Game Preview: Flames vs Chicago Blackhawks

CALGARY FLAMES (12-14-4 28 points) vs. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (24-4-3 51 points) GAME 31

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames head back on the road tonight, a place they have not been too fond of as of late, currently riding a 9-game win-less streak (0-8-1). Breaking the streak will not come easy heading into Chicago to face the league’s best team. The Blackhawks will finish off rare back-to-back home games after losing last night, 5-4 to the defending champs Los Angeles Kings.

The Flames current 9-game road win-less streak is tied for the franchise’s worst slide (Dec. 1, 1985-Jan. 12, 1986), and playing in Chicago has not been very friendly to the Flames either, having not won in their last 11 visits to the United Center going 0-10-1 during that stretch.

The line-up looks to be the same for the Flames coming off their 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.

The spotlight continues to be on Captain Jarome Iginla, with the trade deadline less than a week away. Iginla scored the game-winning goal against the Blues and many wonder if it will be the last goal he scores in a Flames jersey at the Saddledome.

The Blackhawks will look to get back to their winning ways, looking to avoid their first three losing streak of the season.

The Hawks were handed a bit of back luck in last night’s loss to the Kings after an unfortunate bounce off Johnny Oduya’s helmet lead to Dustin Browns game-winning goal with a little over a minute left in the third period.

Not many are going to feel bad for you when you are the league’s best team but the Blackhawks do not like to lose and will look for some revenge tonight against the Flames.

Corey Crawford was in net last night against the Kings, so look for Ray Emery to get the start tonight. Emery (11-0-0, 2.26 GAA, .916 SV%) was outstanding against the Flames in their last meeting on February 2nd, making 45 saves in a 3-2 OT Blackhawks victory.

Miikka Kiprusoff will get his 6th consecutive start for the Flames

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Blackhawks:

1- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-IGINLA                          1- SAAD-TOEWS-FROLIK

2- HUDLER-BACKLUND-CERVENKA                        2- HAYES-BOLLAND-KANE

3- GLENCROSS-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                     3- BICKELL-SHAW-STALBERG

4- JACKMAN-BEGIN-COMEAU                                  4- BOLLIG-KRUGER-MAYERS

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-BRODIE                                     1- KEITH-SEABROOK

2- WIDEMAN-GIORDANO                                          2- LEDDY-HJALMARSSON

3- SARICH-BUTLER                                                   3- ODUYA-ROZSIVAL

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                           1- EMERY

2- MacDONALD                                                          2- CRAWFORD

 

EXTRA- McGRATTAN, SMITH, BABCHUK               EXTRA- CARCILLO, BROOKBANK

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Blackhawks: RW- Marian Hossa (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), LW- Patrick Sharp (Shoulder- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

30

9

15

24

-11

L. Stempniak

30

7

16

23

7

J. Iginla

30

9

13

22

-6

M. Cammalleri

27

9

13

22

-11

C. Glencross

28

13

8

21

-3

 

Blackhawks

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

P. Kane

31

17

22

39

11

J. Toews

31

16

16

32

17

M. Hossa

28

13

10

23

11

D. Keith

31

2

17

19

10

P. Sharp

24

5

13

18

7

 

PP-

Flames: 21.9% (8th)

Blackhawks: 18.5% (13th)

PK-

Flames: 79.0% (22nd)

Blackhawks: 83.7% (8th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

31

24

4

3

51

2. ANAHEIM

32

22

6

4

48

3. MINNESOTA

31

19

10

2

40

4. VANCOUVER

32

17

9

6

40

5. DETROIT

33

17

11

5

39

6. LOS ANGELES

32

18

12

2

38

7. ST. LOUIS

31

17

12

2

36

8. SAN JOSE

31

14

11

6

34

 

9. NASHVILLE

33

14

13

6

34

10. DALLAS

32

15

14

3

33

11. COLUMBUS

32

13

13

6

32

12. PHOENIX

32

13

15

4

30

13. EDMONTON

31

11

13

7

29

14. CALGARY

30

12

14

4

28

15. COLORADO

31

11

16

4

26

 

MY TAKE:

It is tough to talk about these games before the deadline with so many other, more important headlines following this Flames team.

It seems like there could be big changes coming as the Flames brass MIGHT be coming to grasp that this team is not good enough and are not going to be anywhere near good enough anytime soon.

All eyes are on Iginla, with many wondering if he is traded before or on the April 3rd trade deadline, if it will start a fire sale out of the Flames dressing room.

I think it is more of when Iginla is traded and not whether or not he will be traded. Speculation around what the Flames will receive in return is the talk of the town, but the price is a tough one to nail down.

I feel Iginla still has a lot left in the tank and putting him on a contender like Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago or Pittsburgh would allow Iginla to play with some elite players for the first time in a long time.

If I had to rank the four teams on Iginla’s ‘list’ in order of where he will most likely end up to the least it would be in this order:

Los Angeles

Boston

Chicago

Pittsburgh

To me, Los Angeles could bring the best return for Iginla with assests like Jonathan Bernier or Tyler Toffoli as possibilities coming back to Calgary. Also looking at the Kings roster, I feel Iginla would look awfully good on the Kings second line alongside Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

The Bruins are probably the most desperate team to land Iginla, especially after the Penguins already put a stamp on the trade market, acquiring Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray. Iginla would give the Bruins incredible depth, with their top eight forwards being, Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Iginla, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Nathan Horton and Rich Peverly.

The Blackhawks are much like the Bruins if they were to add Iginla. Iginla would give the Hawks two unbelievable top lines; imagine Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa and then Patrick Kane-David Bolland-Iginla. Overall I would not want to shake things up too much if I was Chicago but the return could be nice if the Blackhawks did decide to make a pitch for Iginla. Brandon Saad?

The Penguins are the least likely to land Iginla with already have added Morrow and Murray. The Pens are reportedly all in this year but I think they have done enough to make their roster even stronger than it already was.

Regardless of where Iginla goes, it will be a very interesting 8 days leading up to the deadline.

It will be tough to see Iggy go but where ever he ends up, let’s hope he gets the Cup he so badly deserves.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon