Game Preview: Flames vs Dallas Stars

CALGARY FLAMES (29-25-11 69 points) vs. DALLAS STARS (34-26-5 73 points) GAME 66

 

PREVIEW:

Every game is important for the Flames at this point but tonight’s contest against the Stars is pretty much their season. This will be the second of four meetings between the clubs with the Stars taking the first meeting on Feb. 16th 3-2 in overtime. That meeting sent the two teams on two separate paths. Before that February meeting, the Flames held a 3 point lead over the Stars but with a 2-3-3 stretch, the Flames now find themselves 4 points back of the Stars for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Stars have been red hot since then going 6-1-2 and are current on a six game point streak (5-0-1). Make note this game is a 4 pm start.

The Flames come home after a quick 2 game road trip in Phoenix and Anaheim. After a big 4-2 victory in Phoenix where the team played with lots of compete and desperation, one play decided their fate against Anaheim. A defensive zone breakdown left Ryan Getzlaf all alone to pot the game winning goal with only 46 seconds left in the third period. It was a tough way to lose the game but at this point of the season, as Mike Cammalleri put it, is ‘unacceptable’. Leland Irving played well in his first action since February 9th, making 38 saves. Irving was sent back to Abbotsford today, but should be back later this month as the Flames are set to play back-to-back games on Mar. 15th and 16th. The Flames are now winless in 15 straight games at the Honda Centre with their last win coming back in 2004.

The Stars come into the Dome this afternoon, coming off a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night. Kari Lehtonen made 20 saves in the victory and was a mere 30 seconds away from his third shutout of the season. Lehtonen has been the backbone in the Stars climb up the standings, going 4-0-1 in his last 5 starts, posting a 1.37 GAA. The Stars also welcomed back number one center, Jamie Benn back to the line-up last week after he had missed 6 games due to a leg injury. Benn continues to get better in his third season with 18 goals and 51 points in only 54 games.

There really isn’t much to say about the Flames play of late. It’s either really good or really bad and lately it hasn’t been very good as the team has lost 5 of 6. One positive that came from the road trip, was the awakening of the Flames top players. Jarome Iginla, Mike Cammalleri and Alex Tanguay found instant chemistry together, while Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross have gotten back where they left off before Glencross’s injury. Tonight’s is the annual ‘Jersey off our backs’ game, which is all about the fans. The fans should be the focus for the Flames as they have gone 0-2-2 in their last four at the dome, being outscored 18-9 during that span. It’s now or never for the Flames as a loss tonight could be the final dagger in their playoff hopes.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Stars:

1-TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-IGINLA                            1-OTT-BENN-BURISH

2-GLENCROSS-JOKINEN-MOSS                               2-ERIKSSON-RIBEIRO-RYDER

3-KOSTOPOULOS-STAJAN-COMEAU                       3-NYSTROM-FIDDLER-DVORAK

4-BOUMA-HORAK-JACKMAN                                     4-GARBUTT-WANDELL-VINCOUR

 

1-BOUWMEESTER-SMITH                                          1-SOURAY-ROBIDAS

2-GIORDANO-HANNAN                                               2-GOLIGOSKI-LARSEN

3-BRODIE-SARICH                                                      3-FISTRIC-DALEY

 

1-KIPRUSOFF                                                               1-LEHTONEN

2-KARLSSON                                                                2-BACHMAN

 

EXTRA- BABCHUK                                                        EXTRA- PETERSON, PARDY

 

INJURIES:

Flames: D- Chris Butler (Lower Body- IR), C- Mikael Backlund (Upper Body- IR), C- Blair Jones (Ankle- IR), RW- Lee Stempniak (Ankle- IR)

Stars: LW- Brenden Morrow (Neck- IR), LW- Jake Dowell (Upper Body- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

+/-

O. Jokinen

65

20

33

53

1

J. Iginla

65

24

27

51

-7

A. Tanguay

49

10

29

39

6

C Glencross

50

21

15

36

-5

M. Cammalleri

58

15

17

32

-10

 

Stars

PLAYER

GP

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

+/-

L. Eriksson

65

21

36

57

16

J. Benn

54

18

33

51

14

M. Ryder

65

27

21

48

17

M. Ribeiro

58

14

34

48

6

S. Ott

59

10

21

31

5

 

PP-

Flames: 17.5% (14th)

Stars: 14.4% (28th)

PK-

Flames: 83.2% (9th)

Stars: 82.3% (15th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

WINS

LOSSES

OTL

POINTS

1. VANCOUVER

66

41

17

8

90

2. DETROIT

65

43

19

3

89

3. PHOENIX

65

33

23

9

75

4. ST. LOUIS

66

41

18

7

89

5. NASHVILLE

65

38

20

7

83

6. CHICAGO

66

35

24

7

77

7. SAN JOSE

64

33

24

7

73

8. DALLAS

65

34

26

5

73

 

9. L.A

65

30

23

12

72

10. COLORADO

66

33

29

4

70

11. CALGARY

65

29

25

11

69

12.MINNESOTA

65

28

27

10

66

13. ANAHEIM

66

28

28

10

66

14.EDMONTON

64

25

33

6

56

15. COLUMBUS

65

20

38

7

47

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Last ten games: Flames 4-3-3, Stars 6-2-2
  • The Flames and Stars will get to know each other real well this month as they will face each other 3 times. Playoff style hockey is here.
  • Miikka Kiprusoff is 5-1-2 with a 2.06 GAA in his last eight starts against the Stars.
  • Kari Lehtonen has lost his only two starts in Calgary, posting a 4.04 GAA
  • Kiprusoff and Lehtonen come into tonight’s action as the two winningest Finnish-born goaltenders in NHL history. Kiprusoff is 1st with 304 victories, while Lehtonen trails him with 159.
  • The road for the Flames doesn’t get any easier this month as they are set to play a franchise record 17 games.
  • The Stars have won three straight on the road, outscoring their opposition 9-2 and have won 5 of their last 7 meetings at the Saddledome.
  • Mike Ribeiro has been a thorn in the Flames side, scoring in six consecutive games (6g, 6a).
  • The Stars have had success against Canadian opponents this season with a 7-0-1 record.

 

GAME DAY QUOTE:

"Really unacceptable with where we're sitting (in the standings) right now.”

 – Mike Cammalleri after the Flames 3-2 loss against Anaheim on Friday

 

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