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Scouting the Competition: 17.1.10

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

Scoring goals has suddenly become a very difficult task for the Calgary Flames.

Despite playing some of their best games of the season last week, the Flames couldn't bury more than two goals in a game and that lack of offense cost them three straight games.

"We’ve just got to stay with the plan. What we can’t do is start cheating. When we play the way we’re capable, we can win games and score goals," captain Jarome Iginla said. "We’ve proven that this season.

"Everyone can see - goals are tough to get right now. But guys are playing well. We’ve got the defensive side of the game going very well. We’re getting great goaltending. Guys are blocking a lot of shots, getting the shots (against) down. But it’s no secret - we need to score goals."

Iginla was quick to emphasize the team was staying positive and that he was certain the floodgates will open soon for the Flames snipers.

"Stay positive. Keep working. We’ve scored goals before, but it’s obviously a tough drought. But you’ve got to stay positive and believe it’s going to go (in) the next shift, the next game. And it will."

Flames vs. Sharks, Monday, Jan. 18, 8:00 p.m. MST at the HP Pavilion, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960

Devin Setoguchi

WHO'S HOT: While the Sharks top line, comprised of Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thorton, has been on fire all season, there's another Shark that is making his presence known. Devin Setoguchi had a bang-up rookie year with 31 goals in the 2008-09 season and despite the fact he's slowed down offensively this campaign, he's been been a danger around the net all year. He broke a nine-game goalless drought on Saturday when he potted two against the Edmonton Oilers and will be looking to put together a point streak. In 37 games this season, Setoguchi has 12 goals and 17 points.

WHO'S NOT: Ryan Clowe, who scored a career-high 21 goals and 52 points last season, has been in a scoring slump since the end of December. The forward hasn't found the back of the net since Dec. 30 and has only a single point in his last five games. He's a -3 in that span of games and hasn't looked overly comfortable on the ice. Clowe has 10 goals and 31 points in 49 games this season.

LEADING SCORERS: It's probably no surprise to anyone that Thorton, Marleau and Heatley lead the team in scoring. Thorton is the overall leader, with 13 goals and 63 points in 49 games. Marleau leads the Sharks in goals with 32 and has 51 points to his name. Heatley rounds them out with 27 goals and 53 points. The trio combined for five points agains the Oilers on Saturday.

GOALTENDING: Workhorse Evgeni Nabokov will most likely get the start on Monday as backup Tomas Greiss got the call against the Oilers on Saturday. Nabokov has been superb all season, going 26-7-8 with a 2.25 GAA and a .925 save percentage.

INJURY UPDATES: San Jose has no players on the injured reserve and has no significant injuries to report.

SEASON SERIES: This is just the second game in a four-game season series. The Flames won the first tilt by a score of 2-1 and played one of their best games of the season against the Sharks. The next time they'll clash is Mar. 19 in Calgary.

Flames vs. Blackhawks, Thursday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m. MST at the Pengrowth Saddledome, TSN & The FAN 960

Jonathan Toews

WHO'S HOT: Captain Jonathan Toews looks like he's picked up his offensive game. On Saturday he scored two goals and added an assist to round out a three-point outing against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has four points in his last five games and 10 points in his last 10 outings. In 42 games this season, Toews has amassed 16 goals and 39 points.

WHO'S NOT: Defenseman Brent Seabrook is 11th in Blackhawks scoring but his offensive numbers have dropped lately. He has just a single point in his last five games despite throwing 16 shots on net in that span. Overall, Seabrook has three goals and 20 points in 46 games this season. He hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 25 against the Sharks. Seabrook was a -1 on Saturday when Chicago beat Columbus by a score of 6-5.

LEADING SCORERS: Patrick Kane is in the midst of having another excellent season. He's potted 19 goals and 55 points in his 48 games this campaign and has six points in his last five games. He picked up three helpers on Saturday against the Blue Jackets. Kane is currently 5th in the NHL in points scored and is only eight points away from the overall leader, San Jose's Thorton.

GOALTENDING: Goaltending was expected to be Chicago's Achilles heel this season but starter Cristobal Huet has stepped up to the plate and challenged his naysayers. He has a 22-8-3 record, a 2.19 GAA and a .907 save percentage. His backup, Anttii Niemi, has also been great. He has a 1.84 GAA and .921 save percentage. Niemi has gone 11-3-1 in his 15 games played this season and has stolen quite a few of those games for his team.

INJURY UPDATES: F Dave Bolland and F Adam Burish are on the Blackhawks injured reserve and will not play against Calgary on Thursday.

SEASON SERIES: This is the third time these two teams will clash with Chicago holding a 2-0 edge in the four-game series. The Flames let go of a five goal lead in their first game, losing 6-5 in overtime, while the Blackhawks overwhelmed an lackluster Flames squad 7-1 in their second tilt. The final game of the series is on Apr. 4 in Chicago.

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