Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Wild
GETTING BACK ON TRACK AT HOME
The Flames did not finish off their three-game road swing the way they would have liked, falling 5-1 to Vancouver on Saturday night. But dwelling on that performance is something head coach Bob Hartley wants his team to avoid as they prepare for another big divisional tilt tonight.
"This year, we've all said it, it's a special year. You can't look at the last game, whether it's good or bad," he stressed. "Every game is a tough challenge. It's all conference games and you look at the standings - it's jam-packed.
"Every game is a must-win. I don't want to go back to Saturday night's game whether it would have been a good game or a bad game."
The Flames also want to gain some traction on home ice. In five games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary has just one win. With six of their next 10 games being played at home, the team knows how important it is find success in their own barn.
"We have to get wins. Bottom line," blueliner Mark Giordano said. "We have to make this building a tough place to come into and get points."
STREET FEELING MORE COMFORTABLE
Forward Ben Street suited up for his first NHL game on Saturday night, logging 12:24 of ice time while playing on a line with Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka. While he was happy with his play on Saturday, he is feeling a bit more comfortable heading into tonight's divisional clash.
"I tried to not let it sink in too much because I thought that might get me a bit too nervous," he said of his debut. "I did take a few seconds to enjoy it. That was it though. A couple of seconds and back to business.
"I'm still getting my feet wet and I'm still trying to figure out the systems here. There will be a bit of a learning curve but it's nice to have the first one out of the way."
The likelihood of Street centering the Czechs again tonight is high and he is relishing the opportunity to play between such skilled forwards.
"That's all you could ever ask for from an opportunity standpoint," he smiled." It was a great playing with those guys ... they're smart. I learned a lot from just playing one game with those guys. It's a great opportunity for me and I need to make the most of it."
CHANGE ON DEFENCE
The Flames defensive rotation continues as veteran Cory Sarich will slide back into the lineup tonight. He has been a healthy scratch for the last four games after suiting up for the opening five games of the season.
"I don't think that Cory Sarich's game has changed from the first day that he played his first game in this league," Hartley noted. "He's a trooper, he's an in-your-face-kind-of-guy, physical, solid in our zone, good first pass. That's what we expect out of him."
Derek Smith will sit tonight.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"A good team will rebound from a loss like that and turn it around real quick. We have to do that tonight." - Mark Giordano
FLAMES FANTASY HOCKEY TIPS
In the 2011-12 campaign, Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross led the Flames in scoring against the Wild. In six games, both forwards recorded six points with Iginla posting four goals and two assists while Glencross scored three goals and three helpers. Two of the captain's tallies were game-winners.
Iginla is the most successful Flame against the Wild, amassing 64 points (35 goals, 29 helpers) in 67 career games, equating to a .95 points-per-game average. Alex Tanguay trails him with a .80 points-per-game average. In 55 games, the centreman has potted 14 goals and 44 points.
Defenceman TJ Brodie has only played three games against Minnesota in his career but has picked up two points (one goal, one assist). The rearguard scored the game-winner on Nov. 27, 2011.
Winger Lee Stempniak is riding a two-game point streak heading into the bout. He scored in both Columbus and Vancouver and leads the team in goals scored this year with five.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Mark Giordano needs 1 assist for 100.
Curtis Glencross needs 2 goals for 100, 2 assists for 100 and 4 points for 200.
Lee Stempniak needs 2 assists for 150.
Jarome Iginla needs 3 games for 1200.
Mike Cammalleri needs 3 goals for 200.