SUN Hockey Pool

Shot suppression another Flames specialty

CRAIG ELLINGSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

28.1

Too little is never too late in this case.

Not only are the Calgary Flames getting the job done with the puck — prior to Friday night’s game with the San Jose Sharks, they were seventh in the NHL in team scoring (2.89 goals per game) — they’re successful limiting scoring chances against them as well.

The Flames are third in the league in shots against per game — 28.1, behind only the Los Angeles Kings (27.7) and the New Jersey Devils (26.9).

That’s not to say the Flames are slamming the door shut in a massive way — the team goals-against average is 2.79, good for 16th in the NHL (Miikka Kiprusoff sports a 2.60 GAA in 53 starts, Henrik Karlsson a 2.63 GAA in nine.)

And while the Flames are ahead of the goals-for/against curve, but compare that to the league-leading Vancouver Canucks — a 2.29 GAA compared to 3.31 goals-for per game.

But those numbers are over the entire season so far.

In the Flames’ past 10 tilts, their goals-against mark stands at 2.1 per game, while goals-for are 3.9 per game.

What have they done for us lately, indeed.

4

’Tis the season!

NHL trade-deadline fever is starting to peak as we hit the weekend.

And with Calgary Flames acting GM Jay Feaster telling the Calgary Sun Thursday he’d be willing to pull the trigger on a deal if it’s “an opportunity too good to pass up,” fans in the foothills are on standby, if just a little bit.

So while news that scouts from no fewer than four teams were at Friday night’s Flames-San Jose Sharks game is hardly press-stopping, it’s always interesting to note who they were representing: The Philadelphia Flyers, the Vancouver Canucks, the L.A. Kings and the Minnesota Wild.

Go ahead, start up those Jarome Iginla for Brayden Schenn/Miikka Kiprusoff for Jeff Carter/Ryan Kesler for Dan Boyle/John Madden for Rick Rypien rumours again — just three days left!

14,809

Time to play ‘Guess whose NHL attendance the above number was Friday night.’

Atlanta? No, they’re averaging 13,056 this season, according to ESPN.

Phoenix? Also no, they’re drawing 11,285 for Coyotes home games in 2010-11. Did I mention they’re fourth in the Western Conference?

How about the New York Islanders? Ha, of course not — the Isles are drawing flies as they have been since Patty Lafontaine learned how to shave. Their average is 10,214, the NHL’s worst bums-in-seats stat.

No, almost 15G graced Montreal’s Bell Centre for hockey Friday night. And not for a Canadiens game or even practice. Fans there showed up for an AHL tilt between the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Habs’ farm club, and the Adirondack Phantoms.

In fact, that figure eclipses six NHL teams’ average attendance numbers this season — the three aforementioned clubs plus the Anaheim Ducks (14,695), the New Jersey Devils (14,152) and the Columbus Blue Jackets (13,382.)

With support like that for minor-league hockey, maybe the NHL should think long and hard about putting a second team in La Belle Province’s largest city, along with a second club in metro Toronto and one up the road in Quebec City. And Winnipeg. And ...

Snap count

39: How was that for a NBA trade-deadline period that overhauled rosters in a big way? In the final three days, up to Thursday’s deadline, 39 players — 9.3% of those in the league — and 14 draft picks changed teams; 15: A sniper cleared waivers! No, not Ales Kotalik — Nikolai Zherdev, who has 15 goals this season for the Philadelphia Flyers but who was waived by Philly Wednesday to make room for Kris Versteeg; 12: Finally playing up to his contract is New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk, who pushed his career-best points streak to 12 games Friday night in a 2-1 loss to Tampa. Other big stat: His ice-time in the game was 27:45. 4: Italy’s loss is Germany’s gain: The German Bundesliga has scored a fourth UEFA Champions League spot for the 2012-13 tournament at the Italian Serie A’s expense.

craig.ellingson@sunmedia.ca


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