whoever plays there plays outstanding."

"Kipper bailed us out many times.

"Even though they don't have Lidstrom or Rafalski, they're still a very dangerous team offensively."


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