| || || || || || |
|Alex Tanguay |
| ||LW - #40 |
|• After leading the Flames with 47 assists last season, the team signed the 31-year-old first-line winger to a five-year, $17.5 million contract extension on June 25. |
• Although best known for his playmaking skills, Tanguay has proven he has good shooting ability – as evidenced by his league-leading 10 shootout goals in 2010-11 (out of 16 attempts) for a 62.5-percent success rate.
• His 69 points last season were his most since he began his first stint with the Flames in 2006-07, where he netted a career-high 81 points (22G-59A).
|Lee Stempniak |
| ||RW - #22 |
|• The 28-year-old forward – projected to play right wing on a line with left wing Curtis Glencross and center Olli Jokinen – was acquired on Aug. 29 from Phoenix in exchange for winger Daymond Langkow. |
• Was red-hot for Phoenix after Toronto traded him there at the 2010 deadline; he scored 14 goals in 18 games for the Coyotes to give him a career-high 28 total tallies on the season.
• Played four collegiate seasons for Dartmouth from 2001-05, where he studied finance and even interned for Goldman Sachs on Wall Street one summer.
|Jay Bouwmeester |
| ||D - #4 |
|• The incredibly durable blueliner – who averaged a team-leading 25:59 minutes per game last season – currently has the NHL’s longest ironman streak (505 games) dating back to the 2003-04 season – and is the all-time ironman streak holder among NHL defenseman. |
• With 635 career NHL games under his belt, the 28-year-old Bouwmeester is the longest-tenured player in the league without a single playoff game on his resume.
• The smooth-skating defenseman with solid puck-moving skills, who scored a combined 42 goals from 2006-09, is in the third season of a five-year extension inked in 2009 with Calgary.
|The Calgary Flames rebounded well from first-half struggles in 2010-11 that saw them tied for last in the Western Conference just before Christmas, going on to earn a 23-9-7 record from Jan. 11 to the end of the season. |
They worked their way back into playoff talk, but ultimately fell short by finishing 10th. And despite the long offseason, the Flames are hoping they’ll be able to pick up where they left off come Saturday.
Captain Jarome Iginla – who ranked third in the NHL with 43 goals last season – anchors the Flames’ deep forward lineup. There was concern that the 34-year-old winger would not be ready for the season opener after he suffered back spasms in the first skate of training camp and missed the next two weeks. But Iginla, who’s just 16 tallies from 500 career goals, officially quelled those fears on Tuesday when he confirmed he would be good to go on Saturday.
While Iginla will suit up on Saturday, the Flames will be missing a key player in Mikael Backlund – who would have inserted a youthful presence into a veteran core. Calgary was looking for a big season from their 2007 first-round pick, who was projected to center Iginla’s line, but Backlund is out for six weeks after breaking his finger on Oct. 2. In his stead, versatile winger David Moss will center the first line with Iginla and Alex Tanguay.
Although the Flames traded longtime Flame Robyn Regehr to Buffalo this summer, they got a youthful return in Chris Butler, 24, who is expected to skate with the durable Jay Bouwmeester. The Flames also brought in hard-nosed blueliner Scott Hannan, who is projected to form the team’s top shutdown pairing with heart-and-soul defenseman Mark Giordano. Anton Babchuk and Cory Sarich complete the top six.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff will be back between the pipes for the Flames on Saturday, which could prove to be a very memorable night for the Finnish workhorse (who has never played less than 71 games since ’05-06, recording 30-plus wins in each of those campaigns). He’s just one win away from being the winningest goaltender in franchise history, as he’s got 276 wins in Flames silks to date.
- The Penguins have won four consecutive games against the Flames, including their previous two visits to Calgary. During their four-game winning streak against the Flames, the Penguins have surrendered a total of just four goals.
- A win Saturday by the Penguins would establish the team’s longest all-time winning streak against the Flames. Pittsburgh has won four straight against the Flames on three previous occasions, including their current run, which began with a 3-2 win on Dec. 6, 2007 at the Saddledome (Mar. 3, 1992-Jan. 23, 1993; Dec. 16, 1972-Oct. 12, 1973).
- A win Saturday would make the Penguins 2-0 for the 10th time in franchise history and second time in three years. It would also mark just the third time in team history that the Penguins have won back-to-back consecutive road games to begin a season 2-0 (1998-99; 1994-95).
- With their 4-3 shootout win at Vancouver on Oct. 6, the Penguins have now won four consecutive road openers and five of their previous six dating back to 2006.
- D Kris Letang has scored the game-deciding shootout goal in each of the Penguins’ three all-time shootout wins in Western Canada (Oct. 7, 2011 at Vancouver, 4-3; Dec. 8, 2007 at Vancouver, 2-1; Dec. 6, 2007 at Calgary, 3-2).
- The Penguins have now won seven straight shootouts dating back to last season. During that stretch, Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents by a 10-1 margin. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has stopped 10 straight attempts dating back to last season. He is 6-0 in his last six shootouts, stopping 16 of the 17 shots he has faced.
- Calgary finished last season with the league's second-best power play at home, clicking at a 25.6-percent success rate. On the road, however, the Flames had the league's second-worst power play, clicking at a 13.3-percent success rate. Overall, Calgary's power play finished No. 8 in the NHL.
| ||D Robert Bortuzzo, lower-body (indefinitely) |
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (indefinitely)
F Dustin Jeffrey, knee (indefinitely)
D Brooks Orpik, lower abdominal/hernia (day-to-day)
F Nick Petersen, concussion (indefinitely)
D Boris Valabik, knee (indefinitely)
| || || |
|Crosby (32) ||Iginla (43) |
|Letang (42) ||Tanguay (47) |
|Crosby (66) ||Iginla (86) |
|Cooke (129) ||Jackman (86) |
|Crosby (+20) ||Babchuck (+14) |
|Crosby (10) ||Iginla (14) |
|Dupuis (4) |
|Glencross (2) |
|Fleury (36-20-5) |
|Kiprusoff (37-24-6) |
|Johnson (2.17) ||Kiprusoff (2.63) |
|Johnson (.922) ||Kiprusoff (.906) |