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Calgary Flames vs. Detroit Red Wings @NHLdotcom
Flames-Red Wings Preview

GAME: Calgary Flames (33-24-5-3) at Detroit Red Wings (37-17-9-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Calgary Flames will begin a stretch of three straight games against teams in front of them in the Western Conference playoff race when they travel to Joe Louis Arena to play the Detroit Red Wings.

Winners of three of four, the Flames are tied for sixth in the West, one point behind Dallas. However, they can make up some ground and maybe send a message or two to potential playoff foes with solid efforts against the Red Wings, Stars and Colorado Avalanche over the next five days.

"It's so tight in the Western Conference," goalie Miikka Kiprusoff said following the Flames' 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. "It's so close that pretty much every game is a playoff game for us."

The Flames are just two points ahead of eighth-place Los Angeles and six points ahead of ninth-place St. Louis.

Against St. Louis, Jarome Iginla had two goals and an assist, and scored the game-winner with 3:30 remaining. Iginla is among the NHL leaders with 33 goals, and has three in two games.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, are have lost just once in their last seven (5-1-1), including Sunday's 4-2 win over Philadelphia.

Newly acquired Robert Lang made an immediate impact for Detroit, registering three assists in his Wings debut. Lang, acquired Friday from Washington, moved past Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis into the lead in the NHL scoring race with 77 points.

"I wanted to get off to a good start," Lang said. "I'm glad it worked out."

Mathieu Schneider, Steve Yzerman, Kirk Maltby and Brendan Shanahan scored for the league-leading Red Wings, who are one point ahead of four teams.

STANDINGS: Flames - 74 points, 3rd place, 8 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 85 points, 1st place, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Iginla, 33 goals and 59 points; Craig Conroy, 28 assists; Krzysztof Oliwa, 192 PIM. Red Wings - Lang, 29 goals, 48 assists and 77 points; Shanahan, 88 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 1): Flames - Power play: 15.8 percent (45 for 285), 17th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (223 for 265), 16th. Red Wings - Power play: 21.2 percent (56 for 264), 4th. Penalty killing: 86.1 percent (216 for 255), 2nd.

GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (16-6-2, 2 SO, 1.54 GAA); Roman Turek (4-9-0, 1, 2.73). Red Wings - Manny Legace (16-7-4, 1, 2.05); Marc Lamothe (0-0-1, 0.92).

SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 26; Red Wings, 2-1. At Calgary, Alberta, Pavel Datsyuk set up both Detroit goals, including Steve Thomas' eventual game-winner late in the second period.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 16-12-1-2 on the road; Red Wings - 24-5-3-0 at home.

Associated Press
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