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Penguins vs. Flames Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 6-5-1-12
Road: 8-3-1-17

WHEN: Nov. 27, 2010 - 1:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Calgary Flames
Home: 5-5-0-10

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Calgary Flames 
Rene Bourque
F  -  #17
  10 Goals
  6 Assists
  16 Points
• Is coming off a career year where he posted personal bests in goals (27), assists (31) and points (58) in 73 games played.
• After posting 34 points as a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks in ‘05-06, the forward suffered three consecutive injury-plagued seasons where he missed a combined 82 games from ’06-09.
• Usually plays left wing on the top line alongside center Olli Jokinen and right wing Jarome Iginla, but is currently playing right wing on the second line.
Alex Tanguay
F  -  #40
  6 Goals
  12 Assists
  18 Points
• Had spent two seasons with the Flames from ’06-08 before returning to Calgary at the trade deadline in July to add offensive depth. Posted a career-high 81 points with the team in ’06-07.
• Has played in 98 career playoff games with Colorado, Calgary and Montreal, posting 59 points (19G-40A).
• Won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001 after scoring two goals (including the game-winner) in Game 7 of the Final against the New Jersey Devils.
Mark Giordano
D  -  #5
  2 Goals 
  7 Assists
  9 Points
• Leads the team with 58 blocked shots and ranks second in hits with 48.
• Recovered from a season-ending shoulder injury in ’08-09 to record career highs in goals (11), assists (19) and points (30) with a plus-17 rating in ’09-10.
• Averages 22:19 minutes-played each game, good for second behind Jay Bouwmeester.
The Penguins host the Calgary Flames on Saturday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center in the second of back-to-back games.

This will be the final contest of a five-game road swing for the Flames, who broke their five-game losing streak on the road with a 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. The Flames sit next-to-last in the Western Conference with 20 points.

The Flames’ offense has been hot and cold over their past five games. After Calgary netted 11 goals in two games, a 7-2 rout of Chicago on Nov. 19 and a 5-4 overtime loss to Detroit on Nov. 21, the Flames scored just three times in their next three contests.

It’s captain Jarome Iginla that has been the Flames’ most consistent offensive threat as of late. Despite a slow start, the right winger now has seven goals in as many games, including a hat trick on Nov. 19. Iginla is part of a talented offensive group that includes Rene Borque, Alex Tanguay, Olli Jokinen, Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan. Brendan Morrison, who has surprised with 15 points in 11 games, provides a solid veteran presence in the locker room.

Before Bourque’s winning shootout tally that garnered them the win on Friday, the Flames have had trouble finishing tight games. Calgary has had 11 one-goal games, but holds a 3-6-2 record in those contests.

What has been consistent for the Flames is their defense, with Jay Bouwmeester headlining the group. The durable Bouwmeester, 27, has not missed an NHL game in five seasons and ranks fifth in the league with an average of 25:52 minutes-played per game. Robyn Regehr, Mark Giordano and Anton Babchuk complete the top four.

The Penguins will face a rested goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff, who got Wednesday off in favor of rookie Henrik Karlsson. After being traded to Calgary in ’03-04 and backstopping them to the Stanley Cup Final that same season, the 34-year-old workhorse has never played less than 72 games since ’05-06, recording 30-plus wins in each of those campaigns. Kiprusoff, who won a bronze medal with Finland at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, is 8-10-1 so far this season, but has a .907 save percentage.
  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby carries a season-high 11-game scoring streak, which is currently the league’s longest-active, into Saturday’s game. Over the stretch, he has recorded 22 points (9G-13A). Crosby ranks second in the NHL’s scoring race with 37 points (15G-21A) behind Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, who has 38 points (21G-17A). Last season, the two players shared the “Rocket” Richard trophy as the league’s leading scorer with 51 goals apiece.
  • Evgeni Malkin currently ranks second in scoring for the Penguins with 22 points (8G-14A) and leads the team with 105 shots, including five in Friday’s win.
  • The Penguins penalty kill continues to shine, killing off 88-of-98 opposition power plays, good for 3rd in the NHL. Over their recent unbeaten streak, Pittsburgh has killed 50-of-52 penalties (96.2 percent), including a current stretch of 25 straight kills. In 11 of their past 13 games, the Penguins have held their opponent scoreless with the man-advantage.


Contain Their Offense: In Calgary’s 2-1 shootout loss to New Jersey on Wednesday, the Flames didn’t allow the Devils many quality scoring chances by winning battles and not allowing odd-man rushes. The Penguins need to give Calgary a taste of their own medicine in order to deny players like Iginla and Bourque, who are dangerous when given time and space.

Fleury Stays Hot:
The Flames have had 11 one-goal games so far this season, which means Saturday’s game may come down to goaltending. This bodes well for the Penguins, as netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was sensational in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, making a season-high 43 stops. This came after a 1-0 whitewashing of Buffalo on Wednesday, where Fleury made 30 saves. During Pittsburgh’s recent 7-0-1 unbeaten stretch, Fleury has a 1.71 goals-against average en route to stopping 227-of-241 shots for a .941 save percentage.
C Jordan Staal, broken right hand (up to three weeks)
LW Raitis Ivanans, head (day-to-day)
RW Ales Kotalik, knee (early December)
D Adam Pardy, shoulder (indefinitely)
C Daymond Langkow, neck (indefinitely)
Crosby (15)
Bourque (10)
Crosby (22) Stajan (13)
Crosby (37) Iginla/Tanguay (18)
Engelland (44) Jackman (40)
Letang (+10) Bouwmeester (+8)
Crosby (6) Iginla (3)
Cooke (2)
Glencross (2)
Fleury (8-6-1)
Kiprusoff (8-10-1)
Fleury (2.57)
Kiprusoff (2.74)
Fleury (.905)
Kiprusoff (.907)

Tyler Kennedy - Kennedy had a fantastic outing on Friday, setting up both power-play goals in the Penguins’ 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. The forward finished the game with two assists, six shots, two hits and 11:22 minutes of ice time. According to head coach Dan Byslma, “TK got two assists because he was standing in front of the net on the power play – something he got an opportunity to do because of his hard work and what he could do there. He paid dividends on the power play (Friday).”
Jarome Iginla - The Flames captain, who notched just three goals in his first 17 games, has exploded offensively. Iginla notched six goals and one assist during a three-game scoring binge from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21, and has seven goals in his past seven games. The sniping right winger has been one of the NHL’s most consistent scorers since he entered the league in 1996, having just one season out of 13 where he scored less than 21 goals.

Aftermath: Penguins 2, Senators 1 
Special Teams Key Victories
Fleury Continues Strong Run
Another Successful 'Dads' Trip' 

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Author: Michelle Crechiolo

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