A shower of white hats bid the Flames farewell on Friday night as they set out for a three-game road trip starting tonight in Dallas. The road team is coming in hot after winning two straight games against the Red Wings and Predators, and are now just one point behind the Stars for 13th in the West.
The visitors will be without their starting goalie tonight, as Miikka Kiprusoff stayed behind in Calgary to welcome his second son into the world, but it's not all bad news for the Flames, as Mikael Backlund is listed as a game-time decision. Backlund left the Saddledome on crutches after Friday's game just four games after returning from a sprained knee that kept him out for over a month, prompting some to wonder who he wronged in a past life. But it was later revealed that he sustained only a bone bruise and a small crack in the bone in his right foot after blocking a shot in Friday's contest, and could be good to go as early as tonight.
Backlund has scored a point in three of his four games since returning from injury, so his return to the Flames' lineup tonight would no doubt be beneficial to a team that hasn't won a game on the road in a month's time. Dallas got absolutely crushed on Saturday night with an 8-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice, so they'll be looking to bounce back in a big way, but the Flames have their number so far this season. Calgary beat the Stars 7-4 in a wild one that saw them score four first period goals back on February 13th and then again by a score of 4-3 just five days later in a game in which they came from behind and scored the winner in the third period.
The primary source of the Stars' misery on Saturday night was their discipline; they put the Blackhawks on the powerplay seven times, including twice for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Flames' powerplay is 15th in the league on the road, right in the middle of the pack, so if the opportunities are there for them tonight like they were for the 'Hawks they'll need to make sure they take advantage.
The Flames had an optional skate this morning in Dallas with only 13 players on the ice, so I assume lines will be the same as Friday's game if Backlund plays. If not, perhaps Roman Cervenka will slot back in.
*It's not much help when there are two brothers on a team who both share the same first initial. I'll keep this in mind when I name my future children.
Go Flames Go.