The Flames and Red Wings will play each other for the last time as conference rivals tonight in a game that is also the second-to-last game the Flames will play at the Scotiabank Saddledome this season and which could very well be one of the last ones for a few current members of the Flames' roster, including Miikka Kiprusoff.
Speculation that Calgary's erstwhile starting netminder, who is the last remaining member of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals team, will retire at the end of this season continues to ramp up, as the 36-year-old has received less playing time in favour of Joey MacDonald recently and the schedule winds down for the Flames and other teams who will miss out on the post-season this spring.
After April 30th, goaltender KHL goaltender Karri Ramo, who the Flames acquired the rights to in the deal that sent Rene Bourque to Montreal for Mike Cammalleri, can be signed by the Flames. So even if Kiprusoff does not plan on officially announcing his course of action to the public until after the Flames' final game on April 26th, the team's course of action with regard to their haste in signing Ramo could be an indication of the path Kipper has chosen.
Roger Millions tweeted earlier that Bob Hartley has confirmed Kiprusoff will also start for the Flames on Friday night against the Anahiem Ducks, so it seems that a proper send-off in the Flames' last home game of the season could be in order then.
In other lineup news for the home side, Matt Stajan will play tonight after missing several games with an upper body injury following a hit in Calgary's 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche two weeks ago. Roman Cervenka will sit out in order to allow for the Flames' rookie bunch to continue showing what they're made of before the season's end.
The Red Wings are in a bit of a precarious position in the Western conference standings; ever since the Central division became more competitive with the likes of St. Louis and Chicago rising to the top, Detroit has had to fight for its spot in the final eight, and at the moment they are tied with the *gulp* Columbus Blue Jackets with 47 points. They do have a game in hand, however, so a win tonight would allow them to put a little more distance between themselves and the suddenly surging BJs.