Calgary Flames vs. Florida Panthers
Gametime: 6:00 p.m. MT, Pengrowth Saddledome
Sept. 17, 2006
Broadcasts: The Fan 960 radio
CALGARY – The Calgary Flames allowed the fewest goals in the National Hockey League last season. Just 200 pucks found the back of the Flames net.
So, defensively, the Flames know their mindset and, of course, they know they have Vezina Trophy winner Miikka Kiprusoff in goal.
As the Flames head into their first pre-season game (Sunday, 6 p.m. Pengrowth Saddledome vs. Florida) they are looking to add more goals at the other end of the ice.
The Flames scored 218 goals, third fewest in the Western Conference, but it was still enough to win the tough Northwest Division, which includes Colorado, Edmonton, Vancouver and Minnesota.
Punching up the production on offence is where the Flames are concentrating on improving for the upcoming season, according to captain Jarome Iginla.
"We have to improve on things. It was a really good year for us during the regular season. It was hard fought. It was probably the toughest division in hockey. We found a way to win it," said Iginla.
"We won a lot of close games. It was a grind at times. But we know we have to improve our offence. in order to get where we want to go and that's win the whole thing. To be a championship team, you have to have a better offence. It seems in the league now the offensive teams are having more success," said Iginla, who led the Flames with 35 goals 32 assists.
The Flames have added skill to the forward ranks in the likes of Jeff Friesen, who has been a 30-goal scorer in the league, and Alex Tanguay, a terrific offensive talent who has lived in the shadows of great players like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg in Colorado.
Those moves are made to help boost the offence. But don't expect the Flames to stop playing strong defensively and move to a run and gun style.
"You have to be strong defensively and find more ways to score goals and that is what we are going to try and do," said Iginla.
The team goal is clear -- win the Stanley Cup.
"We all know what we are trying to accomplish," said Iginla. "That's win the Stanley Cup. It's nice to have the familiarity with each other. We are bringing in some new guys with a lot of skills who have had success at various levels. I think we have a good feeling in the room.
"There's a lot of confidence. We want to go out and get better as a team and win as a team."
ICING: F Darren McCarty arrived at training camp on Saturday. He missed the first two days for personal reasons...Players skated together for just two days before heading into exhibition game mode. The compact schedule doesn't bother head coach Jim Playfair because he knows players report in good shape and no longer use camp to get into shape. "If you look at the players we have coming into camp nowadays, they're in such top shape. They get a couple of practice under their belts and they're ready to go."