Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Blackhawks
Notes from the Flames pre-game skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome
CONFIDENCE IN NET
The Flames will turn to Reto Berra in net tonight and the Swiss goaltender's teammates were singing his praises after practice today.
"He's a big guy who has a competitive edge to his game," Mike Cammalleri stated. "He gets in front of a lot of pucks and makes some outstanding saves that we've got to see. He's been good - he's been really good."
Bench boss Bob Hartley has seen Berra play for a few years due to his time coaching in Switzerland and loves the progression he has seen from the 26-year-old over the last three and a half weeks.
"I'm really happy with what Reto is bringing to us but I think he has even more to offer. More is to come. Once he gets comfortable knowing the shooters, knowing the styles of teams. That's all new stuff for him.
"He deserves lots of credit but also, Clint Malarchuk deserves lots of credit. The way that he works with Karri Ramo, Reto. I think that we're dealing with two guys with limited NHL experience and both guys are doing quite well."
Berra's first game - and first victory - came against the Blackhawks on Nov. 3. He made 42 saves in the win and made a statement in the Flames locker room.
"He was composed, he made the stops when we needed him to and he played puck really well," Kris Russell said of Berra's NHL debut. "It was a well-deserved win for him because he was probably the best player on the ice."
A MEASURING STICK
The Chicago Blackhawks are 17-4-4 this year and, as of Wednesday morning, are the best team in the NHL with 38 points. The Flames feel that tonight's game is a great measuring to stick to see where they stand amongst the top team in the league.
"They deserve that respect and they're the top dogs, they won the Championship," Cammalleri explained. "They're ... going to bring out the best in teams and that should be the case tonight."
Hartley confirmed TJ Galiardi will not play tonight. The forward suffered back spasms on Monday and has not been able to skate since.
"He's still seized up," Hartley explained.
Flames captain Mark Giordano hit the ice on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a broken ankle in late October. If his recovery goes smoothly, he should be able to return to the lineup in mid-to-late December.
VS. THE BLACKHAWKS
All-time vs. the Blackhawks: 62-63-26-5
All-time vs. the Blackhawks in Calgary: 35-27-13-3
Last 10 games vs. the Blackhawks: 4-5-1
Last 10 games vs. the Blackhawks in Calgary: 4-4-2
The Flames have faced Chicago once this season, upending the Blackhawks in overtime, 3-2, on Nov. 3. Cammalleri, Curtis Glencross and Russell (GWG) scored in the victory.
"It's a little reminiscent of a guy who used to play in the net in Calgary. That's nice for everybody." - Cammalleri comparing Berra's highlight reel saves to that of former Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
TJ Galiardi needs 7 points for 100.
Mikael Backlund needs 8 games for 200.
David Jones needs 9 games for 300.
Chris Butler needs 10 games for 300.
Derek Smith needs 13 games for 100.
Kris Russell needs 13 games for 400.
Tonight's game can seen on TSN at 8:00 PM MST. Sportsnet 960 The Fan will carry the radio broadcast.