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Goalies front and center as Wings take on Flames

by Dave Lozo
FLAMES (3-2-0) at RED WINGS (3-1-1)


Season Series:
First of four meetings this season. They split last season's series, but the Flames won both games at Joe Louis Arena, the site of tonight's contest.

Big Story: This is the second game in a four-games-in-six-nights stretch for the Flames, who are coming off a 1-0 overtime win in Nashville on Wednesday. The Red Wings are beginning a four-game homestand.

Team Scope:

Miikka Kiprusoff has a 2.19 goals-against average and .921 save percentage through five games this season, and his 34 saves against the Preds were the main reason the Flames left Nashville with two points instead of none.

"He's world class," said Brendan Morrison, who leads the Flames with five points. "Tonight, he showed it again. It was a tight game. It was one of those games where you get the sense whoever scores first was going to win. He made that huge save in the second. It was a game saver."
Red Wings: Jimmy Howard has been just as reliable in the early going for the Wings. His 25-save performance in a 3-1 win against the Coyotes wasn't especially overwhelming on the stat sheet, but he kept the Wings in the game early.

"The first period was really bad, I thought," defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the Detroit Free Press. "We had no emotion out there. We weren't winning battles. Howie came up with some huge saves for us to keep us in the game."

Howard is 2-0-1 with a 1.59 GAA and .941 save percentage.

Who's Hot:
Besides the goaltenders, Brendan Morrison has been a steal for the Flames since coming to camp as a tryout. He has 1 goal and 4 assists in his last four games. … Red Wings left wing Todd Bertuzzi has points in 4 of his first 5 games and a goal and 4 assists overall.

Injury Report:
Flames defenseman Raitis Ivanans is still dealing with concussion problems after his fight on opening night. Rene Bourque returned to the lineup and scored the OT winner against the Preds. Defenseman Adam Pardy (shoulder) is out indefinitely.

The Red Wings will be without Kris Draper for 4-6 weeks after having hernia surgery. He had been out since training camp. The good news for the Wings is the return of Johan Franzen, who is back after missing one game with a concussion. Left wing Justin Abdelkader (ribs) could be back, but defensemen Jonathan Ericsson (back) and Brian Rafalski (knee) are out.

Stat Pack:
The Red Wings are trying to figure out their power play, which is 4-for-24 to start the season. The Flames have been worse, just 2-for-19 this season.

Puck Drop:
"It's a day-to-day kind of thing and just kind of coming to grips with what they're expecting out of me and what I'm able to give to the team." -- Red Wings center Mike Modano, who has just 1 goal in 5 games and no points since scoring in the season opener.

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