Flames, Turek Take act on Road
The Flames This Week
October 10th, 2001
Greatest Road Show on Earth?
That might be setting the sites a little high, but a competitive three game road trip to kick off the team's schedule away from home would help to further lay to rest a history of tough starts.
Last season the Flames were a respectable road team but fell flat on their face with their home record.
The five points in three home games to start the season is evidence that things are looking up on home ice. It took the Flames nine home games last season to find five points; the club had a 1-6-2-1 record through their first ten home games.
To put things in perspective, it took the Flames until December 7th to win their second game at home, a feat they accomplished on October 6th this season.
Conversely the Flames had early success away from the 'Dome splitting their first ten on enemy ice with a record of 4-4-1-1, a full six points more than they managed at home in ten games.
When the dust settled in mid April on last year's Flame edition, the team ranked 18th on the road league wide, not a bad standing for a team that missed the playoffs by 17 points. On home ice the team was a pathetic, ranked 26th overall.
To get back to the playoff dance the team will have to maintain its road record while significantly improving its home record.
The road test begins tonight in Detroit.
Three games is hardly a sample size to use in judging the early season play of a hockey team, however in those three games are a few promising signs from which the Flames can build. The following are some interesting statistical tidbits ...
- The Flames have scored the exact same amount of goal to this point, as they did to this point last year ... six goals in three games, for a 2.00 goals for average.
- Defensively, things have improved greatly, with the team only yielding 2 goals in the three games compared to a much more inflated ten from last year ... the goals against average has moved from 3.33 last season to a stingy 0.67 to this point this season.
- We have often mentioned that the Flames will have to shave at least 40 goals against performance of last season in order to have any chance at post season play. To this point they've already shaved off 8 goals, leaving only 32 in the remaining 79 games.
- Special teams ... The Flames are off to a good start on the penalty kill, sitting in 12th place in the league with a 89.5% kill rate. On the powerplay the Flames are further down the list in 20th place with only a 10.5% success rate.
Wednesday October 10th: Detroit Red Wings (2-0-0-0)
The Wings are off to a predictably hot start, winning their first two starts (4-3 over the Sharks, and 4-1 over the Canucks), both away from Joe Louis ice. They open their home schedule tonight against the Flames.
Brendan Shanahan is off to a very hot start as he makes his bid to join the Canadian Olympic team in Salt Lake City. He has four goals in just two games, opening the season with a hat trick for the second time in his career.
Dominic Hasek hasn't disappointed with the Red Wings with two wins, a 1.98 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.
Thursday October 11th: Nashville Predators (0-1-1-0)
The Predators are winless in their two starts this season, opening with a 4-1 setback in Dallas, and tying their home opener against the St. Louis Blues. Goal scoring appears once again to be a problem with the Predators as they've only managed three goals in the two games.
Cliff Ronning, who has notched a goal and a helper in two games, leads the team in points.
Mike Dunham struggled in the season opener against Dallas, but Tomas Vokoun was solid in the 2-2 tie with St. Louis.
Saturday October 13th: Dallas Stars (2-1-0-0)
The rebuilt Dallas Stars are off to a 2-1-0 start on the strength of wins over Nashville and L.A, and a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. Both wins came on home ice, while their loss was in Carolina.
The Stars play the Canucks on Thursday night, before hosting the Flames on Saturday.
Pierre Turgeon, who has managed three assists in the three games, leads Dallas in points. Jeri Lehtinen and Brendan Morrow each have two goals to lead the club.
Ed Belfour has played every minute of Star's action this year, sitting with a 2-1-0 record, a 1.68 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. If Belfour starts against Vancouver, look for Marty Turco to get the call against the Flames.