The Calgary Flames have a pivotal week ahead of them as they face off against three divisional rivals: the Vancouver Canucks, Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers.
The Flames are coming off a three-game road trip that saw them pick up five points. They faltered in Anaheim with a 3-2 OT loss but were able to garner wins in Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Goaltending has been superb for Calgary. Miikka Kiprusoff is playing some of his best hockey and has bailed the team out of poor defensive performances on more than one occasion during their road swing. He shutout the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night, making 36 stops in the Flames 2-0 win.
One area of concern for Calgary at the moment is the lack of production from captain Jarome Iginla. He’s scored just two goals in 19 games and didn’t have a single point in the Flames 7-5 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
"I would like to be scoring and I expect myself to contribute goals," said Iginla. "That's a part of my job and a part of my role. Right now, it's unfortunate not to be finding the net as much as I'd like."
A player who isn’t suffering from scoring woes is Mike Cammalleri. The winger has three goals and six points in his last five games. Everything he touches seems to hit the back of the net so whoever is on his line is passing to him as often as possible.
Calgary vs. Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Vancouver Canucks are beginning to look like the team that they envisioned they’d be with the likes of Mats Sundin and Roberto Luongo in their lineup. They struggled mightily in January but have rebounded in February. They’ve won four of their five contests and have outscored opponents 21-15.
In the 14 games he’s played since becoming a Canuck, Sundin has scored six goals and has four assists. He has a -4 rating.
Luongo looked rusty after returning from a groin injury but he seems to be falling back into his old self. His GAA is sitting at 2.62 and his save percentage is .913.
The Flames started their season off with a home-and-home series with the Canucks and it didn’t turn out exactly the way they wanted to. They lost the first game, in Vancouver, by a score of 6-0 and then lost in overtime the next game by a score of 5-4.
Calgary got the season series back on track with another home-and-home series at the end of November. The Flames won both matches, outscoring Vancouver 7-4.
The Sedin twins have been flying when they’ve played the Flames. Henrik has five points (1 G, 4 A) and Daniel has six points (3 G, 3 A). Mattias Ohlund follows them with a goal and three helpers.
Cammalleri has been a thorn in Vancouver’s side all season. The red-hot forward has four goals and a helper in four games against the Canucks. Daymond Langkow and Dion Phaneuf trail him in points against the Canucks with four each.
Calgary vs. Minnesota, Thursday, Feb. 19, 6:00 p.m. at the XCel Energy Center, Flames PPV & The FAN 960
The Minnesota Wild are on a bit of a slide coming into their matchup against the Flames. They’ve dropped two straight and gave up a 3-0 lead on Saturday in their loss to the Ottawa Senators.
Mikko Koivu is the Wild’s leading scorer with 16 goals and 53 points on the season. He has three points in his last five games and has three goals in his last 10. Koivu has one assist against Calgary this season and in 24 career games against the Flames, he’s scored four goals and has notched five assists.
Marian Gaborik and Andrew Brunette lead the Wild in scoring against the Flames. They both have a goal and an assist in the two games of the season series.
Gaborik, who has been injury-plagued this season, hasn’t played since Dec. 23 and will not be in the lineup on Thursday.
Brunette has 13 goals and 32 points in 55 games this year. In 49 career meetings with Calgary, he’s netted 11 goals and 23 helpers.
The Flames have played the Wild twice this season and won both contests. Langkow and Todd Bertuzzi lead Calgary against the Wild with three points each.
Eric Nystrom played the hero in the last game the two played on Dec. 29. He scored a shorthanded goal in the third period that ended up being the game winner.
This is the third meeting in a six-game season series.
Calgary vs. Edmonton, Saturday, Feb. 21, 8:00 p.m. at Rexall Place, CBC & The FAN 960
The month of February has been a rollercoaster for the flip-flopping Oilers. They’ve won three games, lost four, scored seven goals in a game and have eight scored against them in a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
They’ve played well on the road but haven’t had much success at Rexall Place, which gives the road-weary Flames a bit more confidence heading into their rink.
The Battle of Alberta has been an intense rollercoaster this season. The Oilers won back-to-back games in mid-October and the Flames came out on top on New Year’s Eve.
The games in October had single goal differences (4-3 and 3-2 respectively) and were decided by the Oilers scoring three second period goals.
Another major factor in the first three games of the season series is special teams. The Oilers inability to kill off penalties led to three Flames power play goals in December and in the first game of the series, the Flames allowed three power play goals.
Denis Grebeshkov has been force for Oilers against the Flames. He has five points against Calgary this season but unfortunately for the Oilers, Grebeshkov was the victim of a slew foot by Tomas Plekanec in Edmonton’s game against Montreal. He suffered a high-ankle sprain and is expected to miss the next two weeks.
Jarome Iginla and Mike Cammalleri lead the Flames in scoring against the Oilers. They both have two goals and four helpers in three games. Langkow trails them with five points.
The two will meet two more times to end the regular season with a home-and-home series in April.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Jim Vandermeer celebrates his 29th birthday on Saturday, Feb. 21. The rugged defenseman won’t be playing in the Battle of Alberta that night however as he’s on the injured reserve with a leg injury.
Curtis Glencross reached a career milestone on Saturday when he scored against the Phoenix Coyotes. The goal was his 10th of the season – a number he’s never reached with a single club in his career. He split last season with the Columbus Bluejackets and Edmonton Oilers in which he recorded 15 goals between the two teams. He’s also surpassed his career-high in points. His previous high was 25 in the 2007-08 season. He has 27 points this year.
Jarome Iginla needs only two more points to surpass Al MacInnis for second place on the Flames all-time points list.