October 10 2010 01:25PM
So, after a game that everyone wants to forget on Thursday night in Edmonton, the Calgary Flames open their home schedule tonight at the newly minted Scotiabank Saddledome. It's the first of four meetings between the Flames and the Los Angeles Kings this season (6 pm, Rogers Sportsnet West, The FAN 960).
With the Flames taking an optional skate this morning, not a whole lot to go with in terms of lines, lineups etc. Important to not Matt Stajan was skating with the rest of the optional group, but was wearing a yellow "no contact" jersey. Prior to the rest of the group coming out, David Moss and Daymond Langkow were also skating in yellow jerseys.
As for the Kings, they didn't do much in terms of a skate, as they arrived late after a 2-1 shootout win in Vancouver Saturday night. LA will start Jonathan Bernier in net, after Jonathan Quick was the man last night. Head Coach Terry Murray seems to be serious about giving Quick more time off this season.
We'll know more about lineups closer to gametime, but we're anticipating the Flames to ice much the same group they did Thursday in Edmonton.
For Calgary, this is an important game, as important as game two can be. Thursday's game was a bit of an embarassment, so it's a chance for the team to show some mettle and use a disappointing outing as motivation. Calgary's goal is to get off to a good start, and to try and make some hay in the month of October. If they want to do that, they can't start the season piling two or three losses on top of eachother.
Who needs to step up? Well...everyone who is supposed to play a big part on this Flames team. On the blueline, Ian White and Jay Bouwmeester both had subpar games, and both need to play better against a tough Kings team. Up front, the top line was not good on Thursday night, and they need to play a whole lot better as a unit. I know it's been one regular season game, but the freelancing we saw in the first outing is not going to get the job done. Regardless of what we think about the top line, the offence does start with them and everything trickles down from there.
The Flames haven't lost at home to the Kings in nearly five years, winning nine straight games over LA at the 'Dome. The last win for the Kings in Calgary was wayyyyyyyy back in December of 2005. Calgary went 3-1 over Terry Murray's team last season, including a couple of memorable affairs. This will also be defenceman Robyn Regehr's 750th career NHL game.
Before we get into the Kings side of things...how awesome were those jerseys last night?
Also...I couldn't resist putting a picutre up of a team, any team, celebrating in front of Roberto Luongo. What a beautiful site.
Justin Williams scored in the third period to tie their game with Vancouver last night before Anze Kopitar and Jack Johnson scored shootout goals to help LA post a 2-1 win. Jonathan Quick was good in net, stopping 23 of 24 shots. It's a team trying to build off one of the best seasons in team history, tying a team record with 46 wins and putting up 101 points, which was third in team history. This is a good hockey team, and it should be a great tilt for the home opener.