Game Day: Calgary Flames at Dallas Stars

 

Keep your eyes on Jiri Hudler and Stephane Robidas

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames left winger Jiri Hudler, seen battling Anaheim’s Cam Fowler in a recent game, is off to a hot start this season.
 

Calgary Flames left winger Jiri Hudler, seen battling Anaheim’s Cam Fowler in a recent game, is off to a hot start this season.

Photograph by: Alex Gallardo, AP

Calgary Flames (4-3-2) at Dallas Stars (3-5-0)

6:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

The FAN 960, Sportsnet

THE FLAMES

Keep an eye on

Jiri Hudler — Woke up Wednesday as the third-most productive NHL player. Only Sidney Crosby and Henrik Sedin have garnered more points.

The Lines

* M. Cammalleri S. Monahan J. Hudler

* S. Baertschi M. Backlund L. Stempniak

* C. Glencross T.J. Galiardi D. Jones

* L. Bouma J. Colborne R. Horak

The Pairings

* C. Butler T.J. Brodie

* K. Russell D. Wideman

* C. Breen S.O’Brien

The Goalies

* K. Ramo

* J. MacDonald

The Injuries

* D Mark Giordano (lower body; he did not practise Wednesday), C Matt Stajan (leg, day to day)

THE STARS

Keep an eye on

Stephane Robidas — Undersized but game, the 36-year-old defender, still blocking shots and still hitting, leads the Texans with a plus-four rating.

The Lines

* Ja. Benn T. Seguin R. Peverley

* R. Whitney C. Eakin A. Chiasson

* A. Roussel S. Horcoff V. Nichushkin

* L. MacDermid V. Fiddler

The Pairings

* B. Dillon S. Robidas

* T. Daley Jo. Benn

* K. Connauton A. Goligoski

* S. Gonchar

The Goalies

* K. Lehtonen

* D. Ellis

The Injuries

* C Scott Glennie (knee), LW Erik Cole (unspecified), RW Ryan Garbutt (suspended)

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1. START STREAK — RW Jiri Hudler’s point streak has reached nine games, remarkable when you consider that his linemates are the baby-faced Sven Baertschi and Sean Monahan. According to Calgary GM Jay Feaster, the player, a couple of days after his exit meeting last spring, returned to the rink to chat again with coach Bob Hartley. “He told him, ‘I’m going to be a player for you next year. I’m committed and I’m with you,’ ” said Feaster. “And that’s how he came to camp. It’s just great to see.” Calgary’s point-spree record to start the season is 10 games, Joe Nieuwendyk. The franchise record belongs to Bob MacMillan, who picked up a point in 11 straight games.

2. FLIRTING WITH THE FIRST LINE — Russian teenager RW Valeri Nichushkin, 18, got a surprising boost the other day, working on a line with LW Jamie Benn (who’s averaging a point per game) and C Tyler Seguin (who’s leading the team in scoring). However, the experiment was not revisited Wednesday. “I’ve told Val that that there are times where he’s going to get a look up there, but that line has been going pretty good for us with (Rich Peverley) up there,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “And actually (Nichushkin’s) last two games have been good with the guys he’s playing with. He could have been the difference-maker in the L.A. game. I thought the last two games were the best two games he’s played, and if he plays like that he can be a factor in every game.” Nichushkin has collected one assist, going minus-three in seven appearances.

3. SIELOFF HURT — Recurring hip trouble is sidelining Abbotsford D Patrick Sieloff, a first-year pro. “It’s an aggravation of the same injury he had last season,” said Feaster. “Unfortunately, as part of the treatment of that, he had an injection, then got an infection from the injection. He had to deal first with the infection. So he’s in Calgary working with our guys.” Feaster says the issue is preventable with a proper maintenance regimen.

4. FEELING DRAFTY — Maybe it’s nitpicky the day after the Flames’ big news about sixth-overall pick C Sean Monahan — or maybe it is worth examining at how bad the team’s draft record has been. Here are the results for the 2003-2011 drafting period (success measured by the number of NHL games played) — Montreal, 4,929; Chicago, 4.687; San Jose, 4,658. At the other end of the spectrum — Calgary, 1,984; Tampa, 1,848. Or, looked at another way . . . Montreal’s 67 picks over that span have scored 679 goals. Calgary’s 64 picks, 216 goals.

5. INS, OUTS, WHAT-HAVE-YOUS — Dallas LW Antoine Roussel leads the league with 43 penalty minutes. Leading the league in minors, with nine, is Winnipeg D Dustin Byfuglien . . . Neither Dallas nor Calgary is particularly solid defensively. The former is 28th, with a 3.50 GAA. The latter is 27th, 3.44 . . . Flames’ penalty-killing is dead last, with a 69.0 per cent success rate . . . The Flames are third in blocked shots. Only Edmonton and Vancouver have recorded more. D Chris Butler leads Calgary with 21, good for 22nd overall . . . In the aftermath of Tuesday’s workload, Calgary D Dennis Wideman’s average ice time is now 28:26, leaving him behind only Minnesota D Ryan Suter in that category.

 
 
 
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Calgary Flames left winger Jiri Hudler, seen battling Anaheim’s Cam Fowler in a recent game, is off to a hot start this season.
 

Calgary Flames left winger Jiri Hudler, seen battling Anaheim’s Cam Fowler in a recent game, is off to a hot start this season.

Photograph by: Alex Gallardo, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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