The Calgary Flames have a busy week ahead as they face off against the defending Stanley Cup champs and three playoff-hungry clubs. This week will be a test of the team's resolve as they enter into their last stretch of games in the regular season.
Calgary vs. Detroit, Monday, Mar. 23, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, TSN & The FAN 960
The Detroit Red Wings ride into Calgary on a four-game win streak and are coming off a very strong performance in Atlanta where they picked up a 6-3 win. The winning streak has kept them ahead of San Jose by a single point, making them the best team in the NHL.
Pavel Datsyuk has been the hottest player for Detroit lately. He has points in seven straight games, tallying 11 points in the span. Datsyuk has 29 goals on the year and 88 points. He’s scored six of those points in three games against the Flames. In his 25 career games against Calgary, he’s put up six goals and 23 points.
Goaltending has been the Wings biggest issue as they head into the postseason. Neither starter Chris Osgood nor backup Ty Conklin has been very impressive this year. The two have been alternating duties all season but Osgood has been in net lately. He hasn’t played a game against the Flames this season though so the coaching staff may opt to put Conklin in net. Conklin has two wins and an OT loss to Calgary this season. His GAA vs. Calgary is a 3.17 and his save percentage sits at .898 when facing off against the Flames.
The last time the two teams played, Calgary made headlines with their huge comeback SO victory. At one point, they were down 4-1 but rallied back with three third period goals. Jamie Lundmark played the hero in the contest, scoring two of the third period tallies and picking up a helper.
Dion Phaneuf leads the Flames in scoring against the Wings. He has four points in three games. Michigan’s David Moss
has been productive against Detroit as well, picking up three points this campaign.
This is the last game of the season series.Calgary vs. Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Mar. 25, 5:30 p.m. at the Mellon Arena, TSN & The FAN 960
Pittsburgh has been making the most of the last couple of months. After they fell well below a playoff position earlier in the season, they’ve fought back to get themselves into fifth spot with 86 points. The Eastern Conference is as tight as the West though and they’re only five points ahead of eighth place Montreal.
Evgeni Malkin has been on torrid pace this season. He leads the NHL in assists (72) and points (105) and has netted an impressive 33 goals in his 73 games. In a single career game against the Flames Malkin has a goal.
Superstar Sidney Crosby trails Malkin in scoring. He has 28 goals and 95 points this season and has nine points in his last five games.
Petr Sykora has been red-hot vs. the Flames. In 26 career games against Calgary he has 13 goals and 25 points. He has 24 goals this season and a single point in his last five games.
Daymond Langkow has been a thorn in the Penguins side throughout his career. In 30 games, Langkow has seven goals and 13 assists. He’s amassed 22 PIM against Pittsburgh.Jarome Iginla
has also been potent when playing against the Penguins. He has seven goals and five helpers in 14 games.Miikka Kiprusoff
has never lost to the Penguins in regulation. The Finn has two victories and an overtime loss to them in his career. He’s only allowed six goals in those games and has a 1.70 GAA when playing Pittsburgh.
The Flames are 38-35-18-1 against the Penguins. The last time the two met was Dec. 6, 2007 in Calgary where the Flames fell 3-2 in a shootout.
Calgary vs. Columbus, Thursday, Mar. 26, 5:00 p.m. at the Nationwide Arena, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Blue Jackets are playing excellent in the stretch drive to the playoffs. The team looks like it’s on its way to postseason for the first time in franchise history and the team is playing hard.
They’ve won seven of 10 games this month and head into the week on a 3-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.
The Blue Jackets are currently sitting in sixth place with 82 points.
Captain Rick Nash is leading his team in scoring with 34 goals and 67 points. He has three points in his last five contests and has scored a shortie against the Flames this season.
R.J. Umberger is the Blue Jackets leading scorer against Calgary. In three games he has three goals. Trailing him is Manny Malholtra with a goal and two helpers against the Flames.
Former Flame Kristian Huselius is second in scoring for the club. He’s rattled off 20 goals and 30 assists in 68 games. His career high in goals came when he was with Calgary in the 2006-07 season. He had 34 goals and 77 points that year.
Rookie sensation Steve Mason has been in net for all three games in the season series. He’s allowed 9 goals when playing Calgary this year. Overall, he has 2.23 GAA and a save percentage of .919. He picked up his 30th win of the campaign on Mar. 18 in a 3-1 win over Chicago. The 20 year-old leads the league in shutouts with nine.
Iginla has been on fire against the Blue Jackets this season. The captain has points in all three games and in the last contest he was involved in all four Flames goals. He has four goals and seven points when playing Columbus this season. Mike Cammalleri has also had a great year against Columbus. The winger has picked up three goals and two assists in three games.
The Flames hold the edge in the season series, winning the last two of the three games played. This is the final meeting between the teams.
Calgary vs. Minnesota, Saturday, Mar. 28, 8:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, CBC & The FAN 960
The season is winding down in a way the Minnesota Wild didn’t expect – they’re out of a playoff spot and while they’re not out of the race yet, it’s going to take everything they have to make it. The Wild are 10th place in the West with 76 points.
The month of March hasn’t helped the Wild’s playoff push as they’ve only won four out of 11 games.
Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu has had a successful season thus far. He’s on pace to surpass his career high of 20 goals and has already passed his points high of 54. He has 18 goals this year and has 62 points. Koivu hasn’t picked up a point in four games and has one point in his last five. He has a single assist against Calgary this year.
Starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom has stuggled lately, going 1-2-2 in his last five games. He has 31 wins this with a 2.41 GAA and .919 save percentage. He’s been in goal for three of the Wild’s losses to Calgary including the Flames 4-1 win on Feb. 27.
Former Flame Owen Nolan has had a great season, notching 22 goals and picking up 37 points. He had 16 goals and 32 points in Calgary last season. He scored twice in the Wild’s 5-4 OT loss to the San Jose Sharks on Mar. 10 and had two goals in the Wild’s 3-0 win over the Oilers on Sunday.
Veteran Andrew Brunette leads the Wild in points against Calgary with two. He has a goal and a helper in the four games. Brunette has four points in his last five games and has 17 goals this season. He’s an -8 on the year.
Langkow and Cammalleri both have two goals and an assist vs. the Wild this year to lead all healthy Flames in scoring. Calgary will miss Todd Bertuzzi as the rugged winger has four points against the Wild this year.
Animosity between the clubs could be at an all-time high in this game as it was the Wild’s Dan Fritsche who injured Rene Bourque in February. Bourque has been out with a high-ankle sprain since the Feb. 18 game.
The Flames have won all four games against Minnesota this season and outscored the Wild 12-6. The play again on April 3 to close out the season series.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Daymond Langkow needs one point to reach 600 in his career.
Miikka Kiprusoff needs seven wins to reach Martin Brodeur’s record of 48 in a single season.
Adam Pardy celebrates his 25th birthday on Sunday. This is the defenseman's first NHL season.