GDFD No. 65: A tough draw

Ryan Lambert
March 07 2010 12:44PM



Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 65th game of the season on March 7, 2010.

I don't know what, exactly, it is about the Wild that makes Calgary just turn to a gooey pile of pliable gel, but man, it's effective.

Calgary used to dominate Minnesota, you know. You wouldn't know it these days, but before this season, Calgary went 23-5-2 against the Wild since the lockout. This year? Well, the nicest thing you can say is that they kept it respectable in the overtime loss.

There's just nothing the Flames have been able to do to make the Wild fear them. First and most obviously they've been outscored 10-2 in 183-plus minutes. A goal every 91 minutes or so is, for those that aren't familiar, not very good. Yeah, the Flames' offense is 27th in the NHL this year, but this makes an already-bad situation so much worse.

And the same is true of faceoffs, actually. You'd think the Flames would be hard-pressed to do considerably worse than their 29th-ranked faceoff percentage of 47.5, but they've blown well past that level of futility against Minnesota, which has positively battered the Flames at the dot, winning 100 of the games' 157 draws, a 63.7 percent clip. Honestly, a faceoff percentage of 36.3 for Calgary. It's almost unfathomable, even if the Wild are second in the league on draws. The worst part, though, is offensive zone draws. Calgary has won 20 of 67 (29.9 percent) and that's seriously going to kill a game.

Not to make too much of it — too late, right? — but the only Calgary players with faceoff percentages above 50 are Dustin Boyd (what ever happened to THAT guy?) and Jamal Mayers. Great, see ya out there!

Who

The Calgary Flames (31-24-9 for 71 points. Ninth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Minnesota Wild (31-27-5 for 67 points. Tied for 12th in the West, fourth in the Northwest).

When

1 p.m. Mountain time and 3 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should become the greatest person that ever lived.

Where

Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.

Calgary is 15-9-6 on the road this year, but 0-2-1 against Minnesota overall. The Wild are 21-8-2 at home, which is the fourth-best home record in the West.

What (to hate about the Wild)

Guillaume Latendresse — Did you know Latendresse is Minnesota's leading goalscorer this year with 19? It's true! Did you know that he's scored those 19 goals in just 33 games since being traded from Montreal.

Niklas Backstrom — He's played all three games against Calgary this year and done okay. Insofar as 3-0-0 with two goals allowed on 78 shots (a .974 save percentage!) over three games is "okay."

Marek Zidlicky and Martin Havlat — Against the Flames this year, they've combined for eight points in three games (2.67 per). Against every other team in the league, they've combined for 77. Great.

Why

Because the Flames just might beat the Wild this time. Enjoy the game and hope for a win in the comments section.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
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
March 07 2010, 12:53PM
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So...Toskala in net huh? Did Brent Sutter bet on the Flames to lose or something?

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#2 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 12:58PM
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Mikael Backlund is a healthy scratch? WTF?

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#3 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:09PM
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Well...that's a favorable start.

Nice tip by Bourque.

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#4 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:10PM
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Steve Staios, obviously acquired for his offensive acumen.

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#5 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:14PM
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Two goals on three shots? I'll take it.

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#6 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:14PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

So...Toskala in net huh? Did Brent Sutter bet on the Flames to lose or something?

The Flames' Toskala Game Plan — score early and often.

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#7 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:16PM
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Jean Lefebvre wrote:

The Flames' Toskala Game Plan — score early and often.

That's a sound plan.

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#8 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:18PM
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Backstrom looks fairly shaky thus far.

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#9 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:21PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Backstrom looks fairly shaky thus far.

True enough. And a propos of nothing, whatever became of Manny Fernandez?

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#10 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:22PM
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unofficial retirement. He had some injury concerns by the end I think.

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#12 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:27PM
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Teams are trading chances now. We're lucky they've had a few go wide I think.

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#13 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:27PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

unofficial retirement. He had some injury concerns by the end I think.

Yeah, one of the less-discussed consequences of the current CBA is that more than ever, veteran players quietly disappear and go into unwilling retirement. Tony Amonte, for instance, was clearly useful enough to remain in the NHL for another season or three but not so outstanding in any one department that clubs didn't prefer filling out their roster with a cheap young player instead.

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#14 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:29PM
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Ryan Lambert wrote:

Played an adequate backup role in Boston (statswise) but they didn't want to keep him around because he's like 36 and his back and legs are a shambles.

Also, Tuukka Rask.

Why even Oncle Jacques couldn't find a job for him.

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#15 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:29PM
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Flames on a PP? I almost forgot what that was like...

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#16 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:31PM
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Well, that was unsuccessful.

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#17 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:31PM
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Well, that was unsuccessful.

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#18 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:34PM
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Nice little play by Moss. He's looked a lot like his old self since he returned from injury I think.

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#19 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:34PM
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@Kent Wilson

So you're saying that was unsuccessful?

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#20 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:36PM
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Haven't any idea why that appeared twice.

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#21 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:40PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Haven't any idea why that appeared twice.

It's the little-known "random ibid" feature of the comments button.

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#22 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:41PM
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The puck is bouncing like a tennis ball.

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#23 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 01:41PM
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What's the cliche? A good road first period?

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#24 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:44PM
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I counted 9 Flames scoring chances to the Wild's 6 in that period. Decent start as a visiting team.

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#25 LexLuger
March 07 2010, 01:44PM
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Who called it? Toskala outduels Backstrom through 20 minutes.

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#26 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:47PM
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To put that number in context, the Flames had one scoring chance in the first period against the Devils.

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#27 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 01:47PM
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LexLuger wrote:

Who called it? Toskala outduels Backstrom through 20 minutes.

haha, no one as far I can tell.

Let's just hope it continues.

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#28 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:02PM
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Burns has impressed me thus far today.

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#29 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:08PM
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Lucky to get through the PK without being scored on. Nice saves and bounces too.

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#30 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 02:10PM
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Remember that old line about 2-0 being the worst lead in hockey?

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#31 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:15PM
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Jean Lefebvre wrote:

Remember that old line about 2-0 being the worst lead in hockey?

I thought that was amended to 5-0 after the debacle against the Hawks earlier this year?

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#32 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:17PM
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Havlat is still a Flame killer.

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#33 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:24PM
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Wow. What a shot by Iginla.

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#34 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 02:26PM
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That, as they say in the colour commentary business, is a big goal.

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#35 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:31PM
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Well, this is getting "interesting" (read: scary).

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#36 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:38PM
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Nice to be ahead going into the third period.

Scoring chances were 6-6 in that frame.

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#37 LexLuger
March 07 2010, 02:40PM
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A loooooooooooooong 20 minutes to go.

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#38 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:42PM
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Brent sure likes his 4th line. That cost him a couple of times in that period I think.

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#39 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:43PM
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LexLuger wrote:

A loooooooooooooong 20 minutes to go.

You're not kidding.

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#40 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 02:50PM
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Some crooked shooting so far this afternoon — 21 missed shots by Minnesota and 18 by Calgary.

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#41 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 02:58PM
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Par for the course for the Flames this year.

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#42 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 03:03PM
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Flames look like they're hanging on for dear life so far.

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#43 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 03:18PM
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Nice to have the late PP's.

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#44 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 03:19PM
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Jarome's come out firing this afternoon.

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#45 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 03:23PM
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Point for discussion — are the Flames playing differently in front of Toskala than they typically did in front of McElhinney?

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#46 RossCreekNation
March 07 2010, 03:26PM
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I've seen parts of the 2nd & 3rd. About to skim thru the comments, but what I have seen, I've liked. Toskala playing good? Staios?

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#47 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 03:28PM
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Looks like the Bourque/Iginla duo might be working out.

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#48 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 03:28PM
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Looks like the Bourque/Iginla duo might be working out.

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#49 Kent Wilson
March 07 2010, 03:33PM
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Jean Lefebvre wrote:

Point for discussion — are the Flames playing differently in front of Toskala than they typically did in front of McElhinney?

Nah, at least not this year. Flames had some good games in front of Cumac this year.

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#50 Jean Lefebvre
March 07 2010, 03:35PM
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@Kent Wilson

So you're saying that the Bourque/Iginla duo might be working out?

Post-game entry is up:

http://flamesnation.ca/2010/3/7/toskala-era-begins-with-a-w

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