Penguins shoot for sixth straight against Flames
FLAMES (9-11-2) at PENGUINS (14-8-2)
TV: SNET-W (HD), FSN-P (HD)
Calgary 3-5-2; Pittsburgh 8-1-1
Season series --
This is the only meeting between the clubs this season.
Big Story --
The Flames are looking to cap a five-game road trip with their second straight victory. They came back to beat red-hot Philadelphia in a shootout on Friday after losing in a shootout at New Jersey on Wednesday and falling in regulation at the Rangers on Monday. Pittsburgh is also hoping to keep a good thing going. The Penguins won Friday for the fifth straight time. Sidney Crosby
extended his point-scoring streak to 11 games in the 2-1 win over Ottawa with an assist on Evgeni Malkin
's goal. Crosby has 9 goals and 13 assists during the streak.
Maybe Friday's win can catapult the Flames back into contention. They started the day 14th in the Western Conference and on a 2-8-2 slide, but Steve Staios scored in the third period and both Niklas Hagman and Rene Bourque converted in the shootout for the win. Calgary has been playing some decent hockey lately and finally got rewarded for it in Wells Fargo Center, a very tough building in which to be a road team. Penalties were still a concern, as the Flames were called for six minors. They actually got lucky in overtime when Chris Pronger's unsportsmanlike minor erased a would-be winning power-play goal from Mike Richards. Mark Giordano's holding the stick minor gave the Flyers a power play 2:43 into the OT.
Crosby is on an absolute tear, and not coincidentally so are the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury
has a lot to do with it, too. He played yet another strong game in the 2-1 win over Ottawa. Fleury made a season-high 43 saves to improve his record to 7-0-1 in his last eight starts. Hey, the Penguins are 7-0-1 in the last eight as well. Coincidence? Nope. Fleury had a slow start and it appeared Brent Johnson
had wrested the No. 1 job away from him, but Penguins coach Dan Bylsma kept insisting Fleury was the unquestioned No. 1 on the team and now we know for sure that he is.
"(Fleury) has been unbelievable the last few games," said Penguins defenseman Alex Goligoski
, who scored the power-play winner Friday.
Who's Hot --
It's been the Crosby and Fleury show in Pittsburgh, but Tyler Kennedy
joined in with a pair of assists in Friday's win. … The Flames haven't exactly been lighting it up lately, but Bourque had a shootout goal against the Flyers and the Flames lone goal against the Devils. Miikka Kiprusoff has stopped 56 of 60 shots in his last two starts after allowing five goals in a loss at Detroit last Sunday.
Injury Report --
The Penguins are still waiting for Jordan Staal
(broken hand) to get on the ice this season. He's at least on the mend for the second time. … Flames center Matt Stajan has missed two games since being on the wrong end of a Marc Staal open-ice hit this past Monday at Madison Square Garden.
Stat Pack --
Along with his 7-0-1 record in the last eight games, Fleury has a 1.60 goals-against average. He has allowed two or fewer goals in six of the eight games, including a 1-0 win over Buffalo on Wednesday. … The Penguins on Friday improved to 7-2-1 this season when they are tied after two periods.
Puck Drop --
"I'm still playing the same way I did. I'm just a little more relaxed," Fleury said following Friday's victory. "Things are going well. We're winning games and the guys are helping me out. The team's playing good, they're not giving up scoring chances, and that helps a lot. We're doing all right."