Game Preview: Flames vs Dallas Stars

CALGARY FLAMES (3-4-3 9 points) vs. DALLAS STARS (7-5-1 15 points) GAME 11

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames will host the Dallas Stars for the first and only time this season as they hope to get things on track after a less than stellar first ten games of the season. The Stars come into the Saddledome tonight, on the backend of a back-to-back after beating the Oilers 4-1 last night in Edmonton.

After another disappointing shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, the Flames received more bad news as Jay Feaster announced that Miikka Kiprusoff has been diagnosed a with a grade two MCL sprain and will miss another two weeks.

The acquisition of Joey MacDonald off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings makes a lot more sense now as the Flames had no choice but to add a veteran to give Leland Irving some extra support while Kiprusoff is out.

While MacDonald gives the Flames some good insurance, unless Irving’s play drops drastically, I don’t think we will see much of MacDonald. Irving has played good filling in for Kiprusoff so far (1-1-1 2.62 GAA) and while he is definitely not at Kiprusoff’s level, he has given the Flames a chance to win every night.

It is time for the rest of the team to step up, especially Jarome Iginla and now healthy Mike Cammalleri, who returns to the line-up tonight after missing the past three games.

Iginla has just one goal in the first ten games and many have started to wonder how motivated he is on carrying this team for another season. Cammalleri had been almost invisible in the seven games he played before suffering a lower body injury. He has no goals and simply has not met expectations since coming back to Montreal last January.

When your top two forwards who make a combined 13 million dollars have 1 goal between them in 17 games played, the rate of success is not going to be very high.

The Stars finish their Alberta trip tonight after beating the Oilers last night.

They have been led by age-less Jaromir Jagr, who leads the team in points with 9 in 12 games played. Jagr will play aside the Stars franchise player, Jamie Benn, who after missing the first three games due to a contract holdout is starting to get his game going, averaging a point-per-game.

Kari Lehtonen started in Edmonton last night so there is speculation that Richard Bachman will get the start tonight.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Stars:

1- HUDLER-TANGUAY-CERVENKA                            1- MORROW-BENN-JAGR

2- GLENCROSS-BYRON-IGINLA                                2- ERIKSSON-ROY-RYDER

3- CAMMALLERI-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                      3- SMITH-EAKIN-VINCOUR

4- BEGIN-JONES-JACKMAN                                       4- NYSTROM-FIDDLER-GARBUTT

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-GIORDANO                                1- ROBIDAS-DILLON

2- WIDEMAN-BRODIE                                                 2- GOLIGOSKI-LARSEN

3- SARICH-BUTLER                                                    3- ROME-DALEY

 

1- IRVING                                                                    1- BACHMAN

2- MacDONALD                                                           2- LEHTONEN

 

Extra- SMITH, BABCHUK, COMEAU                          EXTRA: ROUSELL, WANDELL

 

INJURIES:

Flames: G- Miikka Kiprusoff (Knee- IR), C- Mikael Backlund (Knee- IR), LW- Sven Baertschi (Hip Flexor- IR)

Stars: LW- Ray Whitney (Broken Foot- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

10

4

5

9

-1

J. Hudler

7

3

5

8

1

L. Stempniak

10

5

2

7

2

D. Wideman

10

2

5

7

E

C. Glencross

10

4

2

6

-3

 

Stars

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

J. Jagr

12

4

5

9

5

J. Benn

8

4

4

8

3

L. Eriksson

13

4

3

7

-4

D. Roy

8

1

6

7

3

R. Whitney

8

2

4

6

2

 

PP-

Flames: 23.7% (6th)

Stars: 15.9% (21st)

PK-

Flames: 75.0% (24th)

Stars: 85.5% (7th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

13

10

0

3

23

2. ANAHEIM

12

9

2

1

19

3. VANCOUVER

12

8

2

2

18

4. SAN JOSE

13

7

3

3

17

5. NASHVILLE

13

6

3

4

16

6. DETROIT

12

7

4

1

15

7. DALLAS

13

7

5

1

15

8. PHOENIX

13

6

5

2

14

 

9. ST. LOUIS

12

6

5

1

13

10. MINNESOTA

13

6

6

1

13

11. EDMONTON

13

5

5

3

13

12. LOS ANGELES

11

4

5

2

10

13. COLUMBUS

13

4

7

2

10

14. CALGARY

10

3

4

3

9

15. COLORADO

11

4

6

1

9

 

MY TAKE:

I hate to admit it but I’m once again becoming a glass half full person when talking about the Flames this season.

Three wins in the first ten games is not getting you into the playoffs, plain and simple. People will say well they were close in three games with three losses coming in a shootout but the Flames should have never let it get to a shootout in two of those three games.

The Flames entered the season in a tough position with a new head coach and having to learn a new system but in the first ten games, like past seasons, only glimpses of that new high tempo, offensive system has been on display.

The Flames rank 20th in the league in goals per game (2.60) while averaging 3.20 goals against per game, ranking 24th in the West. I do think the Flames have more skill than last season with the additions of Dennis Wideman and Jiri Hudler but are they enough to play a high tempo, offensive style game? Those stats say no, especially with their starting goalie and back bone of their team out with an injury.

Questions have started to focus in on captain Iginla with only one goal in his first ten games. His usual slow start is probably the reasoning behind it but people have started to wonder if it is motivation or ability to do it.

I disagree Iginla has lost a step or does not have the ability to do it anymore. He is in top physical shape and rarely gets injured. I never like to question ones motivation but the Iginla’s desire to win is undeniably his top priority and since watching his interview regarding his contract status at the start of the season, I have wondered if he still believes he can do it in a Flames jersey.

I cannot say I blame him as I want nothing more than to see Iginla raise a Stanley Cup over his head one day.

It is another big game for the Flames tonight as they have to start using their games in hand to their advantage.

The news of Kiprusoff is not going to make anything easier and if things do not start to turn around, I really hope Flames management starts to actually use some intellectual honesty.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon