NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 24th (All times eastern)
Calgary Flames (8-11-1) at New Jersey Devils (6-13-2), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Neither the Calgary Flames nor the New Jersey Devils have gotten their season off to a desirable start. One team will pick up a much- needed win this evening, when the Devils aim for a third straight victory at the Prudential Center and the Flames try for their first triumph on a five- game eastern road trip.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons last year, the Flames were hoping to get off to a strong start in 2010-11, but have lost 12 of their first 20 games and sit fourth in the Northwest Division ahead of only the Oilers.
Captain Jarome Iginla has struggled offensively for his club, netting just three goals in the first 17 games. However, he has six in his past three and netted the lone Calgary goal in Monday's 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
"It was a good, physical game, and it was a solid road game, but you've got to win," Iginla said after posting his 450th career goal. "We've got to get results."
Miikka Kiprusoff gave up two goals on 24 shots in his 10th straight start as the Flames fell to 2-8-1 in their last 11 games and 0-1-1 on a five-game road trip that began with an overtime setback in Detroit on Sunday and still features stops in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Calgary has lost four straight on the road overall.
Matt Stajan notched an assist for a sixth straight game, but also left the contest in the third period after absorbing a hard and high hit from New York blueliner Marc Staal. He is questionable for this game, as is defenseman Robyn Regehr after he sat out Monday's game with a knee injury.
Olli Jokinen, though, is eligible to return from a three-game suspension that was handed down after his crosscheck to the head of Phoenix's Wojtek Wolski a week ago. Jokinen has two goals and six assists this season.
While the Flames hope to receive a boost with Jokinen's return, the Devils could again be without goaltender Martin Brodeur and captain Jamie Langenbrunner. Brodeur is expected to rest his bruised right elbow for two weeks, while Langenbrunner has missed the last five games with a neck injury that has him day-to-day and questionable for tonight.
The Devils got along okay without their stars on Monday as they picked up just their second victory in seven games with a 5-0 blanking of Washington. After winning their second straight Atlantic Division title last season, New Jersey sits 14th in the Eastern Conference and just two points ahead of the last- place Islanders.
After scoring just three goals over a three-game losing streak, New Jersey matched that total in the first period on Monday. Patrik Elias got the run started with a power-play goal, Jason Arnott followed with the first of two tallies on the night and rookie Mattias Tedenby scored on his first career penalty shot to cap the burst.
"He skates so well that he makes something happen each time he's out there," said New Jersey head coach John MacLean about the 19-year-old rookie Tedenby.
Elias and Tedenby also notched assists and Johan Hedberg made 30 saves for his first shutout of the season and 19th of his career, which came in his 300th career game.
Defenseman Mark Fayne made his NHL debut in the victory, the ninth player to do so this season, which is a club record.
After going winless over their first seven home games this year (0-5-2), the Devils have picked up two straight wins at the Prudential Center and hope to pick up a third victory in Calgary's last four visits to the Garden State.
The Flames notched a 5-3 victory at home in the lone meeting between the clubs last year to snap a two-game series slide. Kiprusoff made 22 saves and is 1-3-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average in his career versus the Devils, while Iginla has five goals and 12 points in 15 games against them.
Hedberg is 2-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in his career when facing Calgary.
Flames head coach Brent Sutter will be facing the Devils for the first time since stepping down as their bench general on June 9, 2009, citing a need to spend more time with his Alberta-based family. He was hired by the Flames two weeks later.
11/24 10:51:38 ET