by Marc Ciampa
November 19th, 2002
|Roman Return?: The least of Calgary's troubles is goaltending, but their #1 stopper may give them a spark.
The Calgary Flames (5-7-3-3; 5th Northwest Division) have a difficult task ahead of them. After failing to register a victory in games against such teams as NY Rangers, Florida and Atlanta they're now in the middle of one of their toughest stretches of the season. It began Saturday against St. Louis and continues through to the middle of December against such opponents as Edmonton, Detroit twice, Colorado, Boston, Washington and St. Louis again. Tonight the Flames go up against the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings (10-5-2-0; 2nd Central Division) in desperate need of a goal and, more importantly, a win. The Flames are now four points away from ninth-place Colorado, and only five points ahead of Nashville for last in the Conference.
KEYS TO SUCCESS:
- Don't play soft defensively. With the starting goaltender back in net, often the tendency is for the team to loosen up somewhat defensively—whether it is consciously or subconsciously. If the Flames hang Roman Turek out to dry it could get ugly tonight.
- Don't press for a goal. With only two goals in six games, the tendency tonight will be for the Flames to cheat a little offensively to get something done. If they stick to their game plan they could pull off a 1-0 or 2-1 win against Detroit tonight.
BY THE NUMBERS:
All time the Flames are 51-45-16-0 against Detroit, including a record of 23-13-3-0 at Calgary. When the Flames were in Atlanta, they owned the Red Wings with an 11-4-0 record. … Jamie McLennan has put up some outstanding numbers during the Flames' last five games despite having no wins to show for it. He has a 1.62 goals-against average during that stretch, and a .942 save percentage. Among goaltenders who've played as many or more games than him, McLennan ranks ninth in the league in GAA and seventh in save percentage. … From the "that's obvious" file: Martin Gelinas has no points in six games, Chris Drury has no points in five games, Craig Conroy has no points in five games, Jarome Iginla has two goals in 13 games. Iginla at this point last season had 17 goals and 33 points to lead the league. This year he has 4 goals and 14 points. I won't even mention the contrast in his plus/minus. For the Flames to win, Jarome needs to score more goals than Chris Clark (who also has four). … Calgary has been shut out five times this year. 20 teams, including the Red Wings, have been shut out once or less.
Calgary: Roman Turek (broken finger) is a likely starter this evening. Bob Boughner (broken thumb) is out. Jamie Wright (neck) is out. Robyn Regehr (wrist) is out. Denis Gauthier (one-game suspension) is out.
Detroit: Steve Yzerman (knee) and Jiri Fischer (knee) are both out for an extended period.
WHO TO WATCH:
Calgary: If Roman Turek ends up starting tonight, it will be interesting to see not only how he plays but also how the team plays in front of him. Micki Dupont and Steve Montador could see a lot of minutes tonight if the Flames only go with five defencemen. They could either step it up and show that they are indeed NHL calibre or get burned by the Red Wings, forcing the Flames' hand in making a trade to acquire further blueline depth.
Detroit: It seems whenever Steve Yzerman gets injured, Sergei Fedorov's play steps up. This season is no different as Fedorov leads the team with 11 goals and 17 points. Nicklas Lidstrom is also having a monster season, with 15 points and a +13 rating in 17 games.
"Maybe a little string of bad luck? I had two good chances at the end of two good games. They didn't go in. For some reason, that puck isn't crossing that goal-line. I don't know if there's a boobytrap back there or something. We don't know."—Flames rookie defenceman Jordan Leopold who's been thwarted on a number of key scoring opportunities during the slump.
"That's unacceptable. That's embarrassing. We've got to try to get 15, 20 shots every period. You're never going to score with just two shots. We've got to score three goals a night. Score three goals a night and we win games. I feel bad because Jarome (Iginla) and I are supposed to do it, and a guy like (Chris Drury). That's what is disappointing. We're eating up a lot of ice -- we've got to be better."—Flames captain Craig Conroy stating the obvious: the Flames need to score. He organized a closed-door players-only meeting following Saturday's loss to St. Louis.
HEAD-TO-HEAD:FLAMES LAST 10 GAMES vs. RED WINGS
The Flames visit Detroit on December 1st.