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Game Day: Flames to battle Senators

by Sue Palanki / Calgary Flames
FLAMES LEADING SCORERS

Regular Season
Player
GP
G
A
P
Iginla 34 16 24 40
Cammalleri 33 12 16 28
Langkow 34 9 14 23

Record:19-11-4
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Five: 3-0-2

 

vs.
Record:12-5-5
Season Series: 0-0-0
Last Five: 2-3-0
 SENATORS LEADING SCORERS

Regular Season
Player
GP
G
A
P
Heatley 32 16 26 32
Alfredsson 31 9 20 29
Spezza 32 13 12 25

Senators vs. Flames
8 p.m. MT
Pengrowth Saddledome
TV: CBC and NHL Network
Radio: The Fan 960

After the Vancouver Canucks' back-to-back losses, the Calgary Flames are once again in first place in the Northwest by one point. Tonight they face the Ottawa Senators who are currently in last place in the Northeast with the NHL's worst road record of ten losses in a row. The last time these two teams faced each other was on October 12, 2006 when the Flames prevailed 1-0 in Kanata. Jarome Iginla tallied the lone goal and Miikka Kiprusoff got his 18th career shutout. It was Calgary's first win in Ottawa since 1999.

A year ago, the Sens were a powerhouse in the east with fantastic forwards like Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. Alfredsson had 21 goals and 26 assists in 35 games compared to this year's dismal nine and 20 in 31 games by Boxing Day. Lead scorer Dany Heatley is in a bit of a slump as well with his current record of 16 goals and assists compared to last year's 23 and 25. The team has been plagued with injuries as well. Defenceman Filip Kuba has been out with a groin injury, but is travelling with the team. Anton Volchenkov exited the Senators last game against the Flyers on Tuesday with an upper body injury. It's questionable if he will play in tonight's contest. Both Dany Heatley who was battling a flu, and Daniel Alfredsson with a shoulder injury, still played on the Sens' first line during Tuesday's game. Both are expected to play tonight.

While the Senators may be struggling on the road, the Flames know that they can be an explosive team.

"They've got some talented players that have experience. Their core group has some highly skilled players," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan following Saturday's morning skate.

"You never know when they are going to find a solution. We have to be aware that they are an explosive team."

Alex Auld took the starting goaltender job from Martin Gerber earlier in the season. He started out as a stellar performer, but has been producing disappointing numbers as of late. He's had four losses and one win in the last five games and has allowed four or more goals in each game. Auld has a 5-3-0 record and 2.45 GAA against Calgary in his last ten games.

Perhaps the 70's throwback moustaches the team has been sporting for the last month is the reason why the Sens have been lukewarm. Since the new look, the record has been 6-6-2. Alfredsson told the Ottawa Citizen the team elected January 1 to make a date with a razor.

Before the Christmas break, the Flames roasted the Ducks at home for the first time. Brett Sutter scored his first NHL goal at his debut and Mark Giordano got his second of the season as well as an assist. Mike Cammalleri and David Moss also netted goals and Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy both got two assists each.

Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 30 of 33 shots. Having won three of the last four games, gives him a 19-10-3 record.

The Flames are 1-0-1 in a five-game homestand and will face the Minnesota Wild for a rematch on Monday before ending the year with a contest against the Edmonton Oilers on New Year's Eve.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

For the Flames…

Conroy

Craig Conroy has been the great playmaker lately registering five assists and one goal in the last five games. On the first line, he assisted Jarome Iginla on both of his goals against the Blues on December 16. On the third line, he helped David Moss net his 11th and Brett Sutter get his first NHL goal.

For the Senators...

Heatley

Despite the Sens not being so sensational, Dany Heatley continues to be the leading scorer. His overall stats is comparable to both Iginla and Cammalleri who are 16-24 and 12-16 respectively. He netted two goals and an assist during Tuesday's game against the Flyers. He has four points and two PIMs against Calgary.


NOTEWORTHY

While Curtis Glencross continues to practice with the team, he will not play tonight. He's missed the last four games and hopes to return to the lineup by the New Year. Before the knee injury, he had five goals with 14 assists.

The Sens are 7-3-3 against the Flames since 1999. The last time the Senators were in the 'Dome was in 2005. At that time, Dean McAmmond and Shean Donovan were both part of the Calgary team.

FLAMES MILESTONES

Todd Bertuzzi needs three power play goals for 100
Miikka Kiprusoff needs five wins to take over second place on the Flames all-time wins list
Jarome Iginla needs six games for 900
Jarome Iginla needs 10 goals for 400

THE ROSTER

D Jim Vandermeer (ankle), F Wayne Primeau (foot), F Curtis Glencross (knee), and F Brandon Prust (jaw) continue to be sidelined.

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