The Flames have taken their opponents to extra time in their past three games, and been victorious in two of them, but none of those games have been against the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackawks.
The Hawks are as dangerous as ever, and with just two losses in their past ten games and a three-game winning streak to their name, they are currently first in the league--holding a one point advantage over St. Louis and Anaheim, with two games in hand on the latter.
Forward Patrick Kane has been instrumental in Chicago's success this season. He has point in 11 consecutive games, dating back to the last time they last played the Flames, including six goals and nine assists. Jonathan Toews hasn't exactly been slacking either, with three goals and six points in his past five contests. Marian Hossa returns to the 'Hawks lineup tonight after missing two games for family reasons, which included Chicago's 2-1 win in Vancouver on Saturday night and their 5-1 stomping of the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Monday.
The Flames came back from being down 1-0 and built a 3-1 lead early in the third period after out-shooting the Panthers 11-7 in the second frame, but a dismal third period where they managed only five shots on goal led to the Panthers tying the game with six minutes remaining. Reto Berra and Sean Monahan eventually won the extra point for the Flames in the shootout, but Calgary can't afford to sit back against a team like the Blackhawks, with or without the lead.
The Flames' November 3rd overtime defeat of the Chicago Blackhawks was Reto Berra's most impressive game of the season to date, as the Swiss rookie stopped 42 shots en route to a 3-2 victory.
Spending too much time in your own zone against the likes of Kane, Toews and Hossa, however, is always a recipe for disaster, no matter how many shots you save or block--and the Flames blocked 26 in that game alone.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for tonight's contest:
Dennis Wideman has been demoted to start tonight after a disappointing outing in Friday's game, where he and Chris Butler were each -3.
Since being re-acquired by the Blackhawks, Kris Versteeg has a goal and four points in six games. Linemate Andrew Shaw has three goals and four points in his past two games. Translation: The Chicago Blackhawks are a good team.
On that note, go Flames!