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Scouting the Competition: 07.02.10

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

In the midst of two blockbuster trades last week that saw six new players make Calgary their home, the Flames have been quietly putting together a string of points that has helped them move up the Northwest Division ladder and get closer to the leading Vancouver Canucks. The Flames have earned points in their last three games (2-0-1) and are looking to close out the last week of the season before the Olympic break a bit closer to that number one spot.

Ales Kotalik

The Flames newcomers have already made an impact on the team, with Ales Kotalik, Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White collecting points during their first four games as Flames. Kotalik in particular has impressed many with his jarring hits, intense play and booming shot from the point. He's been playing in all situations and earned a power play marker on Friday against the Panthers.

"I’m happy I’m getting a chance to play a meaningful role. Hopefully, this is just the start," said Kotalik last week. "It always feels good when you’re put in those situations. I’m trying to do my best for us, not matter if it’s the defensive zone, the offensive zone, the power play."

Their arrival couldn't have come at a better time as forwards Nigel Dawes, Craig Conroy and David Moss are on the Flames injured reserve. Rene Bourque also suffered an undisclosed injury on Saturday against the Lightning and only played a few minutes. The extent of his injury is unknown at this point. Dawes and Moss have started skating but there is no timeline on their return. Conroy has been doing off-ice workouts at the Saddledome last week.

Flames vs. Senators, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 5:30 p.m. MST at the Scotiabank Place, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960

Jason Spezza

WHO'S HOT: After a very sluggish start to his season, Jason Spezza has really picked up his game. The forward has five goals and six points in his last five games - and that total comes with a 5-0 shutout the Sens suffered on Saturday night. Spezza has gotten his confidence back, is shooting from all angles and is a threat every single shift.

WHO'S NOT: Jonathan Cheechoo has had a disastorous season in Ottawa since being acquired by the Sens in the Dany Heatley deal. The 29 year-old has five goals and 13 points in 59 games played this campaign and hasn't picked up a point since Jan. 18. The former 56 goal scorer hasn't fit in with the Senators all year and shows no signs of regaining his offensive touch.

LEADING SCORERS: Captain Daniel Alfredsson leads the Senators in points with 47 (16 g, 31 a) and has six points in his last five outings. Trailing him, and tied for the top scoring position on the team, is Mike Fischer. The centerman has 19 goalsand 43 points in 57 games. Rounding out the top three is Alexei Kovalev who has 14 goals and 40 points.

GOALTENDING: Watching the Sens goaltending situation has been a rollercoaster ride. Starter Pascal Leclaire has been the victim of a few freak injuries this year, limiting him to 27 games started. His backup Brian Elliott has taken over the netminding duties and that has been an up-and-down affair. He started off slowly but has become much more comfortable in net, winning four of his last five starts. Overall, Elliott is 19-12-3 with a 2.51 GAA and a .911 save percentage. Expect to see Elliott in net on Tuesday evening.

INJURY UPDATE: Nick Foligno is the only player listed on the Sens injured reserve. Up-and-coming defenseman Erik Karlsson has had his great season come to screeching halt until after the Olympic break thanks to an injured shoulder.

Flames vs. Stars, Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. MST at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary Flames PPV & The FAN 960

Jamie Benn

WHO'S HOT: 20 year-old Jamie Benn has been on a tear in the past week, notching five points in his last five games. The left winger is coming off a two-goal performance against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday that saw him fire 7 shots at Ilya Bryzgalov. In 58 games this season, Benn has 13 goals and 27 points. He has one assist against the Flames this season.

WHO'S NOT: Blueliner Stephane Robidas is fourth in team scoring but hasn't been able to contribute offensively lately. The veteran has no points in his last five games and is a -4 in that stretch. In 58 games, Robidas has 10 goals and 33 points.

LEADING SCORERS: Brad Richards continues to lead the Stars in scoring and has a 10 point margin between himself and Loui Eriksson, number two on the Stars in points. Richards has wracked up 17 goals and 63 points this year while Eriksson has managed 22 goals and 53 points. Coming in third is youngster James Neal who leads the team in goals scored with 23 and has 42 points.

GOALTENDING: Marty Turco has been his usual self for Dallas this year, going 17-15-8 with a 2.73 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Turco may let in a few more than other starters in the NHL but is known for his ability to steal tight games in the third period, something he's done to the Flames on more than one occasion in his career. His backup is Alex Auld, whose gone 9-6-3 this season with a 3.00 GAA and a .894 save percentage.

INJURY UPDATE: Defenseman Mark Fistric is listed as day-to-day with an lower body ailment suffered last Thursday. Forwards Mike Ribeiro, Brian Sutherby and Tom Wandell are on the Stars injured reserve.

Flames vs. Ducks, Saturday, Feb. 13, 8:00 p.m. MST at the Pengrowth Saddledome, CBC & The FAN 960

Ryan Getzlaf

WHO'S HOT: Ryan Getzlaf is always Anaheim's go-to guy in terms of offense and he hasn't disappointed. He is riding a four-game points streak as he comes into the week, notching seven points in that span. He's been reliable defensively as well, giving the Ducks the full package whenever he's on the ice Getzlaf has a goal and an assist against the Flames this season.

WHO'S NOT: Bobby Ryan is third in the Ducks scoring race but has slowed down a bit in 2010. He has just two points in his last five games, with a goal and assist in the Ducks 3-1 win over the Red Wings on Wednesday. Ryan has a goal in each of the two games played between the Flames and Ducks.

LEADING SCORERS: Getzlaf leads all Ducks in points with 14 goals and 56 points. Not surprisingly, Corey Perry is right behind him with 20 goals and 53 points while Ryan is third on the team in points, with 25 goals and 45 points.

GOALTENDING: Jonas Hiller has been the Ducks main man in net this season. He's gone 23-16-2 with a 2.72 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Vesa Toskala backs him up but has yet to play in Anaheim silks since being traded from the Leafs last week. In Toronto Toskala had a 7-12-3 record with a 3.66 GAA and a.874 save percentage. He'll most likely get a start this week so the Ducks can gauge his skill before the Olympic break.

INJURY UPDATE: Forward Joffrey Lupul is the only Duck on the injured reserve.

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