Stars Shoot for First Win
STARS (0-0-2) at FLAMES (4-0-0)
Season series -- It's the first meeting of the season. The teams split four low-scoring games last season, with Dallas winning the first two games 3-1 and the Flames winning the next two by identical 2-1 scores. It was the third consecutive season in which the teams split the season series.
Big Story -- The Flames, usually slow starters, are trying for the first 5-0-0 start in franchise history. They figure to get a roaring welcome at the Pengrowth Saddledome after Thursday's 4-3 shootout win at Edmonton -- their second road victory against their hated rival in less than a week. The only other time in team history that Calgary started 4-0-0 was in 1993-94.
Stars -- Dallas captain Brenden Morrow missed all but 18 games last season with a knee injury that required surgery. Judging by his two-goal performance against Edmonton, he's pretty close to 100 percent.
"Morrow is really starting to get his legs," coach Marc Crawford said.
The Stars are playing a more up-tempo style under Crawford, but it has yet to translate into victories. Dallas is 0-0-2, with a pair of shootout losses.
"I think we're having a lot of fun, but fun really comes from results," Crawford said after losing in Edmonton. "I thought we did a terrific job and generated some chances. We did a lot of good things and we have to keep building. We won't be satisfied with not getting two points, but I know that if we continue to work then we'll be OK. That will probably make the difference."
Flames -- When you're hot, you're hot -- and the Flames are sizzling. Their season-opening winning streak was extended Thursday when Rene Bourque scored the tying goal with 1.5 seconds left in regulation and Olli Jokinen got the shootout winner on a goal that wasn't allowed until a video review.
Amazingly, the Flames are 4-0-0 and have scored 16 goals despite getting just one from captain Jarome Iginla. Every player who dressed Thursday in Edmonton had at least one point this season, and 11 players have at least one goal.
Who's Hot -- James Neal, one of the NHL's top rookies, has picked up where he left off last season by scoring three times in two games. Morrow's two-goal night in Edmonton bodes well for his return to the 30-goal form he showed in 2007-08. Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, a notoriously slow starter, is off to the best start of his career with four wins in as many games.
Injury Report -- Dallas forward Jere Lehtinen has yet to play this season due to hip/groin troubles. Calgary forward Brian McGrattan (upper body) and defenseman Cory Sarich (lower body) have missed all four games.
Stat Pack -- Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will be playing in his 347th consecutive game, the longest current ironman streak in the NHL. … The Flames went 5-for-7 on the power play in their first three games before going 0-for-4 against the Oilers.
Puck Drop -- The Stars have enjoyed amazing success in Western Canada since the franchise moved to Dallas from Minnesota in 1993-94. That success includes a 15-9-4-2 record at the Pengrowth Saddledome, one of the toughest places in the NHL for a visiting team. They'll need a big effort to cool off the red-hot Flames, the only team in the League to win its first four games.
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com