Capitals-Flames Preview

The Calgary Flames haven’t had trouble starting games strongly,

but finishing has been their weakness lately.

The Washington Capitals’ problem is the exact opposite.

The Flames and Capitals meet Saturday night in Calgary with each

team hoping to put together a complete effort after losing its

previous game.

Calgary (6-4-0) had its three-game winning streak snapped

Thursday against Colorado, blowing a 3-1 second-period lead and

losing 6-5. The Flames had won their previous 12 games when scoring

five or more goals, last losing 6-5 in overtime at Chicago on Oct.

12, 2009.

It was also the first time all season that the Flames were

outshot. The Avalanche had more attempts on net in each period,

including a 15-3 edge in the third.

While Olli Jokinen scored his first goal of the season, Jarome

Iginla was held to two shots and has totaled three goals in his

last 26 games dating to last season.

“Our best players – outside of Olli – weren’t very good, bottom

line,” coach Brent Sutter said. “You give up six goals in the NHL,

you’re not going to win very many games. When you’ve got a 3-1 lead

in your own building with that much time left, you nail it down.

Good teams, that’s what they do.”

Rookie goalie Henrik Karlsson struggled in his second NHL start,

but Miikka Kiprusoff will likely be back in net against Washington.

Kiprusoff has won four of his last five starts overall and his past

two against the Capitals.

He picked up a 5-4 shootout victory Tuesday against Edmonton,

although the Flames squandered a 4-1 lead in that game.

While the Flames have scored the first goal in six consecutive

games, the Capitals (6-4-0) have accomplished the feat three times

in 10 contests.

“We’re just maybe not ready to play off the bat too good,”

Washington winger Jason Chimera said. “You’ve got to be ready in

this league. You can’t wade into games, you’ve got to dictate the

pace. When we get up, it’s hard to contain us, that’s for sure. So

we’ve just got to work on our first periods and our starts.”

Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said the Capitals appeared to be

“playing in quicksand” for the first period of their 2-1 loss at

Minnesota on Thursday. Washington put a season-low 22 shots on net

and Alex Ovechkin scored the lone goal with 1:36 remaining – his

first goal in six games.

“It was a really disappointing effort, I thought, from our team

for about 50 minutes,” Boudreau said. “You can’t play 10 minutes in

this league and hope to win a game. I thought it was very


Ovechkin said the Capitals appeared sluggish in part because

they played the previous night at Carolina, beating the Hurricanes


“I’m not buying any of this excuse about being fatigued,

emotionally or physically,” Boudreau said. “So I’m just not very

happy with what happened.”

Washington has lost three of five, scoring only one goal in each

defeat during that stretch. The Capitals were the NHL’s

highest-scoring team last season, but they’ve scored four goals or

more twice this fall.

Although Ovechkin has three goals and four assists in four

career games against the Flames, Calgary has won the last two

meetings, including a 5-3 road victory March 28.