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Continuing the momentum

by Sue Palanki / Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames are entering an important stretch of their season as they look to maintain their first place standing in the Northwest Division and to show they are a playoff contender to be reckoned with in the tough and competitive Western Conference.

While the Flames have a strong home record (18-5-2) they will need to improve on their 11-9-1
road record especially when 20 of the next 35 games will be away from the confines of the Pengrowth Saddledome.

They play one more home game against the Nashville Predators on Friday before heading out on a quick two day road trip through Colorado and Dallas. They then have a three-game homestand followed by another three-game road trip.

Calgary has been a powerhouse in scoring averaging 3.08 goals per game since the beginning of the season. They have been particularly potent with the man-advantage adding 13 power-play goals in their last 45 chances. Their penalty-kill  continues to be strong killing 19 of 26 in the last five games ranking fourth overall in the NHL.

All eyes have been on Mike Cammalleri who’s on a hot streak scoring eleven goals in his last seven games including a hat-trick in Wednesday's 5-2 win over Buffalo.

He has 25 on the season which puts him first in Calgary with goals, and sixth in the league behind San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau. He is 10 shy of topping his overall career-high of 34 when he played as a Los Angeles King.

While Jarome Iginla only has 19 goals compared to his 50 goals last season, his 36 assists is what’s keeping the momentum for a 90-100 point season. He ranks third in Flames all-time points, and is just five points behind Al MacInnis with 817.

"He (Cammalleri) seeks out offensive positioning well. I had another player that was particularly good at that; Brett Hull," said head coach Mike Keenan of Cammalleri.

"Goal scorers can find those seams and you are looking at Jarome wondering about the scoring, but he’s found a way —and he has right from the beginning of the season— to find Michael in that position quite often and it's paying off."

Dion Phaneuf who was a bit of a sleeper at the beginning of the season, seems to be getting back to his normal self. He tallied a goal on Wednesday and recorded five points in his last six games.

Miikka Kiprusoff remains in first with 29 wins over all NHL goaltenders. He made 25 saves against the Sabres.

ICING: Jim Vandermeer was skating during Thursday’s practice, but has been a healthy scratch in the last two games. Brandon Prust continues to skate wearing a face protector, but will continue to be out of the lineup for a little longer. He and Wayne Primeau were expected to return this month, but it looks like they may appear some time in February. ...Friday's game should be a cakewalk for Calgary. The Flames have won three straight over the Preds this season and will be the final meeting between the two teams. The last time they met up was on January 3 with Todd Bertuzzi scoring the game winning goal. He has accumulated five points against Nashville... The puck will drop at 7pm MT and will air on Sportsnet-West and The Fan 960.
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