Langkow quietly leading Flames
Calgary Flames centre Daymond Langkow and Tampa Bay defenceman Dan Boyle are both Canadian, 30 years old and5-11", and both have worn the Lightning jersey in their NHL careers.
But they also have something else in common.
In the midst of career seasons, they were snubbed by fans, league officials and general managers from across the league that selected the rosters for the Jan. 24 all-star game in Dallas.
Boylehas 39 points in 49 games and is considered of the most underrated blue-linersin the game.
Langkow, despite having more points than all but four Western Conference all-stars as of Jan. 17, might have been caught in a numbers game as officials chose Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf and Miikka Kiprusoff ahead of him. No NHL team boasts more than two players on either the West or East squads.
But with 19 goals and 48 points — second only to linemate Jarome Iginla in team scoring — Langkow will look to pad those totals Friday night when Calgary hosts the Anaheim Ducks.
Heset up Kristian Huselius's 20th goal of the season in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Dallas and has been a steady contributor, even as Iginla sits idle with a sprained ligament in his left knee.
Langkow has shown strong two-way game
Since the captain left the lineup seven games ago, Langkow has paced the Flames with four goals, nine points and a plus-eight rating.
Langkow posted 59 points a year ago — his second-best total in nine NHL seasons — but found himself off the top line for various periods as then-coach Darryl Sutter attempted to find the ideal playmaker for Iginla, a right-winger.
Sutter, now the team's full-time GM, acquired forward Alex Tanguay from Colorado in a draft day trade last summer. Instantly, fans and media anointed Tanguay the new centre on the top line.
However, it's Langkow who has displayed a strong two-way game (plus-20) and who hasstood out between Iginla and Huselius. He has earned points in 31 of his 45 starts and is on pace for his first 35-goal campaign and four consecutive seasons with 20-plus.
Defensive play, not underachieving forwards, has been the Flames's biggest problem this season.
After boasting a 2.32 goals-against average in the 2005-06 season, tops in the NHL, winless-in-two Calgary is currently eighth, with a mark of 2.60.
In their last 20 games, the Flames have held the opposition to two or fewer goals only five times andhavesurrendered 61 goals.
Meanwhile, injuries to defencemen Chris Pronger (broken left foot) and Francois Beauchemin (lacerated spleen) might be catching up to Anaheim.
The Ducks suffered their third straight loss on Thursday, 4-1 in Edmonton, and have won just two games in their last nine (2-5-2) but remain atop the Pacific Division standings.
Anaheim holds a 2-1 edge in the season series but was blanked 3-0 in Calgary on Nov. 10.
On the Flames' injury front, Iginla was to have his left knee examined by doctors on Friday.
"Four to five weeks is what [the doctors] are saying," said Iginla, who was injured when pinned awkwardly against the boards in a Jan. 4 game against Florida. "I'm hoping for three weeks, and it'll be three weeks after the all-star break, but that'd be optimistic."
Calgary hits the road for three games, starting Saturday in Edmonton (CBC, 10 p.m. ET).