Flames vs. Red Wings Preview
DETROIT, MI - Although they're wallowing near the bottom of the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames are brimming with confidence after easily beating the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Building on that victory won't be easy, however, as the Flames open a season-high five-game road trip Sunday against the West-leading Detroit Red Wings.
Calgary (8-10-0) missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2002-03 and now has the second-fewest points in the conference, but the team took a big step in turning around its season with Friday's 7-2 win over Chicago.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Red Wings –220 money line favorites in Sunday's game against the Flames. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 82% of more than 63 bets for this game have been placed on the Red Wings -220.
Jarome Iginla notched a hat track to double his goal total and David Moss added a goal and two assists for the Flames, who recorded their highest-scoring game since a 7-5 win over Phoenix on Feb. 14, 2009.
"There were some good bounces," said Iginla, who had one goal in his previous nine contests. "It does feel good. We're going to keep going and keep believing that bounces are coming for our whole group."
Calgary was in need of a victory to restore its confidence after entering play Friday having lost three straight and seven of eight. One of those defeats was a 2-1 home loss to the Red Wings on Nov. 3.
"It just seems every year there's always a team or two that nobody thought has a chance to regain some momentum, and they climb back up and they make the playoffs," Iginla said. "This year we feel that can be us, but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us."
It could be tough, however, with five road games in seven days. The Flames lost three times on a four-game trip earlier this month, and they have dropped three in a row to the Red Wings - two this season. They've never lost four straight in this series.
Calgary heads east after this contest to face the New York Rangers, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
"We need to make up some extra ground," said Alex Tanguay, who had three assists against the Blackhawks. "(Friday) was a good example of how we have to play. Let's remind ourselves to play the same way on the upcoming road trip."
While the Flames start their trek in Detroit, the Red Wings, 8-1-2 at Joe Louis Arena, conclude a season-high six-game homestand.
Detroit (12-3-2) outscored opponents 19-8 in winning the first four of this stretch before suffering a 4-3 overtime loss to Minnesota on Friday. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist, but Danny Cleary's six-game goal-scoring streak came to an end for the Red Wings, who outshot the Wild 44-27.
"I thought we played a good game," coach Mike Babcock said. "We did lots of good things, we were right on top of them, but the puck didn't go in the net when we had our opportunities and it went in the net for them."
Jimmy Howard had 23 saves in losing for just the second time in 11 games. Howard has been between the pipes for both games against the Flames this season, posting a 1.50 goals-against average.
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 31 shots Friday, has been on the losing end in both games in this series, recording a 3.02 GAA.