The Calgary Flames aren’t having a November to remember. While they split their two games last week, the 6-1 thumping handed to them by the league-leading San Jose Sharks has had the whole team revaluating their play as of late.
"They had a ton of power-play opportunities and capitalized on them. They play great at home. We talked about it, but then we came out and we did not compete in the first period, at all,” said captain Jarome Iginla
after the game. We just stood around on our skates. They were good and we were bad."
The Flames win came at the expense of the Toronto Maple Leafs, making their first visit to the Saddledome in close to three years. Dustin Boyd scored twice in the 4-3 victory that saw the Leafs try for a comeback with less than a minute left.
A faceoff in the defensive zone went awry when Craig Conroy won the draw but sent the puck flying back at the net. The bouncing puck ended up in the cage, putting the Leafs within one, but the Flames were able to withstand the pressure for the remaining 54 seconds to gain the two points.
Despite the doom and gloom that has surrounded the team over the past couple of weeks, the team hasn’t gone into panic mode.
"Are we panicking?" said Iginla.
"No, we're not panicking, but we definitely know we have important games coming."
This week, Calgary plays a home-and-home series with divisional rivals, the Colorado Avalanche. This presents the club with a chance to garner some valuable points in the Northwest Division and the Flames are looking forward to the opportunity.
"As a group you've got to stick together, first of all. You've got to come together as a team. When things are going good, it's easy to be happy and have fun. It's great - rah-rah-rah,” said Conroy.
“But when things are down, that's when you see the true side of guys. I think this team is coming together. We're very disappointed, but we have a huge opportunity with back-to-back Colorado and back-to-back Vancouver (later in the month). Those are huge games and opportunities for us."Calgary vs. Colorado, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Avalanche are coming off two big wins in Vancouver and Edmonton so they’ll be entering the Saddledome with momentum but the Flames have the edge in the season series. Calgary has won both games this campaign, including their first and only shutout of the season.Mike Cammalleri
has been the most productive Flame against the Avalanche. In two games he has tallied a goal and three assists. He also has no penalty minutes in either game.
Rene Bourque, Todd Bertuzzi, Jarome Iginla
and Daymond Langkow all have had multiple point games against Colorado.
Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny lead Colorado in points against the Flames this year. In Calgary’s 5-4 win on Oct. 14, Smyth had a goal and an assist while Stastny had two helpers credited to his name.
Stastny also leads the team in points with 15. He has netted three goals and has 12 assists. Milan Hedjuk trails him by a single point and leads the team in goals with eight.
This is the last time the Avalanche will visit the Flames. The remaining three games of the season will take place in Colorado.Calgary vs. Colorado, Thursday, Nov. 20, 7:00 p.m. at the Pepsi Centre
Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Avalanche haven’t been spectacular at home – they currently sport a 4-4-0 record at the Pepsi Centre this year – but the Flames should expect a hard-fought battle as they haven’t had much luck at the Pepsi Centre in recent years. The last time the Flames won in Colorado was Nov. 24, 2007.
The Avalanche may not have an exceptional home record this season but it looks like they’re turning around a somewhat dismal beginning to their year. After a five-game losing skid, they’ve put together three straight wins with solid goaltending. Peter Budaj has been making key saves for several games, giving the rest of the team a boost of confidence. In two of their three wins, Budaj has pulled off highlight reel saves against Vernon Fiddler and Henrik Sedin. His save percentage sits at .898 and his GAA is 2.83.
Former Flame Jordan Leopold has been having a decent season so far. He leads all Colorado defensemen in goals with three and is tied for first in points with seven. Leopold had a three-game point streak from Oct. 20-25, which was his longest since joining the Avalanche in 2006.Calgary vs. Detroit, Saturday, Nov. 22, 8:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome,
CBC & The FAN 960
The Detroit Red Wings and their puck-possession game hit the 'Dome as the Flames and Wings tangle for the first time this season.
Hard-working forwards Henrik Zetterberg and Pvel Datsyuk are always a handful. Captain Niklas Lidstrom is considered one of the best defencemen in the NHL and is a perennial candidate for the Norris Trophy.
The Red Wings put a lot of pucks on the net. In four games between the two teams last season the Wings outshot Calgary 127-96. They won three of the four games against Calgary by a combined score of 13-7.
Chris Osgood has emerged as the No. 1 in the Detroit net, rejuvenating his career last season as he helped the Wings to a Stanley Cup win. He was 3-1 against Calgary last season.
Datsyuk had seven points, including two goals, against the Flames last season.This Week’s Key Numbers
The Flames have four candidates for the NHL All-Star Game this year. Fans can vote for Jarome Iginla
, Dion Phaneuf, Robyn Regehr and Miikka Kiprusoff
online at the XM NHL All-Star Fan Balloting website. This is the third straight year that voting is entirely digital. Fans can see real-time balloting results at NHL.com. Vote for your Fames nowDavid Moss
and Mike Cammalleri
had milestone nights on Thursday. Moss played in his 100th NHL career game while Cammalleri played in his 300th.
Matthew Lombardi hasn’t played since Oct. 23. He injured his shoulder in the Flames 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators. He practiced with teammates on Saturday but it isn’t clear if he’ll be back this week as he’s not ready for full contact yet. Lombardi has only played seven games this season.