FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME

Calgary Sun - - SPORTS -

1 Smith stays home Flames stal­wart mike smith, one of the nHL’s busiest back­stops so far this sea­son, was in­jured in the open­ing pe­riod of mon­day’s clash with the st. Louis blues and al­though there’s be no of­fi­cial word on the specifics or the sever­ity, the 35-year-old wasn’t on Tues­day’s flight to the mo­tor City. In smith’s ab­sence, ed­die Lack would be­come the go-to goalie for the Flames, while ei­ther Jon Gil­lies or david rit­tich — with four pe­ri­ods of nHL ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween them — would be re­called from the amer­i­can Hockey League’s stock­ton Heat to serve as backup. 2 Go Johnny go! The Flames are — fi­nally! — get­ting some pro­duc­tion from their depth sorts, with all four for­ward lines con­tribut­ing in a 7-4 tri­umph over the blues. What hasn’t changed is that Johnny Gau­dreau con­tin­ues to do his part, and then some. Gau­dreau buried one and set up an­other against the blues. With 24 points, he’s been a fac­tor on nearly half of the 49 goals that the Flames have scored this fall and his crew owns a 7-0 record when Lucky no. 13 de­liv­ers a multi-point per­for­mance. 3 You guys again?! These squads are fac­ing off for the sec­ond time in a week, with the Flames aim­ing to com­plete a sea­son sweep against this eastern Con­fer­ence foe after a

6-3 vic­tory last Thurs­day at sad­dle­dome. Gau­dreau’s three-point ef­fort that night was high­lighted by a sweet feed on Jaromir Jagr’s first snipe in Flames silks, while Jagr earned an as­sist on mark Jankowski’s first big-league goal. on the other side, an­thony man­tha was in on all three red Wings’ tal­lies. 4 Happy trails a carry-on tote won’t cut it — the Flames will need their full-sized suit­cases for this so­journ. detroit is the first des­ti­na­tion on a marathon six-game trek. be­fore head­ing home, they will stop in Philadel­phia, Wash­ing­ton, Colum­bus, dal­las and den­ver. Wed­nes­day also marks the Flames’ first visit to Lit­tle Cae­sars arena, the shiny new home of the red Wings and the nba’s detroit Pis­tons. 5 Wait, there’s more...

red Wings LW dar­ren Helm has missed a pair of prac­tices this week and is con­sid­ered ques­tion­able for Wed­nes­day’s con­test … red Wings rW Justin ab­delka­der re­turns to ac­tion after a one-game ab­sence, but he’ll be sport­ing ex­tra fa­cial pro­tec­tion after suf­fer­ing a frac­tured cheek-bone in his scrap with Flames rW Troy brouwer … The Flames have won three in a row and five of their past six against the Wings.

Johnny Gau­dreau has been on a tear since the be­gin­ning of the sea­son.

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