Game Preview: Flames vs San Jose Sharks

CALGARY FLAMES (8-8-4 20 points) vs. SAN JOSE SHARKS (11-6-4 17 points) GAME 21

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames welcome the Sharks to the Dome for the first time, for their second match-up of the season. They two combatants opened the season against each other as the Sharks defeated the Flames by the score of 4-1. The story for tonight’s game is the return of Miikka Kiprusoff, who will get his first start since going down with a knee injury on February 5th.

The Flames have been 'consistently inconsistent' this season but if there is one thing that could turn the tide and help the Flames finally get on the right track, it is having a healthy Kiprusoff.

Joey MacDonald and co. did a decent job filling in for Kiprusoff but the Flames rank 28th in the league, allowing an average of 3.25 goals per game. Not to put it completely on the goalies shoulders but having Kiprusoff as the last line of defense gives the Flames the insurance they need that will hopefully see them allow less goals against.

The Flames took advantage of a tired Canucks team on Sunday and while the Canucks did not play their worst game, the Flames did their job and got the two points with a 4-2 victory.

The Flames will once again welcome a team to the Dome coming in on the back-end of a back-to-back as the Sharks were in Vancouver last night, winning 3-2 in a shootout.

After getting off to a 7-0-1 start, things have slowed down for the Sharks, going 4-6-3 since then.

While the Flames have had trouble keeping pucks out of their net, the Sharks have surprisingly, struggled to put the puck in the net. The Sharks rank 28th in league scoring, averaging just 2.19 goals a game. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau once again lead the Sharks in points and goals but the Sharks lack secondary scoring.

After Antti Niemi started last night in Vancouver, Thomas Greiss is expected to get the start tonight against the Flames.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Sharks:

1- HUDLER-CERVENKA-IGINLA                                1- KENNEDY-MARLEAU-PAVELSKI

2- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-BAERTSCHI                 2- COUTURE-THORNTON-KEARNS

3- GLENCROSS-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                     3- SHEPPARD-GOMEZ-CLOWE

4- BEGIN-COMEAU-McGRATTAN                             4- BURISH-HANDZUS-DESJARDINS

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-GIORDANO                               1- STUART-VLASIC

3- WIDEMAN-BRODIE                                                2- IRWIN-BOYLE

3- SMITH-BRODIE                                                      3- MURRAY-BRAUN

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                            1- GREISS

2- MacDONALD                                                           2- NIEMI

 

EXTRA- SARICH, JACKMAN, BABCHUK                   EXTRA- GALIARDI, DEMERS

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Mikael Backlund (Knee- IR), C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Sharks: D- Brent Burns (Lower Body- IR), RW Tommy Wingels (Upper Body- IR), RW- Martin Havlat (Lower Body- Day-to-Day)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

20

6

11

17

-7

M. Cammalleri

17

8

8

16

-4

J. Iginla

20

6

10

16

-2

L. Stempniak

20

6

9

15

4

J. Hudler

17

4

11

15

E

 

Sharks

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

J. Thornton

21

4

18

22

4

P. Marleau

21

12

6

18

-1

L. Couture

21

8

8

16

3

J. Pavelski

21

7

9

16

2

D. Boyle

19

3

7

10

-5

 

PP-

Flames: 21.3% (7th)

Sharks: 17.4% (13th)

PK-

Flames: 78.6% (22nd)

Sharks: 87.5% (4th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

23

20

0

3

43

2. ANAHEIM

21

15

3

3

33

3. VANCOUVER

22

11

6

5

27

4. LOS ANGELES

21

12

7

2

26

5. SAN JOSE

21

11

6

4

26

6. DETROIT

23

11

8

4

26

7. PHOENIX

22

11

8

3

25

8. DALLAS

22

11

9

2

24

 

9. ST. LOUIS

22

11

9

2

24

10. MINNESOTA

22

11

9

2

24

11. NASHVILLE

23

9

9

5

23

12. EDMONTON

22

8

9

5

21

13. CALGARY

20

8

8

4

20

14. COLORADO

21

8

9

4

20

15. COLUMBUS

23

7

12

4

18

 

MY TAKE:

It is great to see Kiprusoff back from injury and even though some people were critical of his play before he went down to injury, I feel if he had not got injured, the Flames would probably have 23-24 points.

Kiprusoff sounds like he worked hard to get back from his knee injury and will ready for game action.

I have liked the look for the Flames line-up the last couple of games, especially Sven Baertschi playing alongside Mike Cammalleri and Alex Tanguay.

Baertschi played a solid game on Sunday against the Canucks and made a couple of outstanding plays defensively.

Hopefully it is the classic cliché for Baertschi, take care of your own end and good things will happen offensively. I feel he is just one or two bounces away from getting his first goal of the season and breaking out offensively.

The Flames arch enemy this season has been the .500 mark. At 8-8-4 and getting close to the midway point of the season, if the Flames do not start to improve their record, getting over and away from .500, there will be no playoff talk around the water cooler.

Their time is now, especially with Kiprusoff back between the pipes.

 

 

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