Flames face soaring Blackhawks
The Calgary Flames are ahead of Chicago in the Western Conference standings, but the Blackhawks are surging and could prove hard to handle at the Saddledome Friday night.
Chicago (16-6-7) is on a roll and looking to extend its longest winning streak in nearly seven years. The Blackhawks have won their last five games.
In their last outing, on Tuesday, the Blackhawks trampled the host Edmonton Oilers 9-2.
Winger Troy Brouwer had two goals and an assist while fellow winger Patrick Kane added a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks, who are 6-0-1 this month.
"We really wanted to come out and have a good first game on the road because we have three [in Western Canada] before Christmas," Brouwer said after his first-ever multi-goal game. "Just get the first one out here and get on a roll for the next two."
Kane, who won the 2008 Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, leads the Blackhawks with 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists).
"It's a fun little run we're on right now," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, who took over from Denis Savard five games into the season.
Flames win 2 straight
The Flames (18-11-3) are in fine form heading into Friday's game. They recovered from a three-game losing skid to win their last two contests.
They defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Wednesday thanks in part to the solid play of goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff. He made 25 saves and finished with a .93 save percentage. Kiprusoff has now won 20 of 29 starts against Minnesota.
Todd Bertuzzi scored the winner three minutes and 48 seconds into the extra period. Daymond Langkow got the assist.
"It was a good veteran move by Langkow," Bertuzzi said. "He made a smart play, dove for it, got it over, and that's obviously a nice two points to go home with."
That goal broke a 19-game scoring drought for Bertuzzi.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla didn't score against the Wild, but he leads the team in goals (16), assists (21) and scoring (37).
Calgary, which is third in the Western Conference, has played fourth-placed Chicago just once this season. The Blackhawks thumped the Flames 6-1 in Chicago on Nov. 9.