Flames-Red Wings Preview
GAME: Calgary Flames (14-9-3) at Detroit Red Wings (18-6-2).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
The Detroit Red Wings will shoot for their fourth win in five games when they host the defending Western Conference champion Calgary Flames.
Goaltending, the power play and even the penalty kill all came together for Detroit in a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings Monday night.
With Manny Legace out with a sprained knee, Jimmy Howard made 22 stops in his NHL debut for Detroit.
"The guys helped me out a lot," said Howard, who was promoted from Grand Rapids of the AHL. "They came back hard, broke up odd-man rushes and they cleared a lot of rebounds. ... I'm 21 years old and playing my first game in the National Hockey League. It's something I'll never forget."
Detroit boasts the top power play in the NHL, and has converted 7 of 21 opportunities over the last four games. Mathieu Schneider and Steve Yzerman each scored with the man advantage against the Kings while defenseman Chris Chelios broke a 57-game scoring drought with his second-period goal.
Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and an assist and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for Detroit, which averages 3.85 goals per game and has scored five or more goals 11 times this season.
The Red Wings had struggled on the penalty kill, allowing at least one power-play goal in their previous 14 games, before holding the Kings scoreless (0-for-7) on the man advantage.
"It's just nice to kind of stop the bleeding in that area and finally put a zero up there," left wing Kirk Maltby said. "They didn't get a lot of second and third chances. ... Hopefully, we can play a little better on the penalty kill, because specialty teams now are huge in the success of teams."
Calgary has lost two straight games after winning 10 of 11, including Tuesday's 2-0 setback to Nashville.
Calgary, which averages just 2.38 goals per game, outshot the Predators 31-17 but went 0-for-6 on the power play.
"They did a good job killing and any chance we did get, (Tomas) Vokoun was there," Flames winger Darren McCarty said.
Detroit is the second stop on Calgary's five-game road trip, which also includes visits to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New Jersey. The Flames have struggled to a 4-7-1 record on the road this season, allowing 3.42 goals per game away from home.
STANDINGS (through Nov. 30): Flames - 31 points, 2nd place (tied), 3 PB, Northwest Division. Red Wings - 38 points, 1st place, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Jarome Iginla, 11 goals, 13 assists and 24 points; McCarty, 47 PIM. Red Wings - Brendan Shanahan, 15 goals; Pavel Datsyuk, 20 assists and 29 points; Chelios, 58 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 30): Flames - Power play: 14.9 percent (24 for 161), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 81 percent (124 for 153), 21st. Red Wings - Power play: 25.0 percent (38 for 152), 1st. Penalty killing: 84.3 percent (135 for 160), 8th (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Miikka Kiprusoff (12-8-3, 3 SO, 2.31 GAA); Philippe Sauve (2-1-0, 0, 2.68). Red Wings - Howard (1-0-0, 0, 2.00); Chris Osgood (4-2-2, 0, 3.25).
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.
LAST MEETING: Nov. 16; Flames, 3-1. At Calgary, Tony Amonte had a goal and an assist while Kiprusoff made 21 saves to lead the Flames to victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 4-7-1 on the road; Red Wings - 9-3-1 at home.