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Flames host Stars before Heritage Classic

by Brian Hunter
STARS (31-20-6) at FLAMES (29-22-8)


Last 10: Dallas 2-7-1; Calgary 7-1-2

Season series: Third of four meetings this season. The Flames have already beaten the Stars at home and on the road, winning 3-2 in Dallas on Dec. 23 behind a shootout goal by Alex Tanguay and 7-4 in Calgary on Jan. 21 with David Moss contributing a pair of goals and an assist.

Big story: This marks the final indoor game for the Flames prior to the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic, scheduled for Sunday at McMahon Stadium against the Canadiens. Regardless of what happens against the Stars on Wednesday, Calgary will enter as one of the League's hottest teams. But the Flames want to take the ice on a high note and need every point they can get as they battle for a Western Conference playoff berth, so don't expect them to overlook Dallas.

Team Scope:

Stars: Not even a game against Alberta's other club, last-place Edmonton, could provide Dallas with a respite from its recent woes. The Stars visited the Oilers on Tuesday night seeking a sweep of the season series, which would have moved them back into first place in the Pacific Division, but they instead came away with a 4-1 loss. Loui Eriksson cut a two-goal deficit in half with a power-play goal late in the second, but the Oilers answered 1:39 later and never looked back.

Flames: Taking full advantage of a team in turmoil, Calgary struck for five first-period goals in Colorado on Monday night and added four in the third for a 9-1 win that snapped a brief two-game losing streak (0-1-1). Olli Jokinen contributed a goal and 3 assists in the opening 20 minutes while Moss also finished with 4 points. Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross each scored twice. Miikka Kiprusoff and Henrik Karlsson combined to stop 22 of 23 shots in net.
"They were definitely flat, and you could see some reasons," said Iginla, referring to Peter Forsberg's surprise retirement earlier Monday. "It was probably a pretty emotional day for them as players and their fans, and it's also trying to stop their streak and they come back home."

Who's hot: Glencross is on a tear for the Flames, having lit the lamp in five straight games. He has 6 goals and 3 assists during that span. Iginla has 3 goals and 6 assists during a six-game points streak. Jokinen has 3 goals and 7 assists in his last five games.

Injury report: Dallas played without leading scorer Brad Richards (upper-body) and defenseman Nicklas Grossman (hip flexor) on Tuesday. Forwards Jamie Benn (shoulder), Raymond Sawada (shoulder/nose), Krystofer Barch (orbital bone) and Adam Burish (orbital bone) are on injured reserve. ... Jokinen and Tim Jackman both left Calgary's game early on Monday with lower-body injuries and are day-to-day. Defenseman Adam Pardy (upper body) is on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen picked up his fifth assist of the season on Eriksson's goal, tops among NHL netminders. ... Prior to Jokinen, the last member of the Flames to record 4 points in one period was defenseman Al MacInnis against the Oilers on March 28, 1991.

Puck drop: Dallas is banged-up right now and that has undoubtedly contributed to its recent slide. But coach Marc Crawford isn't interested in hearing excuses.

"We've got to concentrate on one thing and that's making sure that we work as hard as we absolutely can. To me, that is the only thing that we need to focus on," he said.

"Whether it's our penalty kill, or our 5-on-5, we have to get it in our mindset that each and every guy putting on the Stars uniform is going to be going short and going to be going hard ... you do things the right way. You do that and keep games close, you give yourselves an opportunity."

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