Tonight promises to be an emotional affair at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
For the first time, Jarome Iginla will play a NHL game in Calgary wearing something other than Flames colors when Boston visits the Saddledome on Tuesday.
The franchise legend — Iginla is the club’s all time leader in games played, goals and points — has been trying to keep his emotions in check, but acknowledged that might prove difficult once he’s actually out on the ice.
“I’m trying to prepare myself,” Iginla said, as per Yahoo. “I don’t plan on being extremely emotional, but I don’t know. I really want to try and take it as it comes. I had great experiences. I loved playing here.”
Traded from Calgary to Pittsburgh at last season’s deadline, Iginla signed a one-year, $6 million tender with Boston in July and has had a solid-if-unspectacular start to the year. While he only has six goals in 30 games, Iginla does have 11 assists and 17 points, and is averaging 18:25 TOI per game.
So, a good year — but one that promises to get better tonight.
“I’m going to enjoy playing here and being back in the Saddledome,” Iginla said. “Hopefully it’s a warm reception and I know it’ll be special for myself.
“I imagine it’s going to be a little bit different at the start, but it will be cool.”
Talk about getting thrown into the fire.
Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.
Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.
Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.
We’ll start to find out tonight.
Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.
— Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
— Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.
— Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.
— Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.
— Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.
Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.
“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly.
So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.
That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”
The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.
“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”
That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.
Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen