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Flames stay unbeaten on road trip, top Hurricanes 4-3

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

RALEIGH, N.C. - Long hours on the road don't seem to be bothering the Calgary Flames too much these days.

Dion Phaneuf scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period Friday night to help the Flames hold off the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, keeping Calgary unbeaten on its six-game road trip.

Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius and Dustin Boyd also scored for the Flames, who are 4-0 on the trip so far - including Thursday night's win at Tampa Bay. And despite facing a slumping team desperate for a win, Calgary had enough energy left to hang on despite being outplayed much of the way.

"We've had a lot of travel and we've been getting in a 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the morning," said Flames coach Mike Keenan, who earned his 599th career victory. "So you don't get much sleep, much rest. But we're a well-trained team, a fit team, and that's helped us. And you could see we had enough energy - just barely enough tonight - to get through it."

The Flames opened the six-game stretch by winning at Chicago and beating Florida in a shootout before cruising by the Lightning 9-6. They close it by travelling to St. Louis and Columbus, a pair of teams ahead of them in the Western Conference standings.

The win against struggling Carolina will certainly boost their confidence even more.

"We were playing a desperate team," Phaneuf said. "It was a big win for our team to be able to just keep plugging and plugging and plugging, and get the win and persevere through a tough game of back and forth."

For Carolina, it was another head-scratching performance - though this time more because the Hurricanes couldn't find a way to win despite carrying much of the action. They were already in a foul mood after Wednesday's 6-0 home loss to Ottawa, a performance that veteran defenceman Glen Wesley called "unacceptable" and "embarrassing."

Losing a game in which they outshot the Flames 36-21 and went just 1-for-8 on the power play won't help, either. Carolina still leads the Southeast Division, but has lost seven of 10 games.

"I thought that the effort was good," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "The results were obviously not good. We looked for chances. We hunted them, worked for them and obviously came up with the short end of the stick.

"Tonight we showed up and worked, but ... maybe you have to just dig a little more."

Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 33 saves for Calgary, which never trailed thanks to a couple of opportunistic goals off Carolina turnovers for an early lead. Still, the Hurricanes hung around and tied it when Matt Cullen weaved between two defenders on the power play and buried a shot past Kiprusoff to make it 3-all about seven minutes into the third.

That's when Phaneuf came up with the winner, grabbing the puck when Matthew Lombardi won the faceoff and burying a low shot by Cam Ward for the lead at 11:48 of the third.

The Flames' penalty kill then came up with a pair of big stops in the final six minutes, preventing Carolina from getting a shot on the first power play then holding the Hurricanes to just two shots on the second.

Cullen also had two assists for Carolina, while Adrian Aucoin added two assists for Calgary.

Notes: The Hurricanes played without RW Scott Walker, who was suspended one game for head-butting Ottawa's Mike Fisher during a fight Wednesday night. ... Wesley played his 1,412th career game, moving past Harry Howell into eighth place on the NHL's all-time list of games played by a defenceman. ... After Calgary got off the first three shots, the Hurricanes outshot the Flames 16-4 through the rest of the first period. ... Iginla scored a goal for the third straight game.



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