Flames' spark dwindles

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

BUFFALO -- That sputtering powerplay finally came back to bite the Calgary Flames.

Three straight times in the second period, the Flames had the man-advantage and a chance to break open a tie game against the Buffalo Sabres.

Three times, they couldn't light the lamp, and ultimately dropped last night's clash 2-1 in a shootout.

"Our powerplay has to get better, that's the bottom line," said head coach Brent Sutter, whose team was 0-for-4 with the man-advantage.

"That's your best players and you have to produce.

"What's difficult for me is we're not even generating any quality scoring chances on it, especially with the one unit."

What should be the No.-1 unit features Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and David Moss up front, with Jay Bouwmeester and Dion Phaneuf on the blueline.

As a team, the Flames managed only four shots on the powerplay. They put three pucks on goal while shorthanded.

"The last two periods, we played hard. We had a chance to win it in a shootout," Sutter said.

"We'll take the point -- it's on the road. It's a big point. I wish we could have played better in the first period, but we responded after it."

Well, except for those times they had the powerplay.

It may be mid-November, but the battle between the Northeast Division-leading Sabres (11-4-1) and a Flames team that was riding a four-game winning streak had some playoff-like performances.

Miikka Kiprusoff was again stellar in net for the Flames.

His counterpart Ryan Miller stood tall, too.

It was tight-checking, physical and had that little edge despite the lack of a rivalry between the clubs.

"Our first two shifts were pretty good, and then they worked us in our own end," said Daymond Langkow, who opened the scoring just over a minute into play.

"We had trouble getting out. We made some adjustments and were pretty good in the second and then it was even.

"Both goalies played really well. Both teams had some scoring chances and it was pretty physical. Yeah, like a playoff game."

Derek Roy replied with a powerplay goal late in the opening period in which the Sabres officially outshot Calgary by an 18-5 count before the sellout HSBC Arena crowd of 18,690 at the HSBC Arena.

Spoiling yet another outstanding performance from Kiprusoff, Jason Pominville scored the winner in the shootout that went to the fourth player.

Calgary now has a winless streak of eight games in Buffalo (0-4-1-3) dating back to March 1996.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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