01-28-2007, 11:53 AM
Hockey Forum Sniper
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: You tell me
Flames vs. Blackhawks
The Calgary Flames have had trouble winning on the road all season. The Chicago Blackhawks haven't won anywhere lately.
After losing yet another road game, the Flames look to take advantage of the floundering Blackhawks when they continue their season series Sunday.
Calgary (26-17-5), which is concluding a stretch of three straight road games, has just seven wins away from Pengrowth Saddledome. Only three teams in the league don't have more road wins and all of them are last-place clubs - Chicago, Florida and Los Angeles.
Two Flames players, though, have remained consistent regardless of the venue. Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow have been singled out by coach Jim Playfair, who would like the rest of the team to follow their lead.
"I think if you look at him (Huselius) and Daymond Langkow's ability to maintain their game play at home and on the road, it's huge," Playfair said. "It's something the rest of our team has to do a much better job in terms of competing from the start of the game to the end of the game."
Huselius extended his point streak to eight games with an assist on Friday, but the Flames lost 2-1 in a shootout at Minnesota.
Huselius has five goals and six assists during his streak. Twelve of his 20 goals have been on the road.
Langkow didn't pick up a point after recording seven goals and eight assists in his previous 13 games. He leads the team with 31 assists and is second with 50 points, 27 of which have come away from home.
Calgary forward Chuck Kobasew returned Friday after missing eight games with a concussion.
The Flames are 6-3 since top scorer Jarome Iginla suffered a knee injury Jan. 4. He skated Thursday, but is expected to miss at least another week. Iginla had two goals in Calgary's only meeting with Chicago, a 4-1 Flames win on Nov. 22.
The Blackhawks are mired in a 10-game losing streak for the second consecutive season. A loss Sunday would saddle the team with its worst slide since a club-record 12-game losing streak to close the 1950-51 season.
Chicago also has lost eight in a row at home. The team's last victory was on Jan. 2 at St. Louis, and its last win at the United Center was on Dec. 26 over Dallas.
Injuries continue to plague the Blackhawks.
Center Peter Bondra, who was supposed to return after the All-Star break, has missed four straight games. His status for Sunday's contest is uncertain.
In Friday's 3-1 loss to Nashville, defenseman Jim Vandermeer suffered a broken ankle in the opening period after blocking a shot. He is out indefinitely.
Chicago defenseman Adrian Aucoin, meanwhile, consulted with doctors in Toronto on Friday about a groin injury that has kept him out of the lineup for the last six games and 17 overall this season.
The Blackhawks did get some good news Friday as defenseman Jassen Cullimore returned after missing seven games with a shoulder injury.
Chicago, which has converted a league-worst 10.9 percent of its power-play opportunities, went 0-for-4 Friday and is 3-for-42 (7.1 percent) during its losing streak.
"What cost us the game was the ... power play," Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat said after Friday's defeat.
The Blackhawks have totaled only four goals over their last three games.
I think the flames will win this one. 3-1 or 3-2 or something like that.