West Coast Hockey Action: Calgary at Edmonton Print
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Saturday, 03 March 2007 16:00
NHL Headline News

Flames Begin Road Trip in Edmonton

Team Page: Calgary :: Edmonton

55% of Bets Placed on Flames -145 | Matchup | Goalies
The Calgary Flames haven't won on the road since a victory in Edmonton five weeks ago. They'll look to end that drought when they visit the Oilers again Saturday.

Calgary (34-21-9) is third in the tightly contested Northwest Division with 77 points, but trails first-place Vancouver by just two and leads last-place Edmonton (30-29-6) by 11. The Flames hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference while the Oilers are 10th.

Oddsmakers have made Calgary -145 money line (NHL Odds)

favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 total goals (View NHL Sports Books).

Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves to shut out Edmonton 4-0 on Jan. 20 and help the Flames improve to 4-2-0 in the season series. That was Calgary's last road win, though, as they have dropped seven in a row with four of those defeats coming in overtime or a shootout.

The Flames are opening a three-game stretch on the road, where they are a league-worst 7-15-8. Calgary, however, enters this contest with some momentum after winning three straight at home, capped by their first shootout victory of the season on Wednesday.

Kiprusoff stopped all three Minnesota shooters and captain Jarome Iginla scored the deciding goal in a 2-1 win over the Wild. The Flames improved to 1-5 in shootouts this season and 3-12 all-time.

"I just went in slowly and tried to shoot it as hard as I could at that point to the glove side," said Iginla, who leads the Flames with 30 goals and 72 points. "Fortunately I was due to see one go in. It's been a while and a tough streak."

Calgary's Robyn Regehr scored with less then five minutes left in regulation to force the extra session, while Kiprusoff made 28 saves and improved to 2-11 in shootouts.

"It's been some tough times, been talked about a lot, but I think I'm going the right direction with it," said Kiprusoff, who is 11-4-2 with a tie and a 1.71 goals-against average against the Oilers - tied for his most wins versus any opponent.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner will likely face an Edmonton squad that has been blanked in back-to-back contests since trading away leading scorer Ryan Smyth to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. The Oilers lost 5-0 to Minnesota on Thursday and have been outscored 12-1 in dropping three straight.

"There is just nothing right with our game right now," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose team has lost seven of nine. "We have to find a way to be better than that. The starting point is to eliminate the five-star bonehead blunders.

"There has been a sense of futility the last two nights. It's frustrating to be in the situation we are in right now. It is going to be hard to battle through it mentally."

Edmonton is also trying to battle through poor special-teams play. The Oilers' penalty-killing unit is among the NHL's best, thwarting 85.4 percent of opponents' chances, but has stopped just 58.8 percent over the last four contests.

Edmonton is 1-for-15 on the power play during that stretch.

Dwayne Roloson is 7-12-0 with three ties and a 2.47 GAA in 22 games against the Flames - his most losses versus any opponent - and was pulled in Thursday's defeat after allowing the first three goals. Backup Jussi Markkanen hasn't been any better against Calgary, going 1-5-0 with a tie and a 3.06 GAA in nine appearances.

Oilers center Marty Reasoner injured his right shoulder in the first period Thursday and is questionable for this contest.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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