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Tulupov's first lifts Barons to win over Heat

The Canadian Press

2/12/2012 1:23:06 AM

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. -- He may have finally let one get by him, but Yann Danis once again showed Saturday night why he is the top goalie in the American Hockey League.

Danis set a new franchise mark for consecutive shutout play in the Oklahoma City Barons' 2-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat. He lowered his league-best goals against average to 1.94 and remains tied for first in wins with 21.

"He was a bit off tonight, he let one in," said Oklahoma City head coach Todd Nelson sarcastically, with a laugh.

Though Danis had his shutout streak end at 173 minutes and 16 seconds he made a huge stop off of Abbotsford newcomer Adam Estoclet at the side of the net in the final seconds.

"He's been there for us all year," said Nelson. "He played a very strong game. He made a very big save in the dying seconds there. He gives us a chance to win every night."

Kirill Tulupov scored the winner and added an assist. It was the first AHL goal for the Russian rookie defenceman.

Tulupov scored on a rising one-timer slapshot from the point through a screen at 11:06 of the third that eluded Abbotsford goaltender Henrik Karlsson.

"I didn't see it, that was the point," said Karlsson. "Sometimes you wonder how the puck goes through so many guys. I battled to see the puck. It's a credit to them -- they crashed the net and it was a good shot."

Karlsson, on loan from the Calgary Flames, was making his second AHL start on a conditioning stint and made 19 stops.

Linus Omark also scored for Oklahoma City (32-12-5), giving him three points in his first two games back from a 31-game injury absence. With his first-period assist, Josh Green extended his point streak to 10 games.

Ben Walter scored for Abbotsford (26-20-3). Oklahoma City swept the two-game set versus the Heat, winning 4-0 Thursday in a game played at the Saddledome in Calgary.

"I think it was a better game by both teams," said Nelson. "Abbotsford played a good game once again. We capitalized on a couple opportunities."

Abbotsford, ravaged by both injuries and NHL call-ups, has dropped three straight and is just 2-9-0 in its last 11.

The Barons opened the scoring at 14:49 on a broken play. Omark fed the puck down low to Josh Green at the side of the net, who one-touched it across to a teammate, and though the puck was chipped away from him, Omark raced in and beat a vulnerable Karlsson for his third of the year.

The Heat finally solved the enigma that was Danis, tying the game at 4:23 of the third period. Walter rushed across the blue-line against two Barons defenders -- Green and Colton Teubert -- and chipped the puck past the glove of the Barons' netminder for his eighth of the season. It was just the second tally in 25 games for the team's alternate captain.

"It's something you try not to think about, but you obviously do," said Walter. "I was more excited about the timing of the goal. It gave us a chance to win it and we just came up a little short."

Tulupov's goal ended the comeback attempt a little less than seven minutes later. Abbotsford pressed hard with their goalie pulled but couldn't solve Danis.

"He's one of the top goalies in this league," said Walter. "I played with him in the Islanders organization and you could tell that he was going to be really good then."

The Barons won the season series with the Heat 6-2-0, but all but two of those were decided by two goals or less. The Barons increased their lead atop the Western Conference and though the Heat currently sit sixth, Nelson figures that a post-season matchup may be inevitable.

"I have a funny feeling we'll meet up in the playoffs," he said.