Red Wings-Flames Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings at Calgary Flames.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference semifinals; Flames lead 2-1.
TIME: Thursday, 10 p.m. EDT.
The Detroit Red Wings knew containing Jarome Iginla would be difficult.
Doing it on the road could be impossible.
Faced with the possibility of falling into a 3-1 hole, the top-seeded Red
Wings will try to keep Iginla in check and pull even with the Calgary Flames
when the teams meet in Game 4.
Though the Red Wings kept Iginla off the scoresheet in the first two games,
the Flames managed a split in Detroit and seized on an opportunity to take
control of the series in Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Both goaltenders were perfect in the first 20 minutes before the teams broke
out for five goals in the second period.
Iginla scored his first goal of this series and his team-leading sixth of
the playoffs on the power play at 5:46 to give Calgary a 2-1 lead. Jiri
Fischer's first goal of the postseason with 8:16 left in the period forged a
2-2 tie, but Shean Donovan put the Flames ahead for good just 40 seconds later.
Detroit pressed for the tying goal in the third, only to be denied
repeatedly by Miikka Kiprusoff, who rebounded with a 27-save performance after
allowing five goals in Game 2.
Kiprusoff displayed the ability to bounce back from bad games during the
regular season, and that trend has continued in the playoffs. He has given up
five goals three times in losses during this postseason, and each time won the
next game, yielding a total of five goals.
The sixth-seeded Flames can move within one win of their first conference
finals appearance since capturing the Stanley Cup in 1989 with a victory
"I think our line created more chances," said Iginla, a finalist for the
Hart Trophy as league MVP. "I thought we were skating a little bit better. We
were trying to concentrate as a group and a line. We had more chances and
hopefully we can create more the next game."
Though Iginla has only one point in this series, his presence forces the Red
Wings to focus most of their attention on him, opening space for players like
Donovan and Martin Gelinas, who had two assists in Game 3.
During home games, Detroit has the last change and can match its Grind Line
of Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and either Darren McCarty or Steve Yzerman against
Iginla. In Game 3, however, the Flames had the last change and Iginla often
played against Robert Lang's line with Brendan Shanahan, who has difficulty
skating with Iginla, and Ray Whitney, no match physically for Calgary's
"Every team would like to have last change," Iginla said. "It helps us as
far as getting matchups, line matchups. And that leads to us starting with the
Also working in Calgary's favor in Game 3 was the absence of Red Wings
defenseman Chris Chelios, who was scratched after sustaining an undisclosed
injury in Game 2. Detroit used Chelios and Derian Hatcher to play against
Iginla in Games 1 and 2.
Iginla had three shots on goal Tuesday after registering two in the first
"It felt good," Iginla said. "It would have been nice to see one go in
early, but it all worked out. I was really trying to skate. They're great at
clogging up the neutral zone and clogging up the wings, and I really was trying
to concentrate just on skating and not over-thinking."
Iginla's goal snapped the Flames' 0-for-12 power-play drought in this
series, and was just their seventh goal with the man advantage in 52 chances in
The Red Wings, the NHL leaders this season with 109 points, have lost three
of four road games in the playoffs.
"They kept throwing a lot of things at us, especially down low," McCarty
said. "We didn't play the game we wanted to play. It's imperative we win the
next one. We have to play more desperate."
While Detroit played without Chelios, Calgary's injury problems are much
worse. The Flames were without regular defensemen Toni Lydman, Denis Gauthier
and Rhett Warrener and forward Chris Simon in Game 3.
Lydman and Gauthier have yet to play in this series due to injuries, and
Warrener sat out after he was hit in the eye and across the bridge of the nose
by Yzerman's stick in Game 2.
Brennan Evans made his NHL debut in place of Warrener, but saw only 32
seconds of ice time in the first period as the Flames went with five defensemen
over the final 40 minutes.
Simon had two goals and three points in the first three games against
Vancouver in the first round, but has missed the past seven games with a lower
The series returns to Detroit for Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Red Wings - 1st seed; beat Nashville Predators 4-2,
quarterfinals. Flames - 6th seed; beat Vancouver Canucks 4-3, quarterfinals.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Lang, 4 goals and 8 points; Pavel Datsyuk,
6 assists; Shanahan, 18 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 6 goals and 9 points; Craig
Conroy and Matthew Lombardi, 5 assists; Iginla and Ville Nieminen, 14 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 11.6 percent (5 for 43).
Penalty killing: 95.1 percent (39 for 41). Flames - Power play: 13.5 percent (7
for 52). Penalty killing: 79.2 percent (42 for 53).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Curtis Joseph (3-2, 1 SO, 1.50 GAA); Manny Legace
(2-2, 2.18). Flames - Kiprusoff (6-4, 1, 2.23); Roman Turek (no appearances).