by Marc Ciampa
November 4th, 2002

AP Photo

Toni the Tiger: Toni Lydman and partner Robyn Regehr will have to be solid on this five game road trip.

TONIGHT'S GAME:

Tonight the Calgary Flames (3-3-3-2; 4th Northwest Division) embark on their longest road trip of the season as they take on the New York Islanders (3-7-1-0; 5th Atlantic Division) a team they have had remarkable success against in the past six years. In their past nine games against the Long Island squad, the Flames are 8-1 with their only loss coming the last time the two sides met as the Islanders defeated Calgary 3-1 at the Saddledome.

After a resurgence in 2001-02, it seems the Islanders are back to their losing ways this season. In 11 games, the Isles have seven losses and only have the woeful Atlanta Thrashers below them in the standings. But this is a better hockey club than they've shown to date and they'll be looking at the Flames as an opportunity to redeem themselves and get their season back on course. They come into tonight's game on a four-game losing skid.

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

  • Jamie McLennan. While he played solid in the second period against Colorado giving the Flames the opportunity to gain a point, he needs to be better. With the opportunity to play regularly over the next week he'll be able to shake off some rust.
  • Diversify. Martin Gelinas and Chris Drury have been outstanding to this point in the season but the Flames need a little bit more production out of lesser lights such as Marc Savard, Rob Niedermayer and Chuck Kobasew.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Martin Gelinas has been a very pleasant surprise for the Flames this year and has fit in even better than expected. Not only does he lead the team in goals with six and is second in points with 12 he also has a team-best plus/minus rating of +6. 11 games into the season he's almost halfway to last season's goal total of 13. The chances of Jarome Iginla having a repeat Art Ross Trophy winning season is already slipping away one month into the season. Iginla is 16 points behind league-leader Mario Lemieux. By the way, the second leading scorer in the league is none other than Martin St. Louis (9 goals, 9 assists). Before the Colorado game, Stephane Yelle was on a four-game point-scoring streak and had points in six of his last eight games.

ROSTER UPDATES:

Calgary: Roman Turek (broken finger) will miss the road trip. Dany Sabourin has been recalled from Saint John and will back up Jamie McLennan tonight.

NY Islanders: Mike Peca has recovered from his knee injury suffered in last season's playoffs and plays his second game of the season tonight. Oleg Kvasha (broken ankle) and Radek Martinek (ribs) are out.

WHO TO WATCH:

Calgary: Martin Gelinas' outstanding play last game brought back memories of his 35-goal campaign with the Canucks a few years back. On the flip side, Chris Drury will be playing with some fire looking to rebound from a mediocre outing against his former team Saturday. And, of course, the play of McLennan will be key.

NY Islanders: Shawn Bates is starting to develop into a consistent scorer and top playmaker for the Isles. After topping out at 12 points in his four years with the Bruins, Bates managed 52 last season with the Islanders. This year he leads New York with 7 assists and 9 points in 11 games. Chris Osgood has struggled terribly this season, with a 4.67 GAA and .793 save percentage. He has to start playing better real soon.

QUOTABLE:

"People are just realizing how good he can be and what he's capable of" Avalanche defenceman Derek Morris on former teammate and current Flame Toni Lydman.

"Re-fund! Re-fund!" Islanders fans after Saturday's 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

"I'm not surprised at all. We always knew the assets that those guys bring to the table," said Gilbert. "They're playing up to their abilities. We knew what they were going to bring to us, and they're proving it."Flames head coach Greg Gilbert on the play of Stephane Yelle and Chris Drury through the first month of the season.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

NEXT MEETING:

This is the only meeting of the season between the Flames and Islanders.

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