The Calgary Flames got off to a great start on their four game road trip last week – two wins including a shutout for Miikka Kiprusoff – and look to finish it off with a perfect 4-0 record before heading home to the Saddledome this week.
Kiprusoff made his league-leading 26th start of the season against the Rangers. He’s tied for first in goaltender starts this year with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. After Sunday’s 3-0 win, he’s also tied with Lundqvist for goaltender wins on the year with 16.
"I like to play. I'm kind of used to it now and I know what I have to do to get ready night after night,” he said after completing his 29th career shutout on Sunday.
Jarome Iginla scored his second in as many games on Sunday. He leads the Flames in scoring and points with 14 and 32 respectively.
"The last couple have been right in front," Iginla said. "I'm just trying to go to the net, try to get shots and try to make sure I'm moving my feet and competing hard so good things will happen."
Warren Peters played his first NHL game on Sunday. The centreman played nine shifts and had 5:08 ice time. He was called up from the Quad City Flames due to an injury sustained by Wayne Primeau.
After winning their first two of four on the road, the Flames now are first in the Northwest Division and are third overall in the Western Conference. The Vancouver Canucks trail only by a slim margain though so the Flames will be desperate to pick up some valuable points in their next two road games.
Calgary vs. Montreal, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m. at the Bell Centre, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Canadiens went into December with something to prove. With only six wins in 14 games during the month of November, there were whispers that Guy Carbonneau’s club, that had only one regulation loss in October, had lost their touch. The drive to put those thoughts to rest has led the Canadiens to pick up points in their first three games this month. They’re 2-0-1 record last week has kept them at fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
Leading the way is captain Saku Koivu. He’s sitting at the top of the Canadien’s points list with 22. The centreman has points in three of his last five games but hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 20. In his 15 career games against the Flames, Koivu has five goals and 17 helpers.
Former Flame Alex Tanguay will play his first game against his old team since be traded to Montreal at the 2008 Entry Draft. Tanguay has had an impressive year thus far, racking up nine goals and nine helpers. Like the team, Tanguay seemed to lose a bit of his scoring touch in November but ended his seven-game goalless drought last Thursday during Montreal’s 6-2 thumping over the New York Rangers.
The last time the Flames played in Montreal was Oct. 17, 2006 when the Flames fell 5-4. Matthew Lombardi potted two goals in the loss and Dion Phaneuf had a goal and two assists.
The Flames all-time road record against Montreal is 12-27-8-0.
Calgary vs. Detroit, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 5:30 p.m. at the Joe Louis Arena, TSN & The FAN 960
The Red Wings are on a roll. They’re riding a three-game winning streak and are sitting at second in the Western Conference standings with 40 points, six points back of the league-leading San Jose Sharks.
The addition of Marian Hossa has been nothing but good news for the Wings. The right-winger leads the team in goals with 15 and sits at fifth overall in the NHL in goals scored. He leads the team in points as well, with 29.
Henrik Zetterberg has been his steady, dependable self this season. With 12 goals and 13 helpers, he’s been a consistent source of offensive production. Zetterberg has points in four of his last five games. In 19 career games against Calgary, he has nine goals and eight assists.
The Flames have only met with Detroit once this season. Their first of their four-game season series resulted in a 5-2 Red Wings victory. Curtis Glencross had a goal and an assist in the loss. Mark Giordano had the other Flames goal.
Calgary vs. Florida, Friday, Dec. 12, 7:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
While the Panthers haven’t yet made into a playoff position, they’re clawing their way up the standings. They’re currently sitting at 10th spot on the Eastern Conference standings, just four points out of a playoff position. They’re hoping to pick up a few valuable points in their four-game Canadian road trip. They’ll visit Ottawa and Edmonton before making stops in Calgary and Vancouver.
A surprising source of offense this season has been from defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. He leads the team in points with 15 and is second in defense scoring with three goals on the year.
Left-winger David Booth leads the Panthers in scoring with 12 goals. He’s the only Panther to have double-digit scoring. He has points in four of his last five games, including a two-point outing against the New Jersey Devils. The youngster is looking to improve upon his career-high 22 goals last season.
Goaltending has been a rocky road for Florida. Starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun has had a disappointing season. His 5-10-1 record and 3.04 GAA has led the team to depend heavily on backup Craig Anderson. He has earned his club points in four of their last five games, has a 6-2-3 record and leads the entire NHL in save percentages with a .943. He has two shutouts on the year.
Calgary met with the Panthers once last season and won 2-1 in a shootout. Jarome Iginla scored the lone Flames regulation time goal and Kristian Huselius netted the shooutout winner. The last time the Flames won against the Panthers at home was Jan. 4, 2007.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Rene Bourque scored a short-handed goal on Sunday, giving the Flames their second of the season. Craig Conroy, who assisted on Bourque’s goal, scored the first shorthanded tally on Nov. 6 in the Flames 7-6 win over the Nashville Predators.
David Moss has scored in four straight games. With eight goals in 27 games, he’s doubled his scoring from last year. In 41 games during the 2007-08 season, Moss had four goals.
Dustin Boyd has now missed five games with an upper body injury. The Winnipeg native has six goals and three assists to his name this year.
AThe Flames have killed 26 of their last 28 short-handed situations. The two goals they allowed came on Friday against St. Louis.