THE DISNEYLAND CURSE
We all know about the Flames past fortunes in Anaheim. It's well documented.
Just to refresh your memory, the Flames have not celebrated a win at the Honda Center since it was the former name, The Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.
That was January 19th, 2004 when the Flames earned a 5-1 victory backstopped by Roman Turek. The Flames offence was hot as well with five different goal scorers: Chris Clark, Oleg Saprylin, Marin Gelinas, Josh Green and current Duck blueliner Toni Lydman, who vaguely remembers that night.
"You have to remember that it was a different team back then. Both sides." Lydman said. "It's going to be a tough game tonight. Calgary is a tough team to play against. It will be a tough defensive battle, not a lot of shots the last time we played the Flames and I expect the same kind of game tonight."
It has been 13 straight contests between these two teams in this arena since the Flames came away victorious. The last six of those have been determined by a single goal.
"I haven't thought about it." Flames head coach Brent Sutter quipped. "There's a lot of different guys on this team now. We've played some good games here in the last few years and didn't win. Our focus is on this game tonight."
The Flames have other things on their minds. Coming off of a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at the Scotiabank Saddledome, they are right in the middle of a feirce playoff battle that is looking like a six-team race for the final two spots in the Western Conference.
MIIKKA LOOKING FOR 300
Flames Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is still in search of his 300th career NHL win.
Listening to the players and coaching staff of the Anaheim Ducks, Kipper has earned the respect that he certainly deserves in circles outside of the Flames organization and around the league.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau knows it's never easy when facing the veteran netminder.
"To score on him, you have to earn your goals. Kiprusoff just doesn't give up easy goals."
Kiprusoff would join some elite company with the milestone. There are only 26 other goaltenders in NHL history to reach the 300 win plateau. Brent Sutter says that won't affect the Flames backstop.
"Nothing phases him, he's pretty calm, cool and collected. He doesn't get rattled by very much. He just takes the day as it comes, gets ready to play when called upon and more often than not, plays well.
STAYING HOT ON THE ROAD
The Flames would like nothing than to keep up the recent pace and enjoy the success they've seen from their last road trip.
They earned points in all three games they played on that trip. Ironically two of those games were also in California.
The shootout setback against the Sharks on January 17th was arguably their most complete road effort of the season.
Although the Flames have been struggling offensively in the past few weeks, they have found ways to collect points.
Flames defenceman TJ Brodie isn't concerned about the lack of goals.
"At the end of the day as long as we have one more goal than them that's all that matters, it's the two points that matter. The goals are going to come. The main thing is sticking with the way we are playing, smart, defensively and playing as a team."
"Every game matters" is an understatement for those club as they currently sit four points out of the eighth and final playoff spot but also need to leapfrog two other teams to get there.
Regardless, every game from here on out is the most important game of the season.
Miikka Kiprusoff is two wins away from 300.
Matt Stajan needs three goals for 100.
Tom Kostopoulos needs seven assists for 100.
Scott Hannan needs nine points for 200.
Author: Jason Johnson