FGD: Enjoy It

Nation World HQ
December 22 2011 11:52AM

When the Calgary Flames play their next home game after tonight, they'll have the luxury of having 24 of their final 40 games at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  As they play their last home game before seven on the road, that thought is probably a long way off, and so it should be.  For the final time in 2011, the Flames are at home, and they've got quite the test taking on the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 pm, TSN and Sportsnet 960).

Calgary snapped their four game losing skid Tuesday night with a fairly solid 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild and they get a little bit of a break, getting the Red Wings on the second half of a back-to-back set.  On the other hand, when the Flames roll into Vancouver tomorrow, they'll be in the exact same situation as Detroit, so it evens out in the long run.  Tonight is the third meeting between the Flames and Red Wings this season; each team has won one so far.

The Lineup

A surprise injury will see another change to the Calgary Flames lineup tonight, as Alex Tanguay won't play tonight with an undisclosed injury.  Tanguay played on Tuesday night against the Wild and there's no word as to when Tanguay was injured; all Brent Sutter would say is that he was surprised he won't be in the lineup.  Greg Nemisz was called up yesterday and will play tonight while Brett Carson was placed on IR with an upper body injury.

Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-Jarome Iginla
Blake Comeau-Mikael Backlund-Lee Stempniak
Paul Byron-Roman Horak-Greg Nemisz
Tom Kostopoulos-Brendan Morrison-Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester-Chris Butler
Derek Smith-Scott Hannan
T.J. Brodie-Cory Sarich

Good to see Backlund reunited with Comeau and Stempniak, which has been a very effective line for the Calgary Flames.  They've been very strong with possession and they tend to spend more time in the offensive end than not.  The only thing I'd like to see more of is scoring chances, as the trio hasn't done as effective a job as they could translating their impressive puck time to meaningful chances.

The third line will be interesting to say the least, and when it's all said and done, they may end up getting less ice time than the Morrison trio.  With just 50 games combined between Byron, Horak, and Nemisz, we're not talking about the most experienced line in the world.  That said, it's a nice glimpse at what could be down the road so that'll fun to watch.

Miikka Kiprusoff gets the start in net.

The Opponent

Following a 4-2 loss in Vancouver last night, Detroit comes in with wins in 12 of their last 15 games and have dispelled any questions about them that may have surfaced during their early season six game losing skid.  They remain the best possession team in the National Hockey League sitting second both in shots for (33.8) and shots against (27.1) and they continue to be lead by the outstanding duo of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Currently on seperate lines, Detroit's elite pair have typically stupid possession numbers themselves, leading the way for a group that is basically in the plus across the board (Cory Emmerton not withstanding).  There aren't very many weak links on this squad, which is why I never really bought into the "Detroit might be on the way down" talk heading into the season and early on when they had hit the skids a little.

Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Jiri Hudler
Dan Cleary-Darren Helm-Drew Miller
Cory Emmerton-Justin Abdelkader-Tomas Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom-Ian White
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Jonathon Ericsson-Jakub Kindl

Goaltending has been a downfall on this team in the past, but not this year, as Jimmy Howard continues to prove doubters wrong, shining in even the most advanced of statistical categories.  His .940 even strength save percentage comes while playing in 29 of Detroit's games so far; Ty Conklin has seen just five games to this point with just one win to go along with his pedestrian numbers.  It'll be Conklin starting tonight.

The Story

It's Calgary's last home game of 2011, so the team would like to go out on a strong note, and maybe they can take advantage of some fortunate circumstances with the opponent they're playing tonight.  It's Vancouver who catches the good fortune tomorrow, so a win tonight could really go a long way in making Calgary's Christmas break a good one.

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We are the people that keep this whole circus running. We get no love but get to see Wanye freak out about stuff in person which is kind of a trade off.
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#1 Kevin R
December 22 2011, 11:59AM
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Hey Pat! With the word that Gio has started light skating, do we have a better time line on his return? After the type of injury he got, it blew my mind he was back on skates at all. Quite the athlete.

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#2 the-wolf
December 22 2011, 12:02PM
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Maybe they can take advantage of Conklin being in net.

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#3 Flamin Cannot's
December 22 2011, 12:09PM
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It is about time the flamers had a "kid line" Paul Byron-Roman Horak-Greg Nemisz I like it.

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#4 RKD
December 22 2011, 12:18PM
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Gio starting to skate is definitely a good sign, but he's probably still a little ways away.

I expect the Flames to play hard tonight against the Red Wings. The best thing is for the Flames not to sit back because I'm sure the Wings will be coming in mad after the loss to Vancouver.

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#5 Bob in the Abbey
December 22 2011, 12:21PM
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Yeah, the "kid" line should be interesting to watch, I know fans will be curious to see them. Am I alone in thinking that Darren Helm is undervalued due to the talent around him? It's starting to look like Carson is a health risk, but hopefully he can recover and stay healthy for longer than a couple of weeks.

As for Gio, I heard he's still around 4 weeks from getting back into the line-up. It's not the type of injury you want to rush back from so I suspect the Flames will be cautious with him.

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#6 redricardo
December 22 2011, 12:24PM
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Any word on if we can expect to see Irving in any part of our back-to-back here?

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#7 redricardo
December 22 2011, 12:27PM
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@Bob in the Abbey

Unless Carson plays a whole lot better than he did in his couple games back, he can spend the rest of the year on injured reserve!

Do we know what the deal was with him? Was he playing injured, and thus playing like my Grandma? Or was he just really far behind the curve... and thus playing like my Grandma? Either way, a very underwhelming few games from Carson so far

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#8 Kent Wilson
December 22 2011, 12:36PM
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The kid line might be intriguing to some, but it strikes me as terrifying. Particularly against a club the Red Wings. At least the Flames are at home and Sutter can do his most to shelter them.

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#9 the forgotten man
December 22 2011, 12:42PM
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Flamin Cannot's wrote:

It is about time the flamers had a "kid line" Paul Byron-Roman Horak-Greg Nemisz I like it.

Wow, I just had a cool idea...

We could call this line the "Young Guns"?

Kind of a playful ripoff of that Cheesy late 80s-early 90s Western.

Since the "Every Game Matters" is working out so well, maybe the "Young Guns" would deflect attention from the dreck that most of the Veterans bring to each game.

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#10 the-wolf
December 22 2011, 01:01PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The kid line might be intriguing to some, but it strikes me as terrifying. Particularly against a club the Red Wings. At least the Flames are at home and Sutter can do his most to shelter them.

I say throw them to the wolves and see what we got.

But then I've already this season off.

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#11 Pat Steinberg
December 22 2011, 02:08PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Hey Pat! With the word that Gio has started light skating, do we have a better time line on his return? After the type of injury he got, it blew my mind he was back on skates at all. Quite the athlete.

Won't get any word on Gio returning until after Christmas. It's not imminent it seems, however.

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#12 Pat Steinberg
December 22 2011, 02:09PM
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redricardo wrote:

Any word on if we can expect to see Irving in any part of our back-to-back here?

My gut says no...likely in next week's back-to-back.

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#13 loudogYYC
December 22 2011, 03:12PM
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@Kent Wilson

I may be wrong, but Sutter never makes a huge effort to shelter anyone on this team.

For the 3 kids sake I hope he does, cuz a team like Detroit will definitely expose any weakness' they have.

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#14 Bob in the Abbey
December 22 2011, 03:17PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The kid line might be intriguing to some, but it strikes me as terrifying. Particularly against a club the Red Wings. At least the Flames are at home and Sutter can do his most to shelter them.

As Pat pointed out, I expect them to see minimal ice time unless they can prove they can skate with Wings.

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#15 Bob in the Abbey
December 22 2011, 03:19PM
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the forgotten man wrote:

Wow, I just had a cool idea...

We could call this line the "Young Guns"?

Kind of a playful ripoff of that Cheesy late 80s-early 90s Western.

Since the "Every Game Matters" is working out so well, maybe the "Young Guns" would deflect attention from the dreck that most of the Veterans bring to each game.

Young Guns, huh? Let's not and say we did...oh wait, now I remember.

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#16 SmellOfVictory
December 22 2011, 04:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The kid line might be intriguing to some, but it strikes me as terrifying. Particularly against a club the Red Wings. At least the Flames are at home and Sutter can do his most to shelter them.

Nemisz was teammates with Hall in junior, though! That counts for... uh...

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#17 44stampede
December 22 2011, 06:26PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The kid line might be intriguing to some, but it strikes me as terrifying. Particularly against a club the Red Wings. At least the Flames are at home and Sutter can do his most to shelter them.

I almost had my coffee coming out through my nose after this comment :)

Merry Christmas all. Hope this year (home game) ends on a good note.

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