FGD: Make It a Streak

Pat Steinberg
November 21 2010 11:32AM

Calgary Flames Robyn Regehr (R) and Detroit Red Wings Tomas Holmstrom battle in front of the net during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, November 3, 2010. REUTERS/Todd Korol (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

After a 7-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, the Calgary Flames look to get on some sort of a streak as they start off an extremely tough looking five game road trip this afternoon in Detroit (3 pm, Sportsnet Flames and The FAN 960).  Calgary still sits two games below the .500 mark as they prepare for their third game against the Red Wings this season.

It's F'in Game Day, afternoon edition, as the Flames look for their first win against Detroit this season.  Calgary has played some all right hockey over the last four games, winning one and losing three, while falling to 14th in the Western Conference.  Friday's win over Chicago was big, but it becomes a whole lot less important if they nullify it with another loss here.

The Lineup

DENVER - NOVEMBER 09: Mark Giordano  of the Calgary Flames takes a shot against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on November 9, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Flames defeated the Avalanche 4-2. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
 

It'll be the second of a three game suspension for Flames forward Olli Jokinen, who sat out Friday against the Hawks.  The lines were juggled for that game, responding to the absence of Jokinen and the addition of Tom Kostopoulos, who played his first game Friday night as well.

Defensive pairings were switched up a little bit, as newcomer Anton Babchuk played his first game on the blueline.  He wasn't great, and was victimized two seperate times in the first period.  He seemed to settle in as the game went along, and I think a strong game from Mark Giordano helped his cause.  Here are probable lines and pairings for this afternoon:

Alex Tanguay-Matt Stajan-Jarome Iginla
Niklas Hagman-Mikael Backlund-Rene Bourque
Curtis Glencross-David Moss-Tom Kostopoulos
Brendan Morrison-Craig Conroy-Tim Jackman

Robyn Regehr-Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano-Anton Babchuk
Cory Sarich-Brendan Mikkelson

Miikka Kiprusoff

Kiprusoff has let in a few softies over the last little while, and the Flames probably can't afford that against one of the NHL's true elite teams in Detroit.  If Mikkelson plays, I think it's the right move...Friday was the first game watching him where I thought he looked comfortable and I thought it was his best game in a Flames uniform.

The Opponent

The Red Wings are the top team in the Western Conference, sitting 12-3-2 on the season and riding a five game point streak.  They had their four game win streak snapped Friday night when they fell 4-3 in overtime to Minnesota.  It's a team that gets scoring from everywhere, lead by one of the best even strength lines in the NHL.  Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are the top two scorers on the team, but they're getting sizeable offensive contributions from guys like Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula.

The return of Brian Rafalski to the blueline has been a huge boost, and they have a very strong top three on the blueline.  Here are the lines and pairings the Wings have been rolling with over the last few games:

Henrik Zetterberg-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom
Johan Franzen-Valtteri Filppula-Jiri Hudler
Todd Bertuzzi-Mike Modano-Dan Cleary
Patrick Eaves-Darren Helm-Justin Abdelkader

Nicklas Lidstrom-Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson-Brian Rafalski
Ruslan Salei-Niklas Kronwall

Jimmy Howard

Those forward lines are deep and the Wings make it extremely difficult to exploit favorable matchups, especially on the road.  And to be honest, that blueline doesn't really have any weak spots to exploit...Ericsson can sometimes be a rodeo in his own end, but Rafalski is very good at positioning, so reports suggest they've been a pretty good pair.

The Story

Calgary has lost both their previous games this season to the Wings, one in Detroit by a 4-2 score before falling 2-1 at home.  The first game saw Detroit's top players carry the day, with names like Franzen, Bertuzzi and Lidstrom potting goals and Datsyuk being the best player on the ice, bar none (not surprising).  The second game was a little different...while the top end guys were largely neutralized, it was Detroit's depth that did the job, with goals coming from Modano and Abdelkader.  It really is tough to match up against them.

The Flames need to get on roll, because they have to dig themselves out of this whole now before things slip too far away.  At 8-10, the season is far from lost, but a largely unsuccessful road trip will set them back much further.  At the very least, they have a good feeling heading into this game, thanks to a seven goal outburst against Chicago...how that translates to this game, if at all, is anybodys guess.

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Pat Steinberg can be heard daily on the Fan960 in Calgary at can be read at the FAN 960. Born and raised in Calgary, Steinberg considers himself a huge fan of all sports including the CFL, MMA and 13 round bare knuckle boxing matches. Follow Steinberg on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Fan960Steinberg.
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#1 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 11:37AM
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This will be the gamethread today folks.

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#2 GermanFlame
November 21 2010, 12:30PM
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No live blog today eh? :( Great Idea though Kent, Props for doing it.

On today's game, I think if they dont win (probably happy with a point as well, it is the wings and all) the Chicago game wont look nearly as good!

Do we see HK tomorrow?

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#3 Parallex
November 21 2010, 03:02PM
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Pre-game interview with Colin Campbell on Snet... schmuck. In what universe can he not see what was wrong with what he said? Redonkulas.

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#4 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:12PM
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Glencross has to get that puck out in that sequence.

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#5 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:13PM
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Parallex wrote:

Pre-game interview with Colin Campbell on Snet... schmuck. In what universe can he not see what was wrong with what he said? Redonkulas.

Head-up-ass syndrome.

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#6 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:16PM
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Aside form the PP, not a lot going on in the first so far.

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#7 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:17PM
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Flames keep missing passes in the neutral zone...if that keeps up, they'll get eaten alive.

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#8 Robert Cleave
November 21 2010, 03:18PM
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Iggy getting half a shift against someone other than Lidstrom is never a bad idea. Nice move by 10 as well.

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#9 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:27PM
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Sarich has been terrible in this first period. Bad passes and he got walked around by Jonathan Ericsson.

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#10 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:28PM
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Chances are 5-2 right now, but that's mostly due to the Wings 2 PP's I think.

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#11 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:29PM
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Wow, talk about a marginal call on Giordano. Jesus.

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#12 shep
November 21 2010, 03:38PM
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10 looking good

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#13 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:44PM
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Well, escaping at 1-1 is a boon given the penalty differential in this period.

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#15 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 03:46PM
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Chances were 9-3 in favor of the Wings. Playing half the period short a man will do that.

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#16 Robert Cleave
November 21 2010, 03:50PM
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Corsi.

CGY +4, with an even distribution. EV shots 6-5 DET. Calgary is playing OK. They just need to bribe a ref or four, and they should be in business ;-)

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#17 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 04:07PM
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Real nice start to this period.

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#18 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 04:19PM
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Who made the amazing pass to Tangs for the break-away? Bouw?

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#19 shep
November 21 2010, 04:22PM
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yep, 4 to 40

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#20 shep
November 21 2010, 04:26PM
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kind of like 33, plays within his limitations

red wings announcers taking stabs at jokinen

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#21 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 04:29PM
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shep wrote:

kind of like 33, plays within his limitations

red wings announcers taking stabs at jokinen

Babs looked pretty rough last game, but he looks fine tonight.

What kind of stabs?

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#22 shep
November 21 2010, 04:31PM
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well.. saying tanguay being the key signing, jokinen not so much and then reviewing the crosscheck

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#23 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 04:38PM
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shep wrote:

well.. saying tanguay being the key signing, jokinen not so much and then reviewing the crosscheck

Sounds like fair commentary to me ;)

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#24 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 04:40PM
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Just an excellent period for the Flames, and they probably could have had at least 2 or 3 more PP's had the refs not put their whistles away in the latter half.

Chances were 9-2 CGY.

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#25 shep
November 21 2010, 04:43PM
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i thought the wings owned the last 7-8 mins, nothing special but no sustained pressure for the flames

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#26 Robert Cleave
November 21 2010, 04:46PM
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Corsi.

Even, so DET +4 in the second. EV shots 17-15 DET, 11-10 Wings in the second. Considering that the Wings were chasing most of the period, could have been much worse. Calgary's playing a very nice game so far, and Backlund and Hagman have been particularly solid at EV.

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#27 Scott
November 21 2010, 04:47PM
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I dont know what happened inside that dressing room, but thats two games in a row where they out scored the oppposition in the 2nd period.

That and they let in the first goal both games, it appears this team in a better reacting team then to try and hold the lead. Pretty impressive thus far considering its in detriot.

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#28 Scott
November 21 2010, 04:49PM
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Not sure about his matchups game in and game out, but Backlund seems to have found his spot on this team, not scoring yet but seems to be working hard and playing pretty well. Noticed him getting in on the after the whistle stuff too, pretty good sign that he is feeling comfortable with the team.

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#29 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 04:54PM
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Scott wrote:

Not sure about his matchups game in and game out, but Backlund seems to have found his spot on this team, not scoring yet but seems to be working hard and playing pretty well. Noticed him getting in on the after the whistle stuff too, pretty good sign that he is feeling comfortable with the team.

Match-ups are split between Iginla facing Datsyuk and, oddly, Moss facing Zettergerg. The Backlund line has mostly see Cleary/Bertuzzi.

Frankly, that's how I'd like to see things settle out.

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#30 shep
November 21 2010, 04:55PM
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fox sports has the chances 10-9 cgy after 2

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#31 Robert Cleave
November 21 2010, 04:58PM
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shep wrote:

fox sports has the chances 10-9 cgy after 2

Right in line with Kent's 12-11. Sounds right, really, but I'd guess the EV chances are very one-sided.

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#32 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:03PM
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Chances the Flames get one more PP this evening? I put them at 5:1.

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#33 SarahM
November 21 2010, 05:08PM
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@Kent, I could see the Flames getting one more, but only if the Wings get three more first.

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#34 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:12PM
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That's just an outstanding effort by 40.

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#35 shep
November 21 2010, 05:12PM
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tangs!

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#36 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:13PM
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haha, leave it to Bert to take another penalty. Thanks Sparkle Pants.

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#37 shep
November 21 2010, 05:14PM
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good job, todd

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#38 shep
November 21 2010, 05:14PM
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wth was rafalski doing on the goal btw

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#39 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:15PM
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Can you believe the slashing call on Hagman there? Good god.

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#40 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:16PM
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shep wrote:

wth was rafalski doing on the goal btw

Heh, no idea.

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#41 GermanFlame
November 21 2010, 05:16PM
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Man, I really wish the Stamps and Flames games were scheduled differently. Hard to flip back and forth, Well done Tanguay, Saw that one!

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#42 shep
November 21 2010, 05:17PM
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it was the center ice referee that called it too

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#43 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:20PM
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Zetterberg is so good. That said, I'd like to see Kipper stop a shot like that.

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#44 RossCreekNation
November 21 2010, 05:23PM
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Just walked in and turned game on... what happened to Regehr?

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#45 shep
November 21 2010, 05:24PM
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no no no not reggie

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#46 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:26PM
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RossCreekNation wrote:

Just walked in and turned game on... what happened to Regehr?

Took an awkward fall into the boards.

A Regehr injury would be plenty bad news considering the road trip they're on.

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#47 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:30PM
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Baffling play by Stajan there.

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#48 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:33PM
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Really good PK by CGY.

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#49 Kent Wilson
November 21 2010, 05:34PM
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The officiating in this game is awful.

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#50 Scott
November 21 2010, 05:34PM
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@Kent Wilson

Same here, if he can start playing solidly against 3rd liners at this point in his career, hopefully by next year he can be ready to start dominating the 3rd and 4th liners, if not later in this year.

Another penalty against calgary, this is beyond silly.

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