Game No. 6: A real test

Ryan Lambert
October 21 2010 04:35PM



That's two wins in a row now, and the team, while not necessarily spectacular, has at least played admirably. But there are a lot of things you could call Edmonton and Nashville, and "as good as the Red Wings" isn't one of 'em.

This is, in the humble chronicler's estimation, the Flames' first opponent of the year who would qualify as 2 legit 2 quit, with all due respect to the noted 2009-10 playoff team Los Angeles Kings. Make no mistake, this year the Central is the Wings' to lose, and with a full year of Jimmy Howard in net, they're far more likely to not lose as a result of spotty goaltending most nights.

It's interesting to note that, in Brendan Mikkelson's first game with the team, he'll be a healthy scratch against a team that has the offensive ability — particularly with a returning Johan Franzen (how do you only miss ONE game with a concussion?) — to eviscerate a Flames defense that I can't imagine anyone is too happy with. Of course, that presupposes that the Detroit attack will get its legs back under it starting tonight, which of course isn't a guarantee. The Wings have only scored three goals in their last two games, those against Dallas and Phoenix on the road. But at home? Well, that's a different story. Detroit put four past the Ducks, though who isn't these days, and Avalanche in their only two games at the Joe.

But I was checking the stats and noticed something odd, even beyond these two teams having given up the same number of goals per game. It's a fairly well-publicized fact that Todd Bertuzzi leads the team in scoring through five games against all probability, much like Brendan Morrison does for Calgary, but Henrik Zetterberg, not unlike our dear Mr. Iginla up until Saturday, has yet to break his duck this season. Five games, four assists, and not one goal. But he's not the only one.

Of Detroit's 14 goals so far this year, 10 have been scored by four players. Among notable forwards, Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler are all without a goal. Holmstrom, in fact, doesn't even have a point. It's very odd to see something like that.

I can't remember where I read it, but there's some eminently provable and widely accepted mathematical theory on hockey which states that every shot on goal that doesn't go in makes the next one statistically more likely to do so. By that logic, Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom, with 16 and 15 shots this season, respectively, are certainly due.

One suspects that this one will come down to Calgary's ability to stifle Detroit's offense, because if they try to go punch for punch, they're gonna get KOed pretty soon after the opening bell.

 

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 07:06PM
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Chances were 6-3 in favor of the Wings in that one.

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#2 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 05:04PM
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Let's remember that the Kings were on the 2nd night of a B2B, which lends further weight to the "this is the first real test for this team" thing.

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#3 Justin Azevedo
October 21 2010, 05:07PM
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I wouldn't say the Central is the Wings' to lose. A certain Stanley Cup winning team also resides in the Central division.

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#4 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 05:27PM
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Justin Azevedo wrote:

I wouldn't say the Central is the Wings' to lose. A certain Stanley Cup winning team also resides in the Central division.

True and I still respect the Hawks. But they lost a non-trivial amount of depth this summer.

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#5 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 05:51PM
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Decent first 10 minutes for CGY. No damage at ES and some good chances on the PP.

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#6 RossCreekNation
October 21 2010, 05:58PM
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Is it just me, or does Tim Jackman look like a human version of Derek Boogaard?

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#7 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 05:58PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Is it just me, or does Tim Jackman look like a human version of Derek Boogaard?

haha, a bit.

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#8 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:04PM
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Well, I've been pretty impressed with this first period. Dats and Zetterberg have been non-factors and the Flames have the bulk of the chances.

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#9 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:05PM
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Absolute beauty of a goal.

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#10 SarahM
October 21 2010, 06:07PM
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Backlund's looked good all period to me. Nice to see him get that one.

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#11 SmellOfVictory
October 21 2010, 06:08PM
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Best Third Line In The NHL

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#12 SarahM
October 21 2010, 06:09PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Well, I've been pretty impressed with this first period. Dats and Zetterberg have been non-factors and the Flames have the bulk of the chances.

Jinx?

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#13 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:09PM
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And there's Datysuk and Zetterberg.

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#14 RossCreekNation
October 21 2010, 06:10PM
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Backlund is a MONSTER!

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#15 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:10PM
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@Sarah

Yeah, I'll take the blame for that one.

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#16 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:11PM
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And there's the Glencross line again...I believe there was something mentioned earlier about that being a key match-up for the Flames tonight...

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#17 Justin Azevedo
October 21 2010, 06:14PM
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God damn GlenX is good.

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#18 RossCreekNation
October 21 2010, 06:15PM
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Moments ago from Randy Sportak...

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he didn't know anything about Backlund this morning. He does now.

Earlier today from Roger Millions...

Mike Babcock..hall of famer for sure...says he's concerned about glencross-backlund-Bourque line..interesting he singles them

Huh?

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#19 everton fc
October 21 2010, 06:15PM
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Sign GlenX long term. So much for demoting Backlund! What a line!!

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#20 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:17PM
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Gotta say, that's one of the best periods of hockey played by the Flames in awhile, given the opposition.

Chances were 11-5 in favor of the Flames.

As predicted, the Wings bottom-end is their weakness. I failed to realize how poor their bottom pairing is as well.

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#21 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:18PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Moments ago from Randy Sportak...

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he didn't know anything about Backlund this morning. He does now.

Earlier today from Roger Millions...

Mike Babcock..hall of famer for sure...says he's concerned about glencross-backlund-Bourque line..interesting he singles them

Huh?

He's right. Babcock said this morning "not sure who that young guy. He might have some skill..." or something to that effect.

Babcock was worried about the third line. For good reason, clearly.

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#22 Brett
October 21 2010, 06:19PM
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Great 1st period. Seems to me like they carried the play....Even though the power play didn't score, it still looked good...Morrison keeps going...What's not to like about being up 2-1 in Detroit after 1?

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#23 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:21PM
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Brett wrote:

Great 1st period. Seems to me like they carried the play....Even though the power play didn't score, it still looked good...Morrison keeps going...What's not to like about being up 2-1 in Detroit after 1?

Nothing at all. It was a good period for sure. In fact, DET is lucky it's just 2-1.

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#24 everton fc
October 21 2010, 06:23PM
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Funny how many people here dogged Morrison the first few games... He's now got 6 points, +2 for the night. For $750K. Sutter does make some good signings!

Sarich with the assist. Playing tough. Always liked Sarich.

Perhaps we've hit our stride, hey?! Still, the first two lines... If they can just get going....

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#25 RossCreekNation
October 21 2010, 06:25PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

He's right. Babcock said this morning "not sure who that young guy. He might have some skill..." or something to that effect.

Babcock was worried about the third line. For good reason, clearly.

Oh, okay. I thought those two statements kind of contradicted each other, but I get it it now.

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#26 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:26PM
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everton fc wrote:

Funny how many people here dogged Morrison the first few games... He's now got 6 points, +2 for the night. For $750K. Sutter does make some good signings!

Sarich with the assist. Playing tough. Always liked Sarich.

Perhaps we've hit our stride, hey?! Still, the first two lines... If they can just get going....

Let's not get ahead of ourselves on Morrison. I was never down on the signing myself, but his stats line is deceiving.

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#27 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:34PM
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Okay Flames...keep 'er going.

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#28 R O
October 21 2010, 06:38PM
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Oh Staios.

Iggy looks good though he's losing the puck a bit. Still, toe-to-toe against Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Lidstrom.

Glencross STILL the best player on his line and by a country mile.

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#29 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:39PM
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Thanks Steve.

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#30 R O
October 21 2010, 06:41PM
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There should be a contest as to who costs us more wins this season: Steve Staios or the Calgary-Oilers games.

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#31 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:43PM
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The Glencross line is just murdering the Wings. They have no answer.

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#32 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:46PM
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Christ Jokinen. Dude kills plays on the PP too.

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#33 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 06:50PM
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Another cycle killed by Joker. He's been probably the worst Flame on the ice.

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#34 Justin Azevedo
October 21 2010, 06:53PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Another cycle killed by Joker. He's been probably the worst Flame on the ice.

Since October 2009, might I add. Staios is a very close second.

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#35 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 07:02PM
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DET took over this period. With the Flames dominating the first, this game deserves to be tied at this point.

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#36 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 07:32PM
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Is there any way to sit Staios for the rest of the 3rd?

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#37 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 07:39PM
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Thanks, Olli.

Jesus he has been beyond bad tonight.

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#38 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 07:48PM
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No finish for the Flames on some of their chances in this period.

Backlund given preference over Jokinen during that PP I think. Good.

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#39 coptin_
October 21 2010, 07:51PM
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glenx is solid tonite

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#40 coptin_
October 21 2010, 07:53PM
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minni up 2-0 already

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#41 Kent Wilson
October 21 2010, 08:02PM
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Chances were 7-5 for the Wings in that one.

A decent game by the Flames, but in the end the Zetterberg/Datsyuk match-up went to the Red Wings. Iginla et al were mostly a non-factor and the Jokinen line was bad (thanks to Jokinen).

Glencross carried the play again, but there's only so much a third line can do.

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#42 Justin Azevedo
October 21 2010, 08:05PM
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I really wish an incompetent, bumbling moron wasn't making the personnel decisions for the Flames.

Maybe we wouldn't have all-stars like Jokinen and Staios, but I think the trade off would be worth it.

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#43 funkyjaman
October 21 2010, 08:11PM
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Well if our top line decides to show up this season then maybe we will have a chance. They showed signs of it but no finish at all. How many times did Detroit steal the puck off of us. Good game for Backlund. Olli was just weak, mentally and physically. Glenx looked good. Hagman...not a fan. Do we need to find someone via trade sooner or later to anchor this team or just hope for the best down the stretch?

Not a bad game thou over all!

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#44 icedawg_42
October 21 2010, 08:24PM
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well - couldn't watch the game cause I was at a coach's meeting for my atom team - anyone want to rate the Flames between 1 and 10 for me? I heard Babcocks comments re: 3rd line was somewhat prophetic, also caught that Backlund had 2...excellent!! Also hear we're still waiting for Olli to show up, *sigh*

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