Hurricanes hope to keep surging vs. Flames
FLAMES (18-20-4) at HURRICANES (20-15-6)
TV: SNET-W (HD)
Last 10: Calgary 4-5-1; Carolina 5-3-2
Season series: This is the only meeting between these teams on the 2010-11 schedule. Calgary won last season’s lone matchup, on Feb. 3, 2010, as Curtis Glencross recorded his first career hat trick in a 4-1 victory on home ice. Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves.
Big story: The Hurricanes will be looking to an extend a 5-0-2 run that has drawn them to within three points of the Canadiens for eighth in the Eastern Conference. They're also just five points behind the Southeast Division rival Thrashers after a 4-3 overtime win against Atlanta on Sunday.
Flames: Consistent at least in its inconsistency, Calgary's last 10 games have consisted of a pair of three-game losing streaks sandwiched around four straight wins. This is the start of a four-game road trip in which the Flames will try to make up some ground in the West. They last played on Friday, letting a two-goal lead slip away in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Red Wings. Glencross scored twice and added an assist in a losing effort.
"(A 4-2 lead) should be (safe), but you're playing against a good team," he told the Calgary Herald. "Their goalie made a few key saves, but we played a pretty good game overall, and we deserved two points out of that."
Three of Carolina's last four games have been decided in overtime, and while the Hurricanes had to settle for a single point in games against the Panthers and Rangers, they came out on the right side of the final result against the Thrashers thanks to Erik Cole. He scored 2:09 into overtime, making up for a play earlier in the game where he had a goal wiped out and drew an interference penalty.
"Ever since Dec. 1 we've been playing pretty good," forward Brandon Sutter said. "Now we're halfway through and we've got a bit of a lead on a couple of teams that are ahead of us in games played. We've just got to keep winning."
Who's hot: Tim Jackman
of the Flames had 3 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak that was snapped against the Red Wings. ... Jeff Skinner has 5 goals in as many games for the Hurricanes. Cole has 3 goals in the last two games. Tuomo Ruutu has 3 goals and 10 assists over his last eight games. Eric Staal has 2 goals and 3 assists during a five-game points streak.
Calgary forward Alex Tanguay
is day-to-day with flu-like symptoms. Forwards Daymond Langkow
(neck) and Raitis Ivanans
(concussion) and defenseman Steve Staios
(upper body) are on injured reserve. Forward Tom Kostopoulos
is starting a six-game suspension for a hit on Brad Stuart that left the Detroit defenseman with a broken jaw.
Carolina expects to get Jussi Jokinen back from an upper-body injury that cost him six games. Goalie Cam Ward, who dressed for the last two games but did not play while nursing a lower-body injury, is also expected to be ready to go. Forward Ryan Carter (upper body) is day-to-day, while forward Jiri Tlusty (arm) is on injured reserve.
Flames defenseman Anton Babchuk
had 1 goal and 2 assists against the Red Wings for his first multi-point game since he was acquired from the Hurricanes. ... Staal and Sutter each won 66.7 percent of their faceoffs against the Thrashers, season-highs for both players.
Kostopoulos was traded with Babchuk to Calgary on Nov. 17 in exchange for Ian White and Brett Sutter. His suspension costs him a chance to be in the lineup against his former team, and the veteran grinder disputed the length of his punishment.
"I'm extremely disappointed in the League's ruling as I believe I have not done anything illegal," Kostopoulos said. "I'm sorry that Brad was hurt on the play and I hope he returns to play soon, but it was never my intention to injure him and I definitely did not target the head. I maintain that I delivered a legal check to an opponent playing the puck. While I am upset with the League's decision, I will serve the suspension in preparation for my return to the lineup to help my team."