… This is the third of four games between these two teams. The Wings won the first two meetings, 4-2 on October 21st and 2-1 on November 3rd. After playing them three times in the first two months, the Wings won’t see the Flames again until January 7th.
… Since the 3rd, the Flames are 2-4-0, with losses to Minnesota, Phoenix (twice) and San Jose, and wins over Colorado and Chicago. They beat the Blackhawks 7-2 in their last game, Friday night. This game kicks off a 5-stop road trip for the Flames.
… The win over Chicago was notable not only for being the Flames’ first home win over the Blackhawks since 2006, but because Jarome Iginla had a hat trick, doubling his goal total on the season in one fell swoop. If that’s a sign of his awakening, the Wings will need to be on top of things tonight.
Reports out of Calgary say Iginla was informed “in recent days” that he won’t be asked to waive his NMC. If that notification preceded the Chicago game, the source of his outburst may be right there. Maybe he’s comfortable after weeks of trade rumors.
… Noted disappointment Olli Jokinen is out tonight due to suspension for this cross-check on Phoenix’s Wojtek Wolski. In addition to Jokinen, the Flames will be without Adam Pardy (shoulder), Daymond Langkow (neck), Ryan Stone (knee), Ales Kotalik (knee) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion), but for different reasons obviously.
… Per the Calgary Herald, the Flames lines and pairings for tonight:
Kostopoulos and Babchuk are newest additions to the Flames after a trade with the Hurricanes this past week. The trade sent GM Darryl Sutter’s son Brent to the Hurricanes.
… Miikka Kiprusoff should get the start for the Flames tonight.
… The Wings are 5-1-1 since they last saw the Flames. They’d won four in a row before losing to the Wild Friday night 4-3 in overtime.
… Patrick Eaves’ goal Friday night may save him from watching the game on the stationary bike, despite it being his turn to sit out. Babcock wouldn’t commit one way or the other on the Miller/Eaves question yesterday, which could bode well for Patrick.
… Khan has the lines and pairings they used in practice:
Draper worked in on the second line.
… Jimmy Howard will start again, as Chris Osgood isn’t scheduled to return to practice Tuesday, after the team’s day off.
… The Wings have had trouble starting on time their past two games. It worked out alright in the end Wednesday night due to a third period explosion against the Blues, but resulted in a loss Friday against the Wild. The Flames are looking to make a statement on this trip, so a slow Detroit start won’t be a good thing. The Wings need to find a way play the way they did on the 3rd: a complete effort from start to finish.