(SportsNetwork.com) – A pair of Western Conference teams heading in the
opposite directions will meet Friday at the Saddledome, as the struggling
Calgary Flames host the Dallas Stars.
The Flames enter tonight on an 0-6-0 slide that has effectively brought the
rebuilding club back to earth. Calgary was one of the biggest surprises of the
season, jumping out to a 17-8-2 mark before falling on hard times over the
last two weeks.
Dallas, meanwhile, was one of the Western Conference’s biggest disappointments
through the first two months of 2014-15, but with two straight wins and
victories in three of its last four, things are looking up for the Stars.
The Stars will try to match a season high in consecutive wins this evening.
Dallas won three in a row once earlier this season, beating Arizona, Los
Angeles and Edmonton from Nov. 20-25.
Dallas hopes to keep heading down the right path tonight when it shoots for a
fourth win in the last five meetings with the Flames. Calgary did pick up a
4-3 shootout win in Dallas when the clubs last met on March 14 of last season,
ending a three-game skid in the series.
Calgary has won four of the last six encounters with the Stars on home ice.
The Stars rode Kari Lehtonen to a win Wednesday in Vancouver, as the club’s
No. 1 netminder turned away all 27 shots he faced for his second shutout of
the season in a 2-0 decision over the Canucks.
“He (Lehtonen) gave us a fighting chance in the first period to win a hockey
game, and the second period we answered the bell by going after them pretty
good,” said Dallas coach Lindy Ruff.
Colton Sceviour and Antoine Roussel provided the offense for the Stars.
Sceviour opened the scoring early in the second period, while Roussel sealed
the victory with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.
Lehtonen will get the start again for the Stars. He is 8-3-2 with a 2.72 goals
against average in 13 career games against Calgary.
Dallas is playing the middle test of a three-game road trip that will end
Sunday in Edmonton. The Stars are 6-7-0 as the guest this season.
Calgary has been outscored by a 21-10 margin during its six-game slide and was
handed a 5-2 loss Tuesday by the visiting New York Rangers. The Rangers scored
the game’s first four goals en route to the easy victory.
Jiri Hudler and Curtis Glencross tallied for the Flames. Karri Ramo took the
loss after yielding four goals on 13 shots in half of regulation time. Jonas
Hiller stopped all nine shots he faced for the remainder.
“I think our focus has to be better. It’s at the right place, but some details
of our game are being forgotten because we want to do too well,” Flames head
coach Bob Hartley said.
Hiller expects to get the start tonight. He is 5-11-1 with a 2.81 GAA in his
career against Dallas.
Calgary is on its longest skid since an 0-5-1 slide from Nov. 5-16 of last
season. The Flames haven’t dropped seven in a row since an 0-6-3 skid from
Jan. 11-28, 2010.
The Flames are 8-5-2 as the host and are wrapping a brief two-game homestand