The Calgary Flames come into the week riding high: they’re first in the Northwest Division, beat the top team in the NHL last week and are feeling refreshed after a four-day break between games. This week, the Flames will get back to grind with four games split between home and the road.
The Flames won both of their games last week, picking up points against the league’s best and worst teams.
The 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks showed how far the team has come since being thumped 6-1 by the Sharks on Nov. 13. That game was the start of a turnaround for the red-hot Flames and they’ve become the top team in the Northwest Division with five point lead over second place Vancouver. Prior to that, they were battling for third or fourth spot in the division.
"Obviously, they embarrassed us in their building and we didn't forget that and we came out and had a great start and won the game," said Daymond Langkow.
"We came out with a lot of energy, we were skating well, making smart plays, taking the puck to the net, and getting bodies in front of (Sharks goalie Evgeni) Nabokov and it paid off for us.”
They then moved on the defeat the New York Islanders by a score of 5-2. Langkow had three points in the affair and his teammates have been heaping the praise on the centreman.
"Langks has obviously been on a tear and it's not lucky, it's not fortunate, he's a good hockey player," said Mike Cammalleri. "He's making a lot of very good plays right now and that's why the puck's going in for him."
Langkow now has points in seven consecutive games.
This week, the Flames will alternate between home and the road with four games on the schedule.
Calgary vs. St. Louis, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The St. Louis Blues come into the C of Red as the worst team in the Western Conference. However, despite their woes this season, the team looks like they’re starting to turn things around.
They lost their first game of 2009 but came back strong against the Blue Jackets and Canucks. They faltered slightly on Sunday night, falling 2-1 to the Oilers so they’ll be pressing hard to get back into the win column.
Brad Boyes is the Blues offensive threat. He leads all St. Louis players in scoring and in points with 19 goals and 35 points thus far. He was held off the score sheet in Edmonton - a rare occurrence – so the Flames will have to keep their eyes peeled for the forward, as he’ll be working very hard to get the Blues kick-started.
Starting goalie Manny Legace hasn’t been having a dream season. While he’s won three of his last five games, his save percentage is sitting at .887, placing him at 43rd place in the league, and his GAA is 3.21, 42nd in the NHL.
The Flames have met with the Blues twice this season and won both. They squeaked by the first match in overtime in a 4-3 win and handily won the second game by a score of 6-3.
Flames players have had phenomenal games against the Blues this season. Jarome Ignila has amassed six points over both games, Dion Phaneuf had his first career four-point game in the 4-3 victory and Matthew Lombardi picked up three points in the 6-3 win.
The teams will play once more this season.
Calgary vs. San Jose, Thursday, Jan. 15, 8:30 p.m. at the HP Pavilion, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
After beating the Sharks at home, the Flames head into one of the hardest buildings to play in, the HP Pavilion. The Sharks home record is an outstanding 19-0-2 this season, making them the best home team in the NHL.
The only low point in the Sharks' three-game Western Canadian road swing was their stop in Calgary. They picked up wins in Edmonton and Vancouver after falling 5-2 to the Flames.
While always impressive, Joe Thornton has had a particularly good last few games. He has seven points in his last five games and is leading his team in points with 49. All of his points in the last five games are assists and he’s second in league in assists with 40. The Flames will have to be cognizant of his play-making skills if they want to be the first team to beat San Jose in regulation in their own building this year.
Thornton will be heading to the All-Stars Game in Montreal. Dan Boyle will be joining him and Devin Setoguchi was named to Young Stars Game on Friday. Head coach Todd McLellan will coach the Western Conference All-Star team.
In their last meeting, the Flames outworked the Sharks and several players were rewarded with a multi-point evening. Daymond Langkow scored twice, Curtis Glencross lit the lamp once and picked up a helper late in the game and Rene Bourque had two assists.
Calgary vs. Phoenix, Saturday, Jan. 17, 8:00 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, CBC & The FAN 960
The Coyotes are heading out on a Northwest Division road trip and they’ve left on a winning note. After falling to the Blackhawks 6-0 early in the month, they rebounded with two straight wins.
While they’re feeling good about their trip, Phoenix was dealt a heavy blow on Sunday. Defenseman Kurt Sauer suffered a lower body injury on Saturday and the next day, it was determined he’d miss the next four weeks.
Former Flame David Hale and Keith Yandle, who have been out of the lineup intermittently over the past couple of weeks as healthy scratches, will now play every game.
Youngster Kyle Turris has been a major factor in both Phoenix wins. He scored the shootout winner over Dallas on Saturday and scored the game-winner over the Lightening on Thursday.
The Flames and Coyotes have split the two games they’ve played so far this season. Calgary won 4-1 in Phoenix in late October and then the Coyotes answered back with a 4-2 win in Calgary in early November. Iginla had three points in the Flames victory but was held off the board during the loss.
Calgary will pay one more visit to the Jobing.com Arena before the end of the regular season.
Calgary vs. Colorado, Sunday, Jan. 18, 6:00 p.m at the Pepsi Center, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
Once at the bottom of the Northwest Division, the Colorado Avalanche are suddenly surging. Coming into the week, they’ve won three straight, outscoring their opponents 9-5.
Wojtek Wolski has been a powerhouse in those three wins. He has two points in all three of the games, scored the game-winner in two games and netting two in the Aves 2-1 win over the Predators. He now has 11 goals and 25 points this season.
Andrew Raycroft has been displaying solid goaltending lately as well. He has played in the last three games for Colorado and has proved he’s up to the task. His GAA is 2.57 and his save percentage is at a respectable .905. In his 11 games this season, he’s only registered one loss.
Forward Milan Hejduk has been named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the third time in his career. The reliable veteran has 13 goals and 18 assists on the season but hasn’t scored since Dec. 23.
Sunday will be the fifth time the two teams have faced each other and the Flames have dominated the season series. They’ve won all four previous games and outscored the Avalanche 13-5.
Langkow has five points in the season series, four of which came in the form of assists.
Miikka Kiprusoff picked up his first two shutouts of the season against Colorado on Oct. 28 and Nov. 20.
The Flames will play the Avalanche once more this season.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Jarome Iginla needs eight goals to reach 400. He played in his 900th game last Tuesday.
Mikael Backlund played his first NHL game on Thursday. He wore the number 60, the first player to do so in franchise history, and had over 10 minutes of ice time.
Adam Pardy scored his first NHL goal on Thursday.