by Marc Ciampa
November 21st, 2002

AP Photo

Beg for Goals!: Jordan Leopold and the Flames simply need to find their touch.

TONIGHT'S GAME:

If there was a NHL record for fewest goals scored within a specified amount of time, the Calgary Flames (5-8-3-3; 5th Northwest Division) would likely have it, save for the infamous 1928-29 Chicago Blackhawks who went eight straight without a goal. It's not quite that bad yet for the Flames, but with only two goals in over 430 minutes of playing time it's pretty close. The scary part is it could still get much worse. One of the few teams still directly in the team's sights is the Edmonton Oilers (7-8-3-1; 4th Northwest Division) and a loss tonight would bury the team deep in the Western Conference basement, with only Nashville below them.

KEYS TO SUCCESS:

  • At this point the Flames shouldn't even be looking to win the game. They should put in a strong effort with no costly mental lapses and see what happens. Most extended losing streaks end after a couple of losses that the team deserved to win. Hopefully that stage of the slump begins tonight.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Despite the extended slump the Flames have been in, somehow Martin Gelinas has managed to remain above water in +/-. Gelinas (+5), Toni Lydman (+4) and Robyn Regehr (+3) have all continued to play well defensively in spite of the team's woes. Chuck Kobasew has also been solid, with an even rating on the season. … Since being recalled from Hamilton, Marty Reasoner has played very well. He has a +7 rating in nine games. … The first goal will be an important one tonight. When not scoring first, the Flames are 2-7-2-1 and Edmonton is 1-6-1-1. … Both the Flames and Oilers have three overtime losses this season and no wins. … Edmonton has just one win against the Eastern Conference, compared to six against the Western Conference. … The Flames have the worst powerplay in the league, at 10.3%. … Edmonton's isn't much better, at 26th (13.1%). … 5-on-5 this season the Flames have 28 goals for and 29 against. Edmonton has 30 for and 32 against.

ROSTER UPDATES:

Calgary: The Flames' defence could be back to normal tonight, as Gauthier has served his suspension and Bob Boughner is close to returning. Jamie Wright (neck injury) remains out. Roman Turek is a likely starter in goal, which could give the team an added boost.

Edmonton: Jiri Dopita is "injured" right now.

WHO TO WATCH:

Calgary: Chris Drury has been a proven winner everywhere he's played – and that includes his first 15 games with the Flames. He needs to call upon himself to help lead this team out of the slump. Nobody else is doing it so it's up to him to draw upon his previous championship experience.

Edmonton: Ryan Smyth is currently on a four-game point-scoring streak (1 goal, 5 assists) and seems to always come up with a big game against the Flames. After a dismal start to the season, Tommy Salo is coming around and starting to return to form.

QUOTABLE:

"I don't think there's any better solution than playing the Edmonton Oilers. We have to really stomp on 'em. We always want to beat them no matter where the teams are in the standings."—Flames defenceman Denis Gauthier.

 "Edmonton is a great game for us. Maybe what we need is the little extra emotion of playing against those guys. All we need is just one win -- doesn't matter if it's 5-4 or 1-0 -- and maybe this is the type of game that can get us going again."—Flames forward Jarome Iginla.

"Did you see any guys crying after the (fight-filled) Anaheim game last year? No, we were high-fiving each other. We had a great brawl and everybody enjoyed it. It's not that we want to be known as meatheads but it brought the team closer together because we fought for something we believed was right."—Calgary blueliner Denis Gauthier, again, saying if you can't beat 'em on the ice beat 'em in the alley.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:FLAMES LAST 10 GAMES vs. EDMONTON

NEXT MEETING:

The Oilers visit Calgary again on January 20th.

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