Flames This Week 10.11.08
Craig Conroy notched a short-handed goal early in the first frame and the goals kept coming from there. The Flames were leading 5-0 early in the second period, but the Predators clawed their way back to 7-6 with 20 seconds left in the game. Nashville pulled their goalie to try and even the game up, but the Flames who have been excellent penalty killers all season, held them off to pick up the two points.
Conroy ended the night with two goals and an assist, his best performance of the season. He credited the first goal and the confidence it brought for his strong performance. “Even if you're playing rec hockey, you get a goal, you feel a little more confident, you feel better, you have tons of energy, and you just know you're going to get some chances. Sometimes that's all it takes, a goal, a point, a big hit, or something good to happen to you to get you in that mindset.”
The Flames played back-to-back games on the weekend, both losses, with several sick players but coach Mike Keenan didn’t want to use that as a reason for the team’s road woes. “We have some guys with the flu, but we don't want to use that as an excuse.”
The Flames only have two games in the next week so players will get a chance to rest.
Calgary vs. Toronto, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
Love them or hate them, the Toronto Maple Leafs bring out passion in fans all over the country. This is the Maple Leafs first visit to Calgary since January 6, 2006 when the Flames shut them out 1-0.
The Leafs are in the midst of a rebuilding season, but that hasn’t dampened the spirits of those on the team. They’ve been surprising critics and fans alike with a 6-5-4 record. Their last win came on Saturday when they defeated bitter rivals, the Montreal Canadiens 6-3. Nikolas Hagmen had two goals in the affair and looked sharp all over the ice. With six goals this campaign, he’s only second in scoring to Mikhail Grabovski, who has seven.
Rookie defenseman Luke Schenn has been turning heads in his first year. His patience and discipline have impressed head coach Ron Wilson and Schenn has been rewarded with ample ice time. He's averaging 21:18 minutes a night.
The 2008 first rounder is currently leading all rookies in blocked shots with 23 and is second in hits with 35.
The Leafs will also visit Edmonton and Vancouver on their western road trip.
Calgary vs. San Jose, Thursday, Nov. 13, 8:30 p.m. at the HP Pavilion, Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Flames will clash with the Sharks for the first time this season in their four game series.
The Sharks narrowly knocked the Flames out of the playoffs last season in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. There is no doubt that there is still some bad blood between the teams so this will mostly likely be a physically intense game.
The Sharks have been on fire this year, sitting in the top spot in the NHL standings with a 13-3-0 record. Their most recent loss came on Sunday when they fell to the Coyotes 4-2. Ryan Clowe is San Jose’s leading scorer and second in points. He has nine goals to his name and 14 points. Captain Patrick Marleau is the leading the team with 16 points. He already has a hot November, tallying six points.
One matchup to watch for is Cory Sarich and Marleau. Sarich laid the captain out during the playoffs in what many call the hit of 2007-08 season. The Flames defensemen left Marleau bruised and bleeding from the monster hit.
Calgary won three of the four games they played against San Jose last season. Jarome Iginla scored two of the game winners and had four points against the Sharks in the series.
This Week’s Key Numbers
Cory Sarich scored his first goal in 64 games on Tuesday in the Flames 7-6 win. His last goal came on December 9th in Chicago.
Craig Conroy gave the Flames their first short-handed goal of the season in their win over Nashville. Conroy had two goals and an assist in the game.
Miikka Kiprusoff had his first night off of the season on Saturday. Curtis McElhinney took on the goaltending duties against Columbus.
Matthew Lombardi has missed nine games with a shoulder injury and it is unclear if he’ll be back for either of the Flames games this week.