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Calgary Flames try to even first-round series with Detroit Red Wings

His, of course, and another from four-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom.

"He's a tough guy to play against," Iginla said Saturday. "It's not physically extremely tough, but he's so smart, quick and he's got such a good stick."

Calgary knows it has to shoot more, give up fewer chances and be more physical to have a shot at winning Game 2 on Sunday in the first-round series with the Red Wings.

Iginla didn't have any of the Flames' 20 shots Thursday night in Detroit's 4-1 rout. Miikka Kiprusoff, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, faced 46 shots.

Even if the Western Conference's top-seeded team goes ahead 2-0, the Flames shouldn't lose all hope because they won an NHL-best 30 games at home this season. Games 3 and 4 will be played at Pengrowth Saddledome.

Hockey isn't a simple game, but Game 2 might come down to whether Iginla can find enough open space on the ice to make plays against Lidstrom - and goaltender Dominik Hasek - in an intriguing facet of the series.

"It's a really good matchup," Flames coach Jim Playfair said. "And that's what Jarome thrives on."

Lidstrom has a slight advantage over Iginla at Joe Louis Arena.

"It's easier to match up when you're playing at home because you have the last change," he said. "It's still a challenge because he's one of the best players in the league. It makes you stay focused. You can't relax.

"He's a big part of that team and I expect him to come out even harder."

History seems to indicate it will be difficult to keep Iginla down, but past performances show Lidstrom and Hasek might be able to do it.

Iginla has 324 career regular-season goals, trailing only Theo Fleury in franchise history. He had a career-high 55 assists this season, and was among NHL leaders with 94 points. He led the Flames past Detroit in the 2004 playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup final.

Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy last summer - for the fourth time in five seasons - and just three players have been named the NHL's top defenceman more often: Hall of Famers Bobby Orr (8), Doug Harvey (7) and Ray Bourque (5).

"He's truly one of the best," Iginla said. "But I wasn't very good in Game 1, and I didn't make it hard enough on him."

Lidstrom makes plays that are subtly fabulous, not flashy.

"We call them 'Nickisms,' because there are things he can do that no one else can," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "How you can be in the middle of the ice, then suddenly you're knocking a pass down on the far wall?

"He can slide on the blue-line better than anyone in the game and he knock pucks down as well as anyone."

Iginla's job does not get easier if he gets past Lidstrom.

The 42-year-old Hasek, who has won six Vezina Trophies, appears to be just as effective as he was for Detroit's 2002 Stanley Cup-winning team.

Calgary might get a boost in Game 2 from standout defenceman Robyn Regehr and forward Jeff Friesen after both missed the series opener with injuries.

"We think they're really, really close," Playfair said.

Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi will be out, but hopes to play his first game of the series Tuesday night at Calgary.


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