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Flames get by Hurricanes in OT

The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- Because it was fan-appreciation night, the Calgary Flames presented game-used sticks Thursday to lucky winners.

A couple of guys understandably wanted to keep theirs.

Right winger Brian McGrattan scored his first goal of the season, and defenseman Chris Butler notched his second with 3.6 seconds left in overtime as the Flames registered a 2-1 overtime victory Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

"Not a chance I'm giving that one away. I only get so many so I've got to keep that one and try and get another one next game," Butler said.

Thursday's game seemed to be destined for a shootout, but Butler scored on a wrist shot from the point for the winner. Center Paul Byron, a recent call-up from the minors, earned his second assist of the night on the play.

Thanks to the offensive contributions of their unlikely heroes, the Flames improved to 12-15-4.

Center Jeff Skinner scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes (13-13-7). That was the only blemish of the night for Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, who made 29 saves, including 15 in the final period as Carolina controlled the play late.

"We had chances, we just didn't capitalize and it came back to bite us," said Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller. "I thought it was going to be a low-scoring game, tight. I was happy the way we stuck with it tonight."

Calgary's enforcer, McGrattan, broke a scoreless stalemate with just over two minutes remaining in the second period. He fired a shot from the slot through goalie Justin Peters' legs for his first goal since April.

"I missed a couple of pretty good chances over the last week. It's nice to get the monkey off the back," said McGrattan, who also was credited with two hits and was named the first star. "Fortunately at home, too."

Skinner tied the score at the 11:10 mark of the third period, zipping a shot past Ramo to spoil his bid for his first NHL shutout.

Skinner also hit the goal post in the second period and missed a golden opportunity to score the goal-ahead goal on a penalty shot with just over five minutes remaining in the third, with Ramo slamming his pads to maintain the tie.

"Hindsight is 20-20 but I could have done, maybe, something different there," Skinner said. "I tried to go five-hole and he made the save. It's easy looking back on what you should have done, but it would have been nice to put that one in."

Peters finished with 28 saves, but was out-duelled by Ramo at the opposite end.

"(Ramo) was very, very good. He deserves the win," said Flames coach Bob Hartley.

The Flames are headed out on a five-game road-swing that starts Saturday in Buffalo against the Sabres. The Hurricanes wrap up their four-game trip with Saturday's visit to the Phoenix Coyotes.

NOTES: The Flames made headlines before Thursday's game, announcing that GM Jay Feaster and John Weisbrod, their assistant general manager of player personnel, were relieved of their duties. Brian Burke, Calgary's president of hockey operations, will serve as acting GM but insisted he is not interested in the job full time. "We needed to make a change to get to the next level, and that's why today we took the steps we took, and the search has begun," Burke said. ... After missing 12 games with a concussion, Hurricanes RW Alexander Semin was activated from injured reserve to face the Flames. ... LW Curtis Glencross and RW TJ Galiardi both returned to Calgary's lineup. Glencross missed 16 games with a knee injury, and Galiardi was out for seven games with back spasms. ... The Flames assigned LW Sven Baertschi, their first-round pick in 2011, to AHL Abbotsford.

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