Scouting the Flames 02.03.09
The Flames embark on a seven-game East coast road trip
After three games at home, the Flames head out to the East coast to play their next seven contests - their longest road trip of the season.
Calgary vs. Ottawa, Tuesday, Mar. 3, 5:30 p.m. at Scotiabank Place, Flames PPV & The FAN 960
Since Cory Clouston took Craig Hartsburg’s spot on the bench as head coach on Feb. 2, the flailing Ottawa Senators have been able to string together some success. They’ve picked up points in eight of their last 13 contests and have pushed themselves into 10th place in the Eastern Conference. A playoff berth, however, is highly unlikely and the team is expected to make dramatic changes before the Mar. 4 trade deadline.
General manager Brian Murray has gone as far to say that every member of the team can be moved if the price is right, including the Sens top scorers Dany Heatley (30 G, 26 A), Daniel Alfredsson (17 G, 38 A) and Jason Spezza (22 G, 27 A). The lineup may be altered greatly before the Flames head into Scotiabank Place on Tuesday.
Two new additions have recently made a difference for the club. Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli were acquired from the New York Islanders on Feb. 20. The two have had an immediate impact. Comrie has scored a goal and an assist in his first four games and Campoli has points in three games since joining the club.
The two clubs have met once this season. The Senators paid the Flames a visit on Dec. 27, falling to Calgary 6-3. Rene Bourque scored his first career hat trick in the victory. Todd Bertuzzi, Andre Roy and Adrian Aucoin also scored for the Flames.
Chris Phillips, Jason Spezza and Alexandre Picard scored for the Senators.
The last time Calgary visited was Oct. 12, 2006 where they posted a shutout in a 1-0 victory. The Flames overall record in Ottawa is 3-5-0-3.
Bertuzzi has had success against the Islanders over his career. In 23 games, the right-winger has notched 7 goals and 6 helpers.
Calgary vs. Philadelphia, Thursday, Mar. 5, 5:00 p.m. at the Wachovia Center, Flames PPV & The FAN 960
With Danny Briere back in the lineup, the Philadelphia Flyers are looking more and more dangerous. The team is 4th in the Eastern Conference with 76 points and the added offense Briere brings will help them pick up even more points as they march towards the postseason.
Jeff Carter leads all Flyers in scoring with 36 goals and 65 points. He’s ranked third in the league in scoring and has six points in his last five games. Carter is coming off a -1 performance in the Flyers 3-0 loss to New Jersey on Sunday.
Joffrey Lupul has recorded five points in his last five games. The Fort Saskatchewan native has 18 goals this season.
Martin Biron has been red hot for the Flyers lately. The goaltender held his ground in the Flyers 3-0 loss on Sunday, posting a .929 save percentage and faced 42 shots. Biron has 19-13-5 record this season. Biron recorded his 25th career shutout on Feb. 25 with a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The Flames haven’t visited the Flyers in just over three years. On Dec. 6, 2005 Calgary fell 1-0 in a shootout. The Flames haven’t been lucky in Philly as their all-time record in the Flyers barn is 15-33-1-3. However, they’ve picked up wins in three of their last five trips there.
In 14 games, Iginla has 7 goals and 5 assists, making him the most productive Flames against the Flyers.
Calgary vs. Carolina, Friday, Mar. 6, 5:00 p.m. at the RBC Center, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
As the regular season winds down, the Carolina Hurricanes are pressing to make sure they make it to the postseason. They picked up seven wins in 13 games during the month of February and show no signs of slowing down.
The Hurricanes are only a point out of a playoff berth. With a 32-27-5 record, they have 69 points to put them at 10th in the Eastern Conference.
Tuomo Ruutu comes into March on a high. The center had a goal and an assist in the Hurricanes loss to the Thrashers on Saturday. He has 17 goals to his name this season, leads the team in hits with 168 and is first on the team in penalty minutes with 63.
Eric Staal is the Hurricanes leading scorer with 27 goals this season. He has five points in his last five games.
Veteran Ray Whitney leads the team in points with 51. He’s netted 18 goals and 33 assists this year. Whitney is three goals shy of 300 on his career.
Cam Ward has pulled his weight for Carolina this season. His GAA is 2.58 and save percentage is .909. He’s ranked eighth in the league in wins with 26.
This contest marks the Flames sixth trip to the RBC Center. The Flames are 1-2-2 in those games but are their last game, on Dec. 14, 2007, was a 4-3 win. Goals for and against are almost equal for the Flames. The Hurricanes have outscored them 15-14 in those five games.
Kiprusoff has collected points in all five career games against the Hurricanes, going 3-0-2.
Calgary vs. Atlanta, Sunday, Mar. 8, 1:00 p.m. at the Philips Arena, Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960
The Atlanta Thrashers are in a dismal position as they head into March. They’re sitting at 14th in the Eastern Conference with only 52 points on the year. The one bright spot for the Thrashers has been an explosion of the offense from their captain Ilya Kovalchuk.
It’s no surprise that sniper Kovalchuk leads the Thrashers in scoring. The left-winger has 34 goals and 37 assists this season and has been on fire lately. In the month of February he has 13 goals and eight assists in 12 games.
"I think he's just playing harder. He wants it- you can see it in his eyes. That's when you know he's going to play a good game. In the last period he took over and every time he touches the puck you see that spark in his eye and you know the other team better watch out,” said head coach John Anderson of Kovalchuk’s play after the Thrashers 5-3 win over the Hurricanes.
Todd White trails Kovalchuk with 17 goals and 56 points.
The Philips Arena hasn’t been a friendly place for Calgary. They’ve never won a game in Atlanta, their all-time record being 0-4-1. The Flames last played the Thrashers on Mar. 13, 2008 where they fell 6-4.
Iginla leads all Flames in goals against the Thrashers. In nine games he’s tallied 7 goals and 8 assists.
Kiprusoff has been superb against Atlanta as well, posting a 2-0-0 record against them over his career.
This Week’s Key Numbers
With 12 more wins, Miikka Kiprusoff can pass Martin Brodeur for first place in wins by a goaltender. Brodeur won 48 of 78 games in the 2006-07 season. There are 20 more regular season games left for the Flames.
In addition to the chance to beat Brodeur’s record, Kiprusoff only needs four more wins to reach the 200 mark.
Jarome Iginla needs four more assists to pass Gary Suter for third place on the Flames all-time assists list.
The Flames will be back in the C of Red on Wednesday, Mar. 18 to battle against the Dallas Stars.