FGD: Don't Screw It Up

Pat Steinberg
January 03 2011 01:21PM

The Calgary Flames are riding their longest win streak of the season, and it sure as hell better continue tonight when they play host to the New York Islanders (7 pm, Sportsnet West and The FAN 960).  Much like Saturday's game against Edmonton, the Flames are going to have to go out of their way to lose this game...which we've seen the team do before.

The Flames look for a fifth straight win tonight at the 'Dome, and on this current four game streak, they've deserved all eight points.  Their last game was a 2-1 win over the Oilers, and even though the Flames didn't completely dominate things, they were far and away better than Edmonton and did more than enough to win the hockey game.  Well, if they play their game, they'll probably come away with a fifth straight win.

The Lineup

Henrik Karlsson gets the start in net for the Calgary Flames, coming off a pretty strong outing his last game out.  Karlsson made a ton of big saves against the Blue Jackets on December 21st, and he's looked good in outings against New Jersey, Anaheim and Minnesota.  I know a lot of people thought he might play on the New Years back to back, but the feeling is Karlsson needs a chance to play at home...his prior four outings have all been away from the Scotiabank Saddledome.  His last home game was the 6-5 loss to Colorado, a game Karlsson really struggled in, so it's an opportunity to impress in front of the home crowd.

No other lineup changes for the Flames, who sent Mikael Backlund and Brendan Mikkelson to the American Hockey League on Sunday morning.  The team is winning, so they will stick with the same 18 skaters in their same combinations...and they'll look like this:

Alex Tanguay-Olli Jokinen-Jarome Iginla
Curtis Glencross-Brendan Morrison-Rene Bourque
Niklas Hagman-Matt Stajan-Ales Kotalik
Tom Kostopoulos-David Moss-Tim Jackman

Robyn Regehr-Jay Bouwmeester
Mark Giordano-Cory Sarich
Adam Pardy-Anton Babchuk

The Iginla line is coming off one of their more mediocre performances in recent memory, as they were matched up against an AHL caliber blueline, yet didn't generate a ton of things in the offensive end.  They won't get a ton of great resistance tonight either, so it's a chance to return to the very strong form as of late.  The line centered by Matt Stajan really needs to start pulling it's weight though...when you've got $9.5 million invested in the trio, the play as of late is unacceptable.  Hagman has been a non factor for far too long while Matt Stajan continues to frustrate to go along with his lack of production (two goals).  And well, Ales Kotalik is...alive.

The Opponent

Well...here come the (red hot?) Islanders, who have won two straight games and six of their last ten.  That's fairly significant for a team with as many injury issues as they have, and as bad a team as they have.  After a start where a lot of people took notice, the Isles went on an EXTENDED losing streak, and are seemingly on one of the upswings of a season.  They're last two wins have come over elite hockey teams, so give them credit...they're playing scrappy, and extra time wins over Detroit and Pittsburgh have energized the locker room.

Hearing from a lot of the players this morning, the team feels like they're playing a little closer to what they're capable of.  Rick DiPietro will get the start in net after Dwayne Roloson was traded to Tampa on Saturday night; DiPietro was in for New York's win over Pittsburgh.  Here are lines and pairings for tonight:

Matt Moulson-John Tavares-P.A. Parenteau
Michael Grabner-Frans Nielsen-Josh Bailey
Blake Comeau-Rob Schremp-Jon Sim
Matt Martin-Zenon Konopka-Jesse Joensuu

Andrew MacDonald-Travis Hamonic
Mark Eaton-Milan Jurcina
Dylan Reese-Bruno Gervais

Eeek.  Depth issues seem to be the word of the day for the Isles.  They're without their top defenceman (Mark Streit) and they're without a top six forward in Kyle Okposo.  They win by playing it close to the vest and playing scrappy hockey.

The Story

The Flames have won their last two games against "teams they should win" and that's important.  These are the games Calgary needs to win, because they're not going to win every game against the teams ahead of them...but if you can bank these games against bottom feeding teams, you can pile up points.  That's what the Flames need to do at this point...so win this game, and then roll the dice in Vancouver.

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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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#51 negrilcowboy
January 03 2011, 08:37PM
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The fourth line is the second best unit. MATS stajan is brutally soft.

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#52 everton fc
January 03 2011, 08:40PM
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Hey, a team like the Isles - "Rebuilding"... Stajan's still young...

Would they take Stajan off our hands this evening?

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#53 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 08:42PM
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Well, this one sure has opened up since the Flames 2nd goal.

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#54 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 08:43PM
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everton fc wrote:

Hey, a team like the Isles - "Rebuilding"... Stajan's still young...

Would they take Stajan off our hands this evening?

Depends on his NTC. If he can say no...then no. Also, they don't seem very interested in spending money on players.

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#55 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 08:45PM
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Flames chasing + that one PP helped them reel things back in. Chances were 13-5 for CGY in the second.

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#56 Robert Cleave
January 03 2011, 08:47PM
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Corsi.

CGY +3, +11 in the period. EV shots 23-19 CGY, 14-9 in the second. I'm pretty sure that the Flames won't win many games when the only line worth a damn is the 4th.

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#57 everton fc
January 03 2011, 08:47PM
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I was kidding on the Stjan to Long Island "prayer". Honestly, who'd waive an NTC to go to Long Island? That's like waiving an NTC to play in Edmonton!

(Sorry - couldn't resist!)

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#58 negrilcowboy
January 03 2011, 08:49PM
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@Kent Wilson

Maybe he would waive the NTc if the Flames tell him to beat it,you're not in the PLAN Mats.

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#59 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 08:53PM
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everton fc wrote:

I was kidding on the Stjan to Long Island "prayer". Honestly, who'd waive an NTC to go to Long Island? That's like waiving an NTC to play in Edmonton!

(Sorry - couldn't resist!)

Heh, fair enough. Stajan's NTC is "limited" as far as I know, so it depends on what those factors are.

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#60 everton fc
January 03 2011, 08:53PM
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What happened to Di Pietro? (I'll assume the obvious)

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#61 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 08:54PM
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@Robert Cleave

I'd like to know what has happened to Glencross and Bourque. Those guys have just fallen off a cliff this year. Are they hurt? have they checked out? Just baffling.

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#62 everton fc
January 03 2011, 08:57PM
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Jackman has more value, and is more consistent, than Glencross. And I actually like Glencross.

Bourque really needs someone like Langkow by his side. Minus Daymond, Bourque has been tepid, at best. Against the Oilers, both Glencross and Bourque were sloppy. Multiple turnovers, consistently poor passing. Again, inconsistent.

Both could be expendable if things begin to deteriorate rapidly this month. Ditto Hagman. Stajan.

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#63 Robert Cleave
January 03 2011, 08:59PM
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@Kent Wilson

No clue, but this is the longest stretch of bad play that either of them has displayed in two and a half years. I don't doubt Bourque misses Langkow somewhat, but still...

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#64 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 09:05PM
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So, yeah, I just accidentally clicked out of my scoring chance count, closing the window.

FFFFUUUUUU!!

EDIT - ignore. Moved the window, didn't close it. Phew.

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#65 negrilcowboy
January 03 2011, 09:06PM
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@Kent Wilson

Bourque has been slumping since late November, just think 5 more years of contract remaining.

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#66 everton fc
January 03 2011, 09:09PM
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One of those evenings, Kent...

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#67 everton fc
January 03 2011, 09:11PM
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We'll have more than 40 SOGs... and we'll still lose... to one of the worst franchises of the century, thus far.

Again... one of those evenings....

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#68 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 09:14PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

Bourque has been slumping since late November, just think 5 more years of contract remaining.

He's been great for two seasons before this one. I'd like to know just what the hell is up with that guy right now, because up until now he's been quality.

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#69 GermanFlame
January 03 2011, 09:20PM
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everton fc wrote:

We'll have more than 40 SOGs... and we'll still lose... to one of the worst franchises of the century, thus far.

Again... one of those evenings....

I just thought that one PP in the second summarized the night for Calgary.

Laser from Iginla off the post,puck wont go in. And then right after the net is open for about 5 seconds while Jokinen screws around with the puck and doesnt bother to at least look up while Bourque is frantically tapping his stick on the ice for a pass. (Can someone get that guy some hockey sense?)

If they come back sure I will be happy and eat these next words, I just dont see it. But I hope this doesnt turn into a three game losing streak... Which having Vancouver and Detroit next up, All the more likely possibility.

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#70 SmellOfVictory
January 03 2011, 09:25PM
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I think Bourque started getting high before games.

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#71 negrilcowboy
January 03 2011, 09:25PM
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Bruno Gervais, wasn't he on the Beachcombers?

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#72 Kent Wilson
January 03 2011, 09:32PM
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That's the end of this puppy. Flames took over after the 10 minute mark of the second, but as we regularly see, digging yourself out of a hole is tough to do.

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#73 coptin_
January 03 2011, 09:36PM
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hahahahahahahahahahaha.........sorry but 5-2 to the worst team in the league,with a no name goalie playing half the game.wtf

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#74 Robert Cleave
January 03 2011, 09:39PM
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Corsi.

CGY +12. Tim Jackman +18, while the Flames' top forwards spent the night scuffling around. That formula will never win. Blech.

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#75 mikeH
January 03 2011, 09:47PM
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@negrilcowboy

Bruno Gerussi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruno_Gerussi

Nice one.

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#76 Quintana
January 03 2011, 09:51PM
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This team without Kipper is garbage......and getting old...

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#77 negrilcowboy
January 03 2011, 09:55PM
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@mikeH

The way the Flames played tonight that might not have been to far off. What a night for Lawson, man what a late Christmas present for his family, not too many 27 year old callups get to play goal in the NHL. And in your hometown.

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#78 ski
January 03 2011, 10:01PM
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I'd say they "screwed it up!"

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#79 Quintana
January 03 2011, 10:04PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Wow. Tavares may be a limited player right now, but that's quite the goal.

I'd take Tavares over any flames player!

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