The Calgary Flames head into Joe Louis Arena this evening making the final stop on a three game road trip. The Flames hope to end the trip on a positive note and walk away with four points out of a possible six, as they were shutout by the St. Louis Blues Sunday, after dominating the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
The Flames look to make up for their fatigued performance in St. Louis, as they were shut out by Manny Legace and the Blues. Jamal Mayers scored two goals, and Brad Boyes netted one during the contest.
It was Miikka Kiprusoff’s first night off after starting 23 straight games, as Curtis McElhinney took over the position between the pipes. It was a rough first start for McElhinney as he let in two goals on 17 shots.
Kiprusoff will return in goal this evening, as him and his team look to improve on their record against the Detroit Red Wings. The Calgary net minder currently sits 5-7-1 with a 2.85 GAA, after 15 appearances against the Wings.
Jarome Iginla’s dominating performance has seemed to be missed as well against the Red Wings, as he only has four assists after eleven matchups between the two teams. He will also look to make his presence felt in the battle tonight, as he was unable to get any points Sunday, making it only five games so far this season where he has been absent from the score sheet.
For the Flames to emerge victorious in tonight’s matchup, they will have to find a way to keep forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk from creating any offence for the Wings. Together, both players have seven goals between them in their last four games against the Flames.
Another area the Flames will have to improve in is the penalty kill. Taking too many penalties is something that has haunted the Flames for years, and they still have not found a solution to the problem. With a Detroit team that sits sixth in the league on power play percentage with 22%, and a struggling Flames penalty kill that’s near the bottom of the league (27th overall) with 77.3%, this is one thing the Wings will look to dominate on. The Wings have scored five games in a row on the power play.
The Red Wings look to turn things around after hitting a little bit of a slump lately, going 2-4-1, after tying a franchise nine game winning streak. Their latest loss came in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets that went to a shootout to decipher the winner, and it was Rick Nash netting the decider for the Jackets.
The Red Wings sit atop the Central Division (15-6-2), while leading the Western Conference with 32 points.
Chris Osgood seems to be the man to beat in Detroit, as he obviously has shined this year, beating out Dominek Hasek for the number one position in net. He currently sits with a 3-0 record and a 1.30 GAA in his last three starts against the Flames.
Detroit will have to watch out for Mike Keenan’s late experimentation with Dion Phaneuf and the return of veteran Owen Nolan.
Lately, Dion Phaneuf has been practicing up front with players like Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy, and played a forward position Sunday against the Blues on the power play—but no goals have been seen from recent changes. There is no word on whether or the Flames will bring Phaneuf up again tonight or keep him on the blue line.
Owen Nolan is also said to be returning to the Flames lineup tonight, as he missed Sunday's game due to a hip injury. After a slow start to the season, the veteran forward has been accumulating points for the Flames. He looks to become a big factor for the Flames squad this evening against Detroit.
Calgary will be looking forward to some much needed rest after tonight’s contest, as it ends a stretch of some very physical games. They have played seven games in eleven nights, with five of them landing on the road.
They will enter December on a four game homestand that will start with the Anaheim Ducks. During the homestand, Flames fans will finally get a glimpse of Sidney Crosby, as he and the Pittsburgh Penguins are welcomed to the Pengrowth Saddledome for the fist time in Crosby’s career.
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