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What Goes Up - Flames @ Leafs Pregame

Air Canada Center

5:00 PM MT



The last time the Flames visited the Center of the Universe, Olli Jokinen made the highlight reel and the team scored 6 goals...and gave up 9.

There's a good chance, then, that this game will look nothing like that one. The Flames SH% has begun the inevitable crash back down to Earth (13 goals in their last 7 games), but they've managed to put up points thanks to better defensive pay and Kipper's apparent return to form. Toronto, on the other hand, is still digging themselves out of an early season funk that saw them lose 8 in a row. The return of Phil Kessel has improved the club to a significant degree (dude has averaged more than 5 shots a game), but they remain a... "not elite" club.

Brian Burke's off-season plan of making the club "more truculent" hasn't resulted in any kind of real improvement in the Leafs fortunes, although the Kessel and Gustavsson acquisitions seem to be making a mark. "The Monster" will be in net tonight and while his .912 SV% isn't swoon worthy, it's miles ahead of what Leafs fans have become used to after years of Raycroft and Vesa Toskala.

At the other end of the ice, it looks like Brent Sutter is going with Kiprusoff again, proving that when he and Darryl claimed Kipper would be playing 65 games or less his season, they were apparently assuming he was going to be injured for part of the season. Given the fact that McElhinney played exceptionally well in his last start and the team is facing the NHL's 21st ranked offense, one would think this a perfect opportunity to play the back-up. Alas. Somewhere Keenan is taking a swig of bourbon and sighing.