Flames Game Day

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH

1. The Kiprusoff bounce-back: The only other time this season Miikka Kiprusoff didn't start a game, he was blitzed in the next outing for six goals against. Not exactly the result you want when the No.-1 goalie has a rest. Last season, Kiprusoff was 4-0-0 in games following a break -- plus a no-decision.

2. Home for a rest: Many teams struggle with the first game back home after a road trip. Whether it's because they become pre-occupied with household duties -- family, errands, Christmas shopping -- or whatever, clubs just don't always have that extra oomph. The Panthers will be a little worn down having battled to a 2-0 win in Edmonton last night.

3. Back in the nets: Tomas Vokoun is pegged to start tonight for the first time since he was yanked Nov. 26 against New Jersey. Craig Anderson, originally drafted by the Flames, started all seven games since and has been very good for the Cats. Over his career, nearly all of if with the Nashville Predators, Vokoun has a 11-3-3-1 record against the Flames.

PLAYERS TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON ...

FLAMES

RW David Moss. A strong run has the third-year pro third on the team with nine goals, one shy of his career best. Moss scored to give his team a 3-1 lead on Detroit, an edge the club couldn't hold, for his fifth tally in six games. Moss has elevated his game by a willingness to stand in front of the net to set a screen or await the rebounds. Last time the Flames played at home, he fired eight shots on goal.

PANTHERS

D Jay Bouwmeester. Heading into last night's game against the Oilers, the highly touted blueliner was tied for first in the NHL with an average of 27 minutes and 49 seconds of ice time per game. Bouwmeester, a pending unrestricted free agent who'll be sought after at trade deadline time if he doesn't re-sign with the Panthers, was on a roll with 13 points (4-9-13) in 13 games prior to last night.

IT'S WORTH NOTING ...

The Flames have climbed to 21st in the league in goals against, with a 3.03 average. It was only a few weeks ago they were near the bottom ... Calgary's penalty killers have been on quite a roll since the infamous loss in San Jose. The Flames have been perfect on the PK in 10 of their last 11 games, and killed 34 of 36 shorthanded situations in that time, a 94.4% rate ... Flames D Adrian Aucoin will play his 800th NHL game ... While so many are praising G Curtis McElhinney for a strong performance between the pipes in Calgary's 4-3 OT loss, head coach Mike Keenan didn't budge on his stance the netminder has to improve if he wants his first NHL victory. "If you're in that role, and I acknowledged to him it's a really difficult role, you have to find a way to be a closer someday, and that's where he's at. That's the next part of the game he has to learn," Keenan said. McElhinney has started three games in the NHL ... The Flames Better Halves -- wives and girlfriends of the players -- will be selling limited edition Christmas tree ornaments at tonight's game. The ornaments, which sell for $10 each, will benefit the Flames Foundation for Life. The Better Halves and Coca-Cola will also be raffling off a Christmas tree featuring a set of 24 individually autographed ornaments by the Flames team at each game. Raffle tickets are $5 each or free with the purchase of two ornaments ... In the third period this season, Florida has been outscored by a 25-14 margin ... The Panthers are just outside the top-10 in goals against, which is a mean feat seeing as they're at the bottom of the league in shots allowed, 35 per game ... Flames C Wayne Primeau is wearing a walking cast on his injured foot, but believes he won't be out much longer. Basically, he'll return as soon as he can withstand the pain. He played a few games with the problem, which happened when he was hit by a shot from D Dion Phaneuf in practice.


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