Panthers vs. Flames
Calgary, Canada - Opening the season with a three-game western Canadian road trip has not been easy for the Florida Panthers.
They hope to conclude that trip with a rare victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Flames –160 money line favorites for Thursday's game against the Panthers. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 58% of more than 624 bets for this game have been placed on the Flames -160.
Florida has been competitive in one-goal losses at Edmonton and Vancouver, but the Panthers have managed three goals on 70 shots in those contests. The club ranked near the bottom of the league with 208 goals while missing the playoffs for a ninth straight season in 2009-10.
"We've strung together six good periods in two tough buildings and don't have anything to show for it, so that's a little disappointing," said coach Peter DeBoer, whose team is 0 for 8 on the power play. "(However), I like the way we're playing."
Marty Reasoner, who had four goals in 80 games with Atlanta last season, has two already for the Panthers. Rostislav Olesz scored in Monday's 2-1 loss at Vancouver.
Stephen Weiss, who led the team with a career-high 28 goals and 60 points last season, has yet to record a point. He had an assist during Florida's 2-1 home loss to Calgary in the teams' last meeting Feb. 5.
Florida is mired in a 1-2-2 stretch against the Flames, though that victory came in its last trip to Calgary, 3-2 in a shootout Dec. 12, 2008.
Tomas Vokoun, who made 35 saves in that game, has a 1.97 goals-against average while going 12-4-1 with three ties against the Flames. He could be back in net after making 33 saves against the Canucks.
Former Panther Niklas Hagman had a goal in Calgary's 3-1 win over Los Angeles on Sunday. Hagman, who played his first 3 1/2 seasons with Florida, has five goals and two assists in eight games against the Panthers.
Though Calgary split its first two games, the Flames have yet to receive a point from their top line of Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay and former Panther Olli Jokinen.
"You're best players need to be your best players," coach Brent Sutter told the Flames' official website. "When that happens, it gives you a pretty good chance to win and succeed. We have to be more than a one-line team. I'm not in a situation right now, after Game 2, panicking over it but I also know that we certainly need production from our top guys. As long as they continue to push through, to continue to work on things to make it happen, it'll sort itself out."
Iginla has four goals and one assist in his last five games versus Florida.
After being a healthy scratch in the Flames' 4-0 season-opening loss at Edmonton, 39-year-old Craig Conroy scored the deciding goal against the Kings.
"You just want to prove that you can help the team and you can do some good things," said Conroy, who has five assists versus Florida.Miikka Kiprusoff, who has stopped 50 of 55 shots through two games, has yielded four goals on 103 shots while going 3-0-1 against the Panthers.