A trip to face the Detroit Red Wings signifies the first official road trip for the Calgary Flames.
It’ll also be the first time Flames forward Jiri Hudler gets to square off against his former Detroit teammates. Hudler, who has three goals and five points in four games this season, is welcoming the affair but stressed the importance of the game from a team perspective.
“I’ve got a lot of good friends there and it’s going to be a lot of fun but at the same time we need the points,” he said.
Despite playing parts of seven seasons alongside the duo, Hudler doesn’t have any insider tips on how to shut down the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyu, who of the game’s most offensively gifted forwards.
“I think the whole league is still trying to figure out how to play against Z and Pav’s,” Hudler said. “They’re phenomenal players and its always tough.”
HITTING THE ROAD
For the first time this season, the Flames will play consecutive games away from Scotiabank Saddledome.
With a 1-3-2 record heading into a three-game set against the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets and Vancouver Canucks, points are at a premium with the team away from Calgary according to captain Jarome Iginla.
“It’s a very important road trip for us,” Iginla said. “We have games at hand. Right now we’re at the bottom but we have three games and you win those three games, you’d be right in the playoff mix. It is a shortened year, we know that.”
The schedule, albeit tight, works for coach Bob Hartley.
“It’s going to be good plus it’s a good situation because we’ve got three games in five nights, a day in between each game,” he said. “We’re going to be able to get decent quality practice time and we’re going to be able to spend time together. I think it’s going to be a good building block for us but at the same time, we need to cash in on our chances and rack up some wins.”
Though the Flames find themselves 0-2 in the shootout this season, Iginla is hoping the team can turn things around in that department.
“Sometimes we get on a string and we’re winning some shootouts,” he said. “I think it was a couple years ago where we had a pretty decent one. Once it starts going against you, everyone who goes on it you start pressing and you really want this one and the pressure builds on it. It’s something you keep going and you try to work at it away from games.”
Calgary has dropped shootouts a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary’s only other road game this season. More recently, the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Flames in a shootout Saturday.
“I think part of it is you have to give some teams credit who are very good at it and have extremely high percentages, that they are really good,” he said.
“It can go either way. but when you get into it, you just want to get one and it can snowball quickly either way.”
Anton Babchuk is expected to join his teammates on the road trip through Detroit, Columbus and Vancouver.