Calgary Flames (20-20-5) at Montreal Canadiens (25-17-3) – January 17, 2011
A rare visit for the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre comes tonight where they will face Montreal in the first of two games this season. The last time the Flames were in town – Nov. 10, 2009 – Miikka Kiprusoff shut out the Habs to post a 1-0 victory. Let’s hope the Habs offence, which exploded for three goals in the first period against the Rangers Saturday night, will put up some numbers on the scoreboard.
Calgary, despite being in 14th place in the Western Conference, is hoping to get into playoff contention and are just seven points out of accomplishing it. They’ve been surging ahead recently, going 6-2-2 in its last ten games. Montreal is 5-4-1 in that span, but is coming off some excellent comeback wins and seem to have righted the ship after that disastrous road trip. In the Eastern Conference standings, Montreal needs just two points to move past the Rangers, and have two games in hand on New York.
Montreal will likely face Kiprusoff again, given that he’s won his last three against the Habs, with a 1.67 GAA. Alex Auld gets the nod for the Habs, his first home start of the season. He is on a personal 2-game winning streak and hasn’t lost in over a calendar month.
The power play has been a bright spot for the Canadiens recently, going 7-for-24 in their last seven games. Calgary’s PP has not fared as well, going 2-for-26 in their last eight contests. In penalty killing, Montreal is ranked 2nd with 86.3%, while Calgary is ranked at 22nd with 80.6% efficiency.
Former Canadien Tom Kostopoulos will not be on the ice facing his old team as he is still serving a six game suspension for his January 7 hit that broke the jaw of Detroit’s Brad Stuart. James Wisniewski and Benoit Pouliot also seem destined to miss tonght’s game, both being afflicted with a nasty virus.
Game time is at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on RDS, TSN-Alternate, as well as Sportsnet West.