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Scouting the Competition: 24.1.10

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

After a weekend of long practices focusing on nailing down game details, the Calgary Flames are looking forward to getting their season back on track this week.

Craig Conroy

"For whatever reason, we haven't been the most positive group lately, with the losses and the city's not real happy, and we're trying to pull each other together right now and turn this thing around," Craig Conroy said on Sunday. "Sometimes, when you have all this negative stuff to pull you together, it makes you more positive. Instead of giving a guy grief if he makes a mistake, pick him up and help out. We don't want to beat a dead horse."

The team looked much more upbeat on Sunday morning. Throughout an hour-long, intense practice, players were shouting out praise for each other as they battled through drills that ranged from basic puck movement to working on the power play. Conroy was quick to point that this weekend helped move the the team forward in a positive manner, something they needed to happen in order to get their game in order.

"We've had a few practices, a few arguments and now we've turned that around and we're looking at going in the right direction."

General manager Darryl Sutter came out on Saturday and said he wasn't making any trades because he believed he had assembled a team that could go deep in the playoffs. After practice on Sunday, the team said they've believed that all along.

"We believed that before," said Conroy. "We've talked about it - we have the personnal to do it, we just have to do it ourselves. We can't talk about it anymore, we have to get things done."

Flames vs. Blues, Monday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m. MST at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960

T.J. Oshie

WHOSE HOT: T.J. Oshie is on pace for a career year and when he's coming into Calgary on a hot streak. The 23 year-old is just four goals shy of matching his career-high 14 and just 11 points of reaching his career-high in points, 39. Oshie has picked up five points in his last five games and scored once in regulation in the Blues 4-3 SO loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. He's scored the game winner against Calgary on Dec. 15 in the Blues 4-3 win.

WHOSE NOT: Brad Boyes has been leaned heavily on to produce offensively for the Blues but lately he's found himself in a bit of a slump. He's scored just two goals in his last 20 games and has just 10 markers this season. He has three helpers against the Flames this season, all coming on Dec. 15 when the Blues defeated the Flames by a score of 4-3.

LEADING SCORERS: Boyes is leading all Blues in points with 34 (10 g, 24 a) while Andy McDonald has scored the most goals on the team with 16. Trailing them is youngster David Perron who has 14 goals and 14 assists in 51 games this season.

GOALTENDING: Chris Mason hasn't had the season he would have liked, going 15-15-7, and isn't feeling so hot about his game right now. He's lost his last three starts and has just four wins in his last 10. His GAA is sitting at 2.54 while his save percentage is .911. Backup Ty Conklin has gone 7-6-1 in his 14 starts this season, posting a .916 save percentage and a 2.76 GAA.

INJURY UPDATE: Blueliner Carlo Colaiaccovo is the only Blue listed on the team's injured reserve.

SEASON SERIES: This is the fourth and final game of the season series. The Blues hold a 2-1 edge, winning a game on the road and at home this campaign. The Flames lone victory came on Nov. 5 when the Flames walked out of St. Louis with a 2-1 OT victory.

Flames vs. Stars, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 6:30 p.m. MST at the American Airlines Center, The FAN 960

James Neal

WHOSE HOT: James Neal has really picked up his game over his past three contests. He picked up assists against the Canucks and the Wild and scored the dramatic game-winner in Edmonton on Friday night. With the game tied 3-3 and just under 30 seconds the to, Neal showed off his soft hands when he gracefully picked up a rebound and threw it into the next with 23 seconds left in regulation. Neal has 20 goals and 38 points in 47 games.

WHOSE NOT: Fabian Brunnstrom hasn't been producing at all lately. The winger has only played 28 games this season and has only scored a single goal in that time. He's got just one assist in his last five games and is a -1 in that stretch.

LEADING SCORERS: Brad Richards has had an excellent season, scoring 14 goals and 58 points, placing him sixth in the league in points. He's scored six points in his last five games with three of those coming against the Flames divisional rival, the Wild. Following him is Loui Eriksson who has 21 goals and 48 points. The 24 year-old Swede has been hot lately, with three tallies in his last four games.

GOALTENDING: The Stars are getting the usual, dependable solid goaltending from starter Marty Turco. The veteran netminder has gone 15-13-8 this year with a 2.84 GAA and a .905 save percentage. Backing him up is Alex Auld, who has gone 7-5-3 this year with a 3.01 GAA and a .895 save percentage.

INJURY UPDATE: Brendan Morrow has missed three games with an upper body injury and is listed day-to-day. He may be well enough to suit up against the Flames. Jere Lehtinen and Mike Riberio are on the injured reserve.

SEASON SERIES: The teams have split the two meetings they've had this season. Dallas took the first game by a score of 5-2 while Calgary won the second tilt 3-2 in overtime. The teams will meet for a final time on Feb. 11 in Calgary.

Flames vs. Coyotes, Thursday, Jan. 28, 7:00 p.m. MST at the Arena, Calgary Flames PPV & The FAN 960

Lauri Korpikoski

WHOSE HOT: Lauri Korpikoski doesn't score often but when he does, he does in bundles. The 23 year-old former first round pick has scored two goals in a single game twice this season, with his last outburst coming on Saturday when he potted both Coyotes goals in a 4-2 loss to the Capitals.

WHOSE NOT: Keith Yandle is seventh on the Coyotes leading scorers list but the blueliner hasn't scored a goal since Dec. 26. He only has two points in his last five games and just five points in his last ten. Yandle has one goal in two games against the Flames this season.

LEADING SCORERS: Captain Shane Doan leads all Phoenix players in points with 34 and has scored 14 goals this season. He's amassed six points in his last contests and has no goals against the Flames in the 2009-10 season. Right behind him is former Flame Matthew Lombardi. The winger has flourished in Phoenix, potting nine goals and 32 points in 48 games.

GOALTENDING: The Coyotes have depended on their starter, Ilya Bryzgalov, a lot this season. He has a 26-14-4 record, a .918 save percentage and a 2.33 GAA in 45 games this season. Backup Jason LaBarbera is 3-4-1 and has posted a .916 save percentage and 2.49 GAA.

INJURY UPDATE: Daniel Winnik did not play on Saturday after sustaining an upper body injury earlier in the week. Defenseman Kurt Sauer is on the injured reserve.

SEASON SERIES: The Flames and Coyotes have each won a game against each other this season with both tilts ending in a 2-1 decision. The next time these two will see each other is Mar. 31 in Calgary.

Flames vs. Oilers, Saturday, Jan. 30, 8:00 p.m. MST at the Pengrowth Saddledome, CBC & The FAN 960

Sam Gagner

WHOSE HOT: The Oilers are in the middle of a disastrous season and while no player is having a superb campaign, Sam Gagner has managed to put together a good offensive streak over the past couple of games. He's scored two goals and a helper in his last two games, pushing himself into second on the Oilers scoring list. Over 49 games, he has 12 goals and 30 points.

WHOSE NOT: After an incredibly hot start to his season, Dustin Penner has slowed right now. The big winger only has two assists in his last five games and is a -1 in that stretch. His last tally came on Jan. 12 when the Predators downed the Oilers by a score of 5-3.

LEADING SCORERS: Penner leads the team in scoring with 21 goals and 43 points with Gagner behind him with 12 goals and 30 points. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky rounds out the top three with nine tallies and 29 points.

GOALTENDING: The Oilers starting goaltender Nikolai Khabibulan is out for the rest of the season with a back injury so backup Jeff Deslauriers is now the main man in net. Given the pressure he's under, he's done very well, posting a 9-14-3 record with a 3.18 GAA and a .896 save percentage. The Oilers have been rotating Deslauriers backups but there's a good chance Devan Dubnyk will be on the bench in Calgary.

INJURY UPDATE: Edmonton has to be the most unlucky team in the league when it comes to injuries. Out indefinitely are Khabibulan and Ales Hemsky, their two most prominent players, while Gilbert Brule (flu), Mike Comrie (mononucleosis), Ryan Stone (knee), Steve Staios (undisclosed) and Ladislav Smid (concussion) are all either day-to-day or week-to-week.

SEASON SERIES: This is the last tilt in a six-game season series that Calgary has dominated. The Flames have won all five prior games.

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