Flames-Red Wings Preview
GAME: Calgary Flames at Detroit Red Wings.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference semifinals; Flames lead 1-0.
TIME: Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT.
Manny Legace said it nearly two months ago, and now the rest of the Detroit
Red Wings know just what he meant.
Coming off an improbable victory in the opener of their semifinal series
against the top-seeded Red Wings, the Calgary Flames try to take a 2-0 lead
back home when the teams meet at Joe Louis Arena.
Another outstanding performance from goalie Miikka Kiprusoff and Marcus
Nilson's first career playoff goal at 2:39 of overtime led the Flames to a 2-1
victory in Game 1 on Thursday.
The win was particularly gratifying for Calgary because it was playing its
third straight overtime game after a long flight and had just two days off
since eliminating Vancouver in Game 7 of the quarterfinals.
Detroit, meanwhile, played its first overtime game of the postseason and had
four days of rest after defeating Nashville in the opening round.
Winning without any offense from captain Jarome Iginla - limited to two
shots and no points - also bodes well for the Flames.
"That's part of what's been so fun this year," said Iginla, a Hart Trophy
finalist for NHL MVP. "It's been somebody different scoring big goals each
night. That's why we're where we're at."
The Red Wings found out Thursday that the Flames are not to be taken
lightly, something backup goalie Legace predicted after Detroit's 2-1 victory
over Calgary on March 3.
"That is going to be a scary playoff team. Scary, I know I'd be worried
playing them," Legace said after that win. "If their goaltending gets hot,
and no one's been hotter than Kiprusoff, they could make some serious noise,
some Anaheim-like noise, this year."
Anaheim started its stunning run to the Stanley Cup finals last season by
sweeping Detroit in the quarterfinals.
Though it's far too early for the Red Wings to be frustrated, they have
reason to be concerned because they thoroughly outplayed the Flames for most of
Game 1. Detroit prevented Calgary from registering a shot on goal for nearly
the first 10 minutes and outshot the Flames 13-2 in the opening period.
Kiprusoff, however, allowed only Robert Lang's goal at 6:14 of the second
period and finished with 28 saves.
"They dominated us in the first period," Iginla said. "Kipper gave us a
Since a 5-3 loss to Vancouver in the opening game of the playoffs, Kiprusoff
has surrendered 12 goals in seven games.
"It seems like he's always in good position," Detroit captain Steve
Defenseman Robyn Regehr forged a 1-1 tie late in the second period with his
first career playoff goal, helping the Flames to their fourth straight road
win. It was Calgary's first Game 1 victory since it beat Montreal in the 1989
Stanley Cup finals. The Flames were 0-7 in series openers since.
The Red Wings have been one of the NHL's elite teams for a decade, but
strangely, have lost seven straight overtime playoff games at home and 10 of 12
overall, dating to 2000.
"That's playoff hockey," Detroit's Kirk Maltby said. "Things happen, and
everything isn't going to go your way. We kind of went through this with
Nashville. We knew it was going to be close games with them, a tough, physical
series, and I think a lot of that is going to be the same in this series. We've
just got to find a way to win those close games."
One problem that appears to have carried over from the opening round for
Detroit is an ineffective power play. The Red Wings failed to score on six
opportunities in Game 1 and are just 2-for-35 with the man advantage this
"I thought the difference was our power play, not being able to put the
game away," Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said. "We were up 1-0 and if we could
have scored on the power play to go up 2-0, it would have been huge."
One player Detroit would like to see get his game going is All-Star center
Pavel Datsyuk, who has no goals and three assists in seven playoff games.
Datsyuk, one of the league's most electrifying players, led the Red Wings with
30 goals and tied Brett Hull for the team scoring lead with 68 points during
the regular season.
The series shifts to Calgary for Game 3 on Tuesday.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Flames - 6th seed; beat Vancouver Canucks 4-3,
quarterfinals. Red Wings - 1st seed; beat Nashville Predators 4-2,
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Iginla, 5 goals and 8 points; Craig Conroy, 5
assists; Ville Nieminen, 14 PIM. Red Wings - Lang, 3 goals, 4 assists and 7
points; Brendan Shanahan, 16 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 14.0 percent (6 for 43). Penalty
killing: 82.2 percent (37 for 45). Red Wings - Power play: 5.7 percent (2 for
35). Penalty killing: 96.9 percent (31 for 32).
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (5-3, 1 SO, 1.94 GAA); Roman Turek (no
appearances). Red Wings - Curtis Joseph (2-1, 1, 0.90); Legace (2-2, 2.18)
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 3-1. Detroit outscored Calgary 7-2 in
winning the first three meetings before the Flames recorded a 4-1 victory at
Joe Louis Arena on March 16. Kiprusoff went 1-1 with a .938 save percentage in
two games, while Joseph stopped 21 shots in a 3-0 victory at Calgary on Nov. 4.