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Flames This Week 03.11.08

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames ended the month of October exactly the way they wanted—in the midst of a six game win streak. That win streak came to an end on Sunday night in a 3–2 loss against the Anaheim Ducks. Despite the streak ending, the Flames are optimistic heading into the new month. The improvements they've made since the beginning of the season are plenty of reason to be positive.


“We were definitely disappointed in how the season started,”said Wayne Primeau after the Flames win over the Los Angeles Kings.

“We had a great preseason, and then we didn't get off on the right foot. But we've really paid attention to the details in practice with our forechecking and down-low coverage. I think the guys are starting to buy into it. And when you've get everybody on the same page, it's a lot easier out there.”

Another reason for their success has been the excellent play by goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff. Before the Flames began their win streak on October 21, Kiprusoff had allowed 22 goals in five games. Since that time, he has only allowed 12 in seven games.

“You need good goaltending. That's an integral part of winning, and he's done a great job,”said Primeau.

This week sees the Flames splitting four games on the road and at home in the Saddledome.

Calgary vs. Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 8:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
In their last meeting on October 25, Calgary dominated the game and won 4-1. Brandon Prust scored the game winner, and his first NHL tally while Jarome Iginla had his second straight three-point night with a goal and assist. Todd Bertuzzi and Dion Phaneuf had powerplay markers.

Since that time, the Coyotes have only played in two games. They picked up a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, but fell to the Minnesota Wild with a 3-2 decision.

Shane Doan and Olli Jokinen continued their dominance in those two contests. Both players lead the Coyotes with ten points apiece, and in their last two games alone they contributed eight points.
Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov has been solid for the Coyotes, with a save percentage of .902 and a 3.01 GAA.

Calgary vs. Nashville, Thursday, Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Flames completed their biggest comeback of the season against the Predators on October 23. Falling behind 3-0 early in the second period, Iginla led the team to a 5-3 victory and recorded a hat trick in the process. The captain has had great success playing the Predators. In 33 games, he's picked up 21 goals and 19 assists.

Nashville has been on a roll since their last game against Calgary. They picked up points in their last four games and won three of those. Their offense has been the story in those games. They've scored 14 goals in four games.

J.P. Dumont is leading the Predators in points with 14, and is showing what a playmaker he can be. Of his 14 points, 12 of those are assists. Right-winger Martin Erat leads the team in scoring with six goals.

While goaltender Dan Ellis has had a decent start to his season with four wins and four losses, Nashville is breathing a sigh of a relief that backup Pekka Rinne has been great. He's won both of his games and has a 2.59 GAA and a .903 save percentage.

Calgary vs. Columbus, Saturday, Nov. 8, 5:00 p.m. at the Nationwide Arena, The FAN 960
Last season, Calgary and Columbus each had a pair of wins in their four game series with captain Rick Nash leading all players with four points. Even though the Blue Jackets only have four wins this season, the Flames will need to watch the talented left-winger. He has five goals this season and is pressing hard for more to help lead the Blue Jackets towards their first post-season appearance in franchise history. He leads the club in shots with 47.

Former Flame Kristian Huselius has had early season success as well. He has four goals and four assists to his name and is tied in Blue Jackets scoring with Derick Brassard and Jason Chimera.

Columbus has had great success over the Flames since their inaugural season in 2000-01. They've never lost a season series and have a 15-12-1 record.

This will be former Blue Jacket Curtis Glencross’ first game against his old club in a Flames uniform. While playing in Columbus, he scored three goals in two games against Calgary.

Calgary vs. Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 9, 5:00 p.m. at the United Center, Flames PPV & The FAN 960
The Flames will make their first of two trips to Chicago this season on Sunday. Last season, the teams split their four game series. Patrick Sharp scored the game winners in both of the Blackhawks' wins last season and is leading his team in points this season with 13. Of his seven goals, two of them have been game winners this campaign.
Youngster Patrick Kane is having a great year with six goals and seven assists in his 11 games.

Goaltending has been a back and forth affair for the Blackhawks. Duties have been split between Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet. Khabibulin has played six games so far and has a 3-1-2 record. His GAA sits at 2.45 and his save percentage is .918. Huet has five games under his belt with a 2-2-1 record. His GAA is 2.73 and his save percentage is .910. This tandem gives head coach Joel Quenneville a solid goaltender in net every night.

Former Blackhawk Rene Bourque will make his first trip back to Chicago since signing with Calgary in the offseason. Last year, Bourque had no goals against Calgary and ten overall. This year, he's scored twice and has five assists.

This Week’s Key Numbers
Kiprusoff is the only goaltender in the NHL who has played every minute for their team this season. Martin Brodeur would have matched Kiprusoff, but was injured in the New Jersey’s 6-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Brodeur left the game early in the second period, making Kiprusoff first in total goaltending minutes.

Adrian Aucoin scored his 100th career goal against the Kings on Saturday.

Todd Bertuzzi picked up his first two assists of the season against the Kings on Saturday. The forward now has seven goals and two helpers.
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