A pair of matchups with two of the NHL’s top teams put an end to the Calgary Flames’ recent high-scoring ways. They’ll look to get back on track offensively Wednesday night when they face the Dallas Stars, another club that shut them down this season.
The Flames (7-4-1) put together their second three-game winning streak of the season from Oct. 16-24, outscoring opponents 16-8. That run ended abruptly in a 3-2 loss to Northwest Division-leading Colorado last Wednesday, and Calgary suffered a 3-1 defeat to Detroit on Saturday.
The Flames settled for a 3-2-0 homestand, and coach Brian Sutter wasn’t happy with the way it ended, criticizing his top line of captain Jarome Iginla(notes), Curtis Glencross(notes) and Craig Conroy(notes) after the most recent loss.
“I thought Connie had a decent game, but I thought both his wingers never played very well tonight,” said Sutter, whose team plays five of its next six on the road. “The puck doesn’t have legs on it, it isn’t going to come to you. You’ve got to get after it and win battles. I just didn’t think Jarome and Glennie had their better games tonight and that’s the bottom line.”
Sutter put his team through a grueling practice Monday.
“He wasn’t happy after the game (on Saturday) and we knew it was going to be hard today and it was,” Conroy told the team’s official Web site. “He was sending a message to say we’re not doing enough in practice, so obviously a lot of hitting today, a lot of battles.”
Sutter has been generally pleased with the play of Miikka Kiprusoff(notes), who stopped 29 shots Saturday and is expected to make his eighth straight start. The veteran allowed one goal each time in winning his last two matchups with the Stars, although he is 6-10-2 versus Dallas.
The only game Kiprusoff didn’t play this season was Oct. 9 against Dallas, a 5-2 Stars win at the Pengrowth Saddledome in the teams’ first meeting. Curtis McElhinney(notes) was in net for the Flames, who managed only 23 shots against Alex Auld(notes).
The Stars (6-3-5) will be looking to get back in the win column themselves after dropping their last two. Dallas followed a 6-5 shootout loss to Florida on Friday with a disheartening 4-2 defeat at Nashville the next night.
The Stars led by one going into the third period, only to be outscored 3-0 in the final 20 minutes. Dallas was outshot 13-8 in the third, and fatigue may have caught up to the club after the draining game the night before.
“They came out with a lot of sustained pressure, and they scored three hardworking goals,” Auld said after making his second straight start in place of Marty Turco(notes), who was out with flulike symptoms. “I would have liked to come up with some saves to hold the team in it, but I wasn’t able to do that tonight.”
Turco could return Wednesday after the Stars’ three-day break. The veteran, who won his last three starts, is 14-8-1 with two ties and a 1.79 goals-against average versus Calgary. He lost 2-1 to Kiprusoff in each of his last two matchups with the Flames, April 2 and March 18.