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Scouting the Flames

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames kick off a busy week on Monday with back-to-back games on the road before heading back to Calgary to play two more games before the week comes to a close.

The division-leading Flames ended last week with a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators. The Flames swept the Predators this season and with the win on Friday, put themselves 11 points ahead of Minnesota and Edmonton, who are tied for second place in the Northwest Division. They’re now a mere four points behind Detroit and 13 behind the league-leading San Jose Sharks.

The win over Nashville showed why Miikka Kiprusoff is leading the NHL in wins with 30. The Finnish goaltender made several miraculous saves in the game and after killing off penalties in which Nashville had numerous scoring chances, the crowd broke out into “Kipper” chants.

His biggest save came on the penalty kill when it appeared Ryan Jones had a wide-open net. Kiprusoff slid across the crease and managed to deflect the puck high with his stick.

“That was unbelievable," said Matthew Lombardi. "It looked like he was right out of it and then he comes across and makes a big save."

This week has the Flames playing four contests, two on the road and two at home. It will be a tough week for Calgary but given their strong play of late, the momentum will be in their favour.

Calgary vs. Colorado, Monday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Center, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Colorado Avalanche are a desperate team as they march into February. They realize the time to make up ground in the Northwest Division is now and they’ll be hungry when the Flames pay them a visit.

The Avalanche are sitting at 14th place in the Western Conference and are six points out of a playoff spot. They have 32 games remaining and they know that if they are to indeed make the playoffs, the points need to come now as Edmonton and Vancouver are in the midst of struggles.

Peter Budaj will start in net on Monday for the fifth consecutive time against Calgary. While his record of 1-4-0 doesn’t show it, he’s performed well against the Flames this season. His GAA currently sits at 2.94 and his save percentage this season is .898. 

The long-time Calgary foe Ryan Smyth leads Colorado in points this season with 38. He has 16 goals and 22 assists this year and has five points against the Flames this season. In his NHL career, he has netted 20 goals and 20 helpers against Calgary.

Calgary has dominated the season series with a 4-1 record. Their only loss came on Jan. 18 when they fell 6-2 in Colorado.

Rene Bourque has potted three goals against the Avalanche this season, giving him the scoring lead over Colorado this season. Jarome Iginla, Todd Bertuzzi and Mike Cammalleri have two goals apiece versus the Avalanche this year.

Calgary vs. Dallas, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Center, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Dallas Stars are on a hot streak at the moment having won four games in a row. They’ve boosted themselves into sixth place in the Western Conference and third in the Pacific Division. The Stars are now 6-1-1 in their last eight games.

Mike Ribeiro leads the Stars in points with 43. He’s scored 11 goals and has 32 assists in 48 games. He has points in four straight games and scored a hat trick on Jan. 21 against the Florida Panthers.

Marty Turco had a shaky start to the season but has managed to find some stability. His GAA is 2.98 and his save percentage is .889. Turco has 22 wins this season.

Steve Ott has been having an impressive season since filling in for injured Brenden Morrow. He’s taken over the left wing on the top line with Ribeiro and Jere Lehtinen since Morrow’s knee injury in November. He scored in Sunday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, pushing his scoring streak to four games. He’s notched nine points in his last eight games.

The Flames have only faced the Stars once this season. Dallas came out victorious with a 3-1 win on Dec. 2. David Moss tallied the lone Flames marker with Lombardi and Adrian Aucoin picking up the assists.

The first game of the season series was surrounded with controversy as Sean Avery made his infamous “sloppy seconds” comments prior to the game. Avery was suspended for the remark and didn’t play. He hasn’t played a game since the event and the Dallas Stars have released him from their organization.

Calgary vs. Chicago, Thursday, Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, TSN & The FAN 960
While Chicago has only won two of their last five games, they come into the week with confidence – they handed the San Jose Sharks their second regulation loss at home on Saturday. The only other team to do that this season is Calgary.

The Blackhawks are in the middle of a lengthy road swing that sees them hit eight different cities in just over two weeks. Calgary is their fifth stop on the trip.

Youngster Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in points with 44. He has 17 goals and 27 assists.  Patrick Sharp is Chicago’s leading scorer this season with 22.

Goaltending duties have been split between Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet. Khabibulin has been the more solid of the two with a 2.34 GAA and .925 save percentage. He’s won three of his last five games.

Captain Jonathan Toews has been heating up lately. He scored two goals against the Sharks on Saturday and is second in the Blackhawks points race with 39.

Martin Havlat has been the Flames biggest nemesis this season. He has five points against Calgary this season, leading all of the Blackhawks. Kane is second in points against Calgary with four.

This is the last meeting between the two this season. Chicago has won all three previous games including a 6-1 thumping in early November. The last game they played saw the Flames fall 5-2 in Chicago.

Bourque leads the Flames in points against the Blackhawks. He has a goal and two assists against his former club. Bertuzzi and Iginla trail him with two points each.

Calgary vs. Anaheim, Saturday, Feb. 7, 1:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Flames PPV & The FAN 960
The Anaheim Ducks are in a precarious situation: they’re in fifth place in the Western Conference but are only two points ahead of eighth-place Edmonton.

They know the postseason is a big if so they’ll be looking to gain some ground in the standings over the next month. They’ve won two of their last five but are coming off a 4-3 win over Colorado on Saturday. The Flames need to be sure to give 100 per cent against them as the Ducks are desperate to gain some assurance they’ll make it to the playoffs.

Ryan Getzlaf has been the Ducks biggest producer this year. He has 61 points on the season with 18 goals and 43 helpers. He has picked up six points in his last five games. Getzlaf also leads the Ducks in points against Calgary with two goals and an assist.

Former Flame Steve Montador has been a tower of strength on the blue line. He leads all Ducks defense with a +12 rating and has 14 points on the season.

Jonas Hiller has taken over the Ducks starting goalie. He has 13 wins on the season, a 2.18 GAA and a .926 save percentage. This is the second season in the NHL for the Felben Wellhausen, Switzerland native.

The Flames have split the season series so far. They fell 3-2 on Nov. 2 but came back with a 4-3 win on Dec. 23.

Iginla has four points against the Ducks this year. Cammalleri, Craig Conroy and Mark Giordano have two points against Anaheim.

The Flames will play their last game against the Ducks on Feb. 11 in  Anaheim.

This Week’s Key Numbers
Todd Bertuzzi turns 35 on Monday. The Sudbury native has been playing in the NHL since he was 20. He was drafted by the NY Islanders in 1993 and began in the NHL in the 1995-96 season...Andre Roy will play in his 500th game on Monday against the Avalanche. The rugged right-winger has spent time with the Bruins, Senators, Lightening and Penguins in his NHL career...Jarome Iginla needs six points to pass Al McInnis for 2nd on the Flames All-Time list. He also needs seven goals to reach 400...Mike Keenan needs two wins to pass Pat Quinn for 4th all-time.
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