The Calgary Flames head into the month of April with confidence after a big 3-2 victory over division rivals, the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. The Flames will face off against them once more this week as they continue on their quest for first place in the Northwest.
Calgary vs. San Jose, Monday, Mar. 30, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The San Jose Sharks set a franchise record on Saturday night when they picked up their 109th point of the season in a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. The win moved the Sharks into first place in the Western Conference.
While the Sharks have been dominant at home, posting a 31-3-4 record, they've been shaky on the road lately. Since Feb. 26, they've gone 2-5-1. Their roadtrip is short as they only play the Flames and Edmonton before heading back to the Shark Tank.
Injuries have started to pile up on the Sharks. They played without Jonathan Cheechoo (lower body), Rob Blake (lower body), Ryan Clowe (lower body procedure) and Marcel Goc (lower body) on Saturday. Those players have accounted for six points against Calgary this season.
On Thursday, 22-year-old Devin Setoguchi became just the sixth Sharks player to hit the 30 goal plateau. The Taber, AB product has 31 helpers on the year and has proven himself as one of the Sharks most versatile players. His play has be improving steadily and he is the midst of a six-game points streak. He assisted on two of the Sharks goals against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night. Setoguchi has two assists against the Flames this season.
Evgeni Nabokov is second to Miikka Kiprusoff in wins this season with 38. He's posted a .911 save percentage and 2.44 GAA. He hasn't picked up a win against the Flames this season but has an overall record of 10-10-2-2 when facing off against Calgary.
Veteran blueliner Dan Boyle has picked up six helpers in his three games against Calgary. He's scored 14 goals and 52 points this year. In eight games against the Flames in his career, Boyle has collected a goal and eight assists.
Daymond Langkow has been on fire when playing the Sharks this season. He’s notched three goals and has a helper in three games. Curtis Glencross and David Moss trail him with three points each.
Calgary has held their own against the Sharks when playing at home. They hold an overall record of 23-12-0-4 since the Sharks first game in the Dome on Nov. 30, 1991 and have scored five or more goals in 11 of their 39 games. The Flames are 3-2-0 in their last five games against the Sharks at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
This is the final game between the two clubs. The Flames currently hold the edge in the four-game series with a 2-1 record.
Calgary vs. Dallas, Thursday, Apr. 2, 6:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center, Flames PPV & The FAN 960
The Dallas Stars are one of the six teams vying for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference but have been dropping back in the race due to six straight losses. The Stars fell 6-3 to the Florida Panthers on Saturday and unless they string some wins together this week, their playoff hopes will be gone.
Injuries have crippled Dallas lately. On Saturday, they lost defenseman Mark Fistric and Trevor Daley didn't play due to a lower body injury. In addition to the two defensemen being out of the lineup, Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards, Toby Petersen, Sergei Zubov, Krystopher Barch, Brian Sutherby and Phillipe Boucher did not play on the weekend.
Due to the injuries, winger Chris Conner has been given the chance to shine. The 25-year-old is now in his third season in the NHL and is playing very hard to earn a spot on the roster full-time next season. Conner scored on Saturday and has 11 points on the year. He's played in 33 games this campaign.
After a rough start the season which saw doubts cast upon him, Marty Turco has rebounded nicely. His season stats aren't impressive, a 2.84 GAA and .897 save percentage, but the 33-year-old is 6th in the NHL in wins with 32 and has saved several games for the Stars.
Mike Ribeiro leads the Stars in scoring with 20 goals and 70 points. He's picked up three points in his last five outings and is a -5 on the season. He had a goal and an assist in the Stars loss to the Panthers.
The Flames have had trouble producing offense against the Stars. They’ve only scored four times in three games whereas the Stars have put seven pucks in the net. Dustin Boyd leads the Flames in points against Dallas with two.
Loui Eriksson has tallied three points against the Flames with a goal and two helpers. The 23-year-old winger has netted 33 goals and 58 points this season. It’s his third season with the club and he’s already far surpassed his previous high in scoring, last season with 14 goals and 33 points.
Defenseman Stephane Robidas has picked up three assists against Calgary this year. He has three goals and 23 assists this campaign.
Calgary vs. Minnesota, Friday, Apr. 3, 6:30 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Minnesota are desperately trying to make the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and this week will either make or break the team. With 78 points, they're a mere three points out of a playoff berth.
While goaltending hasn't been the major story coming out of Minnesota, Niklas Backstrom has quietly solified himself as one of the finest netminders in the NHL. He's earned seven shutouts this season, posted a 2.37 GAA and .922 save percentage. He had an 18-game unbeaten streak this season during the month of October and is currently 5th in the NHL in wins with 33. Backstrom was the Wild's strongest player on Saturday, making 37 saves.
Former Flame Owen Nolan is the current Wild captain. Minnesota has rotated its team captaincy monthly this season to the player who best demonstrates the best leadership skills. Mikko Koivu was named the Wild's captain during the month of March but injured his knee on Mar. 22 and hasn't played since.
Nolan leads the Wild in scoring with 23 goals on the year and has four game-winning tallies this season. The Wild are 11-5-2 when Nolan picks up a goal.
The pesty Cal Clutterbuck drew the ire of the Flames when he laid out Jamie Lundmark with a nasty trip that luckily didn't injury the forward. The dislike grew even more intense as the Flames had two goals disallowed while Clutterbuck was in the box. Clutterbuck set a new NHL record for hits in a season with 323 and set a franchise record with 10 hits in a single game. He dished out six hits against the Flames on Saturday.
Jarome Iginla has owned the Wild since they're inception, scoring 27 goals in 48 games. This season hasn't been productive for the caption though, picking up two points in only two games. The Flames have a record of 22-5-4 when Iginla earns a point. In 48 games, Iginla is a +18.
The Xcel Energy Center has been an arena the Flames have enjoyed playing in. Overall, their record in Minnesota is 13-8-1-3. The Wild have outscored the Flames however, netting 57 goals compared to Calgary's 52 goals in their 25 games.
This is the final meeting between the two clubs this season. The Flames have won all five previous contests.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Miikka Kiprusoff needs five wins to reach the all-time NHL regular season record. Martin Brodeur currently holds the record with 48 wins in the 2006-07 season. He played 78 games that year.
Jamie Lundmark scored his seventh goal of the year on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild. In two stints with the Flames this season, he's played in 20 games and accumulated 15 points.
Eric Nystrom has scored two of his five goals this season against the Wild. Both goals were game winners.
The Flames haven't scored a power play goal in 16 opportunities.