Flames-Red Wings Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 04, 2013
The Calgary Flames insist they are a better team than their record indicates. They can prove it by ending their recent road struggles and prevent the Detroit Red Wings from notching a fourth consecutive home victory Tuesday night. Calgary (1-3-2) took a 2-1 lead over Chicago on Jay Bouwmeester's goal with 35 seconds left Saturday before the Blackhawks tied it with 2.3 seconds to go, then handed the Flames at 3-2 shootout loss. Despite an NHL-low four points and losses in both shootout appearances, the Flames remain positive. "We've said it all along that we're a better team," said forward Alex Tanguay, the team points leader with three goals and three assists. "For some reason, when you don't win you find ways to lose, and certainly that was one of those cases." Calgary had a season-high 47 shots, including 24 in its two-goal third period, and limited the Blackhawks to six shots in each period of regulation. "I see many positive signs all over our game, and it's just a matter of collecting a couple of wins and growing a little confidence," coach Bob Hartley said. "If we play every game like we played (Saturday), we're going to turn our season around, that's for sure." Hartley remains optimistic even though the Flames are allowing 4.0 goals per contest and have one victory while playing five of six at home. They must try to get on track with the next three games coming on the road, where they're in the midst of an 0-2-4 stretch going back to last season. Calgary, which last went winless in seven straight road games Jan. 26-Feb. 22, 2007, has dropped seven of nine overall against the Red Wings (4-3-1) and three of four at Detroit. Star winger Jarome Iginla has yet to record a goal in 2013, but he has five with two assists in Calgary's last three visits to Detroit. Flames forward Jiri Hudler has two goals and three assists in three games after missing the first three contests while on bereavement leave. The veteran now makes his return to Detroit, where he spent his first seven NHL seasons and posted at least 37 points in each of the last four before signing a four-year deal with Calgary over the summer. The Red Wings have totaled 14 goals, including five on 19 power-play chances, during a three-game winning streak at Joe Louis Arena that followed a 2-1 home-opening loss to Dallas on Jan. 22. However, they are looking to rebound after Saturday's 4-2 defeat at Columbus. Detroit has been outscored 15-7 in four road games (1-2-1), going 0 for 22 on the power play. Rookie Damien Brunner scored his fourth goal in six games Saturday and Johan Franzen added his second, but the Red Wings allowed more than three goals for the first time since a season-opening 6-0 loss at St. Louis. "They had more energy, they played better and they got better and better as the game went on, and we got worse and worse," said coach Mike Babcock, whose team was coming off a 5-3 win over the Blues a night earlier. Jimmy Howard had his worst performance since the season opener but has a 2.35 goals-against average while winning seven of eight against the Flames. The lone defeat during that span came at home, 4-1 on Nov. 3, 2011. While Detroit could be without injured defenseman Brendan Smith (shoulder), it might get some help along the blue line if former Flame Ian White returns after missing the last five games with a leg injury. Two of White's seven goals last season came against Calgary.
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