After a hot start to their four-game road trip, the Flames cooled off last week, posting three consecutive losses. They earned points in two of their three games though so the team will be looking to keep up the hard work and gain more of lead in the Northwest Division standings.
The Flames had their first shootout of the season on Friday when they fell to the Florida Panthers in a 3-2 decision. Prior to the game, they were the only team in NHL who hadn’t been in a shootout yet this year. Rene Bourque scored both Flames goals in the loss.
"We had our chances in overtime and in the third and we just didn't capitalize in the shootout and that was the difference," Bourque said.
Curtis Glencross, who assisted on both of Bourque’s goals on Friday, was injured in the game and is expected to be out for the team’s two-game road trip this week. The club is calling it a lower body injury and Glencross is listed as day-to-day.
“I don't expect him to play in St. Louis or Minnesota but you never know," said Mike Keenan following the team's workout on Sunday.
Also listed as day-to-day is forward Wayne Primaeu with an injured foot. He hasn’t played since Dec. 5 against St. Louis. If both he and Glencross are out, the Flames may have call up a player from Quad Cities. On their most recent road trip, Warren Peters was called up during the Flames win over the New York Rangers.
This week, the Flames will head out on a brief road trip before taking on the Blackhawks at home on Friday.
Calgary vs. St. Louis, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m. at the Scottrade Center, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Blues have had a rough go on their road trip last week. They dropped all three games, being outscored by 15-8. A positive note for the team can on Saturday when St. Louis played a very tight game with the NHL-leading San Jose Sharks. They fell by only a goal and held their own against the Western Conference powerhouses.
They’ve been on home ice this month however, picking up points in all three games they’ve played at the Scottrade Center with two wins and one overtime loss.
Rookie Patrik Berglund has been playing well for the Blues. The Swede is third on the team in points with 19 and was just named top rookie of the season by TSN columnist Scott Cullen.
Steady centreman Brad Boyes is having quite the season. He had a career-high 43 goals last season and shows no signs of slowing down this year. He’s sitting at first on the team in scoring (15), points (28) and shots (73). He has six points in his last five games but none in the last two.
Goaltender Manny Legace was injured on Dec. 10 against Anaheim and was recently placed on the injured reserve with a mild concussion. Chris Mason has taken over since the injury. The former Nashville Predator has a 2-2-2 career record against the Flames and currently has a 2.93 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Ben Bishop was called up in relief.
The Flames picked up their first win of their last road trip against St. Louis in a 4-3 overtime decision. Michael Cammalleri scored the game winner and hasn’t scored again since.
Dion Phaneuf had a four-point outing against the Blues earlier in the month, his high for the season thus far.
Calgary vs. Minnesota, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 6:00 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center, TSN & The FAN 960
After a tremendous start to their season, the Wild have fallen a bit. They only have one win in December, coming against the Blues, and are sitting at eighth spot in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of the Edmonton Oilers.
Mikko Koivu has been a pillar of strength for the Wild this year. He leads the team in points and scoring, with 30 and 10, and had a career-high four assists in the team’s 6-2 win over Florida early in the season. He’s well on-pace for a career season in scoring and points. In 2006-07, Koivu had 20 goals and 54 points but due to injury, only had 11 goals in 57 games last season. He lit the lamp twice against the Flames last season.
Former Flame Owen Nolan is faring well in Minnesota. He has five goals and five assists this season but hasn’t played since Dec. 5 due to a leg injury. Nolan had three assists against the Wild last season as a member of the Flames.
This is the first meeting between the two this season. They’ll meet five more times after this for a six game season series. Last year, Calgary dominated the season series with a 6-2-0 record. Jarome Iginla led the team in scoring and points against the Wild, netting six goals and five helpers. Injured Marion Gaborik led the Wild with four goals and nine assists.
The last time the Flames won in Minnesota was on Feb. 24, 2008 when they defeated the Wild 2-1. Miikka Kiprusoff played in all six games last season and had a 2.36 GAA and .912 save percentage.
Calgary vs. Chicago, Friday, Dec. 19, 7:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Blackhawks are on a roll this month and have picked up points in six straight games and have won five of those games.
A huge reason for Chicago’s success is the two Patrick’s: Kane and Sharp. They’re first and second in Blackhawks points and have brought an abundance of offense to the club. Kane has 34 points on the season with 13 goals and 21 assists. Sharp has 17 goals and 10 assists. Kane had a five game point streak snapped on Dec. 12 against Colorado. Sharp was also held pointless in that game.
Captain Jonathan Toews has been having a great season as well. The 20 year-old has 23 points in 28 and has garnered points in four of his last five outings.
This will be the second game of the Blackhawks Western Canada roadtrip. They’ll also visit Edmonton and Vancouver.CA
The Flames have met with the Blackhawks once this season, falling 6-1 on Nov. 9. Dustin Boyd had the lone Flame goal.
Last season, the Flames and Blackhawks picked up two wins apiece in the season series. Phaneuf led all current Flames in points with three and Iginla and Adrian Aucoin had netted two goals each to led the team in scoring.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Craig Conroy had two goals against the Minnesota Wild last season and both of them were game winners.
When the Blackhawks beat the Flames on Nov. 9, the team took 11 penalties and allowed two powerplay goals. Cory Sarich wracked 18 penality minutes in the game, 16 of which came in the third frame.
Adrian Aucoin played his 800th game on Friday against the Panthers.