Three storylines to watch

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

1. Iginla heating up?: As good as Flames captain Jarome Iginla has been in terms of points this season, it's the last couple of games in which he's had the biggest impact. Does this mean he's ready for one of those scoring sprees amidst dominating performances? He's on a five-game point streak, with two goals and five assists during that span.

2. Race for the best third: Calgary's third-line trio -- Craig Conroy, Curtis Glencross and Rene Bourque/David Moss -- was the better trio against the Canucks crew of Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen. Vancouver's third line, often used to check the opposition's stars, is under some heat for failing to score.

3. The Super Sedins: For all those who criticize the Sedin twins, mainly calling them soft, it's worth considering these numbers; In the past 19 games against Calgary, the brothers have combined for 51 points. Daniel has netted 27, including a goal Thursday, and Henrik 24. Their uncanny ability to find each other is a movie the Flames have seen way too often.

PLAYERS TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON ...

FLAMES

G Miikka Kiprusoff -- Don't let the the three goals allowed on 30 shots last game fool you. It may seem like an average performance by Kiprusoff -- in fact, neither his goals-against-average or save percentage changed -- but it was not. Kiprusoff made a couple of key saves in the second period that kept his club within striking distance, and his teammates repaid the favour by scoring three goals in the final 23 minutes. His all-time record against the Canucks is now 15-13-0-5.

CANUCKS

D Willie Mitchell -- The big blueliner went 14 games without being a minus-player before Thursday's contest, in which he was a minus-1. Mitchell, plus-15 on the season, faces whatever line Jarome Iginla is playing on, and has historically done a strong job. As has Mattias Ohlund. Expect Mitchell to do whatever he can to put himself into the positive tonight, although the Flames have the benefit of last change, so matching lines won't be as easy for the visiting Canucks.

IT'S WORTH NOTING ...

This home-and-home series between the Flames and Canucks is the fourth for Calgary already this season. The Flames faced the Canucks twice to start the season, had a pair of games against the Edmonton Oilers shortly after, Colorado last week and do it again with the Oilers to end the season. Curiously, the Minnesota Wild don't have a single intra-divisional back-to-back set. Flames head coach Mike Keenan was asked if he believes that's an advantage for the Flames or the Wild, and he said he sees it two ways: "The emotional expenditure you put your team through, and maybe the physical aspects of a back-to-back series like this, is challenging. From that point of view, it puts demands on your team Minnesota doesn't have to face. On the other hand, it helps you prepare. There's intensity, in terms of matching playoff competition, so your team learns to respond and play in those conditions, which, in the end, will help you." ... Of the 18 Calgary skaters in Thursday's contest, only Craig Conroy failed to register a shot on goal. As a team, the Flames had 33 total ... Out-scoring the Canucks 2-1 in the third period the other night was no small feat for the Flames. Vancouver has a 23-13 edge on opponents in the final period this season. Speaking of period-by-period scoring, remember how bad the Flames were in the second period over the opening month of the campaign? They're now within five goals of their foes in the middle frame (26-21) ... Canucks LW Daniel Sedin is on an eight-game points streak, with six goals and four assists ... How's this for scoring balance? No Flame has more than two game-winning goals, but nine different players have tallied a deciding marker ... This game marks the beginning of a seven-game road swing for the Canucks ... Tonight is retro night, so pull out those classic '80s clothes, get the hair big and party like it's 1989. Prizes will only be awarded to fans in costume ... The Flames will honour longtime trainer Jim (Bearcat) Murray.


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