by Marc Ciampa
November 14th, 2002
|Dynamic Duo: Conroy and Iginla need to recapture last season's magic. Soon.
The Calgary Flames (5-5-3-2; 2nd Northwest Division) try to avoid losing their third straight game for the first time this season against the team that started their slide over a week ago.
The New York Rangers (7-9-2-0; 4th Atlantic Division) continue to be up and down, frustrating their fans to no end. They're coming off a 5-4 win in San Jose but the game before that they lost 6-3 to Columbus. At 16 points, the Rangers are in the same position as Calgary sitting in a tie for ninth in their respective conferences.
After a 191:42 scoreless drought, perhaps a return home will be what the Flames need to kick-start their offence. The team has continually reassured its fans that it is simply snake-bitten and eventually the chances they've been getting will start to go in. Tonight is as good a time as any to start showing this to be true.
KEYS TO SUCCESS:
- Get production from so-called producers. Suddenly, everyone on the team has gone cold at once. Chris Drury, Jarome Iginla, Craig Conroy, Chuck Kobasew, Martin Gelinas. None of these players have scored in the past three games—and some of them have had even longer dry spells.
- Score early. Despite getting a late marker in the Atlanta game, a scoreless first period will result in more doubt creeping into the players' minds. The Flames badly need to get a goal early to get their confidence back.
- Continue to play solid defensively. One factor often overlooked in the team's recent slump is how well the team has played in their own end. Not counting empty netters, the Flames haven't allowed more than two goals in a game since their 4-4 tie with Colorado several weeks ago. If the Flames are going to try and boost their own scoring they can't do it while ignoring their own end of the ice.
BY THE NUMBERS:
The Flames are currently nine points behind last year's pace, when they were 11-2-1-2 for 25 points at the 16-game point of the season. That point total would put them in first place overall right now. The big difference between this season and last has been the team's play at home. Last year after nine road games, the Flames were 4-3-2-0 while this year they are a similar 4-3-0-2. After seven home games, the Flames were 5-0-0-2 in 2001-02 and this year they are 1-2-3-1. Home attendance this year for Calgary is 15,848 as compared to last year's 15,705 at this point in the season. … The Flames are 2-0-1-0 when Jarome Iginla records a multiple-point game.
Calgary: Roman Turek (broken finger) and Bob Boughner (broken finger) are out. Jamie Wright (nick) is questionable. Defenceman Steve Montador has been recalled from Saint John to replace Boughner.
NY Rangers: Mike Richter (concussion) is out. Bobby Holik (hip flexor) is questionable. Richard Lintner (knee) and Dave Karpa (elbow) are both doubtful.
WHO TO WATCH:
Calgary: With Boughner out of the lineup, the pressure is going to be on Lydman, Regehr, Gauthier and Leopold to step up their play. It's likely that Buzek will only see 10-12 minutes and Montador in the 5-10 minute range, which means the other four will be logging a lot of ice time.
NY Rangers: Tonight's game should feature two players who couldn't crack the Flames' lineup this and last season in Rico Fata and Ronald Petrovicky. Fata had one assist last game, doubling his career total in both assists and points. Petrovicky has had a solid start to the season with the Rangers, with two goals and five points in 13 games.
"We created some chances, but they didn't go in. When it's tough to get a goal, it seems to follow you for more than one game. You've got to give those goaltenders credit. They're playing good, but we've got to take some of the blame, too. Part of it is, we're making them look good."—Flames forward Jarome Iginla on the team's recent scoring slump.
"The frustration, off the start, stems from not understanding -- and thinking you're the only one in this situation. As I become more educated in the medical side of things, I also understand there are an awful lot of guys who have gone through this and are going through this."—Flames defenceman Brad Werenka on his post-concussion syndrome that has sidelined him for 23 months and counting. He knows what Rangers goaltender Mike Richter, also a victim of recent multiple concussions, is going through.
The Flames and Rangers don't match up again this season.