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FLAMES (7-4-1) at STARS (6-3-5)
Last 10 -- Flames 6-3-1, Stars 5-3-2
Season series --
Big story -- Both teams are coming off two-game slides, the Flames dropping the last two of a five-game homestand, 3-2 to the Northwest-leading Avalanche and 3-1 to the Red Wings, after taking the first three.
Flames -- The sudden drop-off in scoring production the last two games left coach Brent Sutter in not the happiest frame of mind. The solution? A dose of intense practice time, some of it leaving a mark or two -- like the black eye Jarome Iginla got on Monday.
"I got it battling," Iginla told the Flames' Web site. He wouldn't say which teammate he was battling with in practice on Monday.
Sutter was very clear in his mission to get his team going again prior to the two-game trip which takes the Flames to
"I'm not accustomed to coaching teams that don’t compete at a high level."
Some scrambling of the lines accompanied the challenging practices. seeing Olli Jokinen paired with Iginla and Eric Nystrom before David Moss moved up to left wing partway through Tuesday's practice.
Stars -- Coach Marc Crawford will have the luxury of a full lineup for Wednesday's game for the first time this season as Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen have been cleared to play.
On the other hand, that means someone becomes the odd man out.
"On the forward position, we've got a lot of guys who are really playing well. They're making it difficult to make decisions. Somebody’s going to have to sit out the next game who doesn’t deserve to sit out," Crawford told the team's Web site.
"I think on the other side of it, it’s not really that bad of a happening for the Stars," he continued. "It really does emphasize our depth, and I think our depth can be something that is such a strong characteristic of this club."
Who's hot -- Stars center Brad Richards began the season with a five-game point streak, was shut out a couple of games, then started another one. He has eight points in this latest tear, with two goals and six assists. Before dropping their last two, the Flames had outscored opponents 16-8 during the first three games of their homestand.
Stat pack -- The only game Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff didn't play this season was the earlier matchup with the Stars. He's expected to make his eighth straight start Wednesday, but has a 6-10-2 record against
Stars goalie Marty Turco sat out the last two games with flu-like symptoms but should be ready to put his 14-8-2-1 record and 1.79 goals-against against
Injury report -- With the return of Turco, Lehtinen and Modano to active duty,
Puck drop -- The Stars get a chance to see what their entire intact team is truly made of, while the Flames look to get their scoring groove back.