FGD: A Capital Matchup

Christian Roatis
October 26 2013 04:31PM

 

Ovechkin's Slap-shot
- pic via renegadeking4

 

California road swings are known to be atrocious for the Calgary Flames and most recent one (that also saw stops in Arizona and Texas) fit the bill. Five games, one win, unlimited tears and frustration.

Tonight they return to the inviting arms of the Scotiabank Saddledome and put their 2-0-1 home record on the line against the white hot Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. If you remember, the Flames opened their regular season in Washington and blew 3-0 and 4-1 leads en route to an overtime loss, so this is a rematch of sorts.

The Line Up

Curtis Glencross - Matt Stajan - David Jones
T.J. Galiardi - Mikael Backlund - Mike Cammalleri
Sven Baertschi - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma - Joe Colborne - Tim Jackman
 
Chris Butler - T.J. Brodie
Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman
Shane O'Brien - Chris Breen/Derek Smith
 
Karri Ramo

Derek Smith is in Calgary with the club so there is a possibility he plays tonight - my guess would be in place of Chris Breen who wasn't very good in Dallas. That will probably be straightened out closer to game time.

With no Lee Stempniak in the forward ranks this evening, the lines get shuffled a little bit but there appears to be a high likelihood of a Jiri/Svenahan line reunion. Stempniak has been among the teams' most consistent and relied upon offensive contributors so it's imperative the other guys step up tonight, namely the top two lines listed above. They did pretty good against Brayden Holtby in Washington earlier this year so let's hope for a repeat. Joe Colborne saw an increased role on this past road trip but for tonight, he'll rejoin Jackman and Bouma on the fourth unit.

The defence group looks to be the same one that got blitzed in Dallas on Thursday and barring a big improvement, could be in for another tough night against Alex Ovechkin and Co. The injury to Mark Giordano is bigger than words can describe for the Flames and they haven't exactly weathered that storm very well in the early going. He's on IR at the moment and will be eligible to return to the line-up next game, although those around the Flames believe this injury could be long term. Tough break for a guy who's had a sensational start to the season.

I didn't mind Karri Ramo in Dallas despite him getting shelled and outside the three goals in 61 seconds I thought he was pretty good. Of course, if Joey MacDonald was in net against the Stars it would've been 9-1 so it's a no brainer to start Ramo tonight. Am I hating on MacDonald again? Sorry, let's get back on topic. Ramo was starter on opening night in Washington and even though let in 4 goals, was pretty steady. The Flames need to thwart the cross-ice pass intended for an Ovechkin one timer on the penalty kill tonight because that thing is an absolute killer. I imagine Ramo will also be pretty motivated for tonight's contest for multiple reasons so I expect a good showing.

The Capital Opposition

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Martin Erat - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mikhail Grabovski - Joel Ward
Aaron Volpatti - Eric Fehr - Tom Wilson
 
Nate Schmidt - Mike Green
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
John Erskine - Steven Oleksy
 
Brayden Holtby

Outside of that top line and maybe Mikhail Grabovski, this Capital forward group doesn't look overly intimidating. If the Flames can stay off the penalty kill and avoid long stretches of play in their own zone, they stand a real good chance of out-scoring this opposition.

One strength the Capital's have shown this year is an ability to cycle the puck down low for a bit and then whip it out in front to an awaiting shooter in the slot, so the Flames defenseman (I'm looking at you Butler!) need to avoid running around and hold their positions firm. It's been defensive breakdowns for Calgary that has really hurt them this season and Washington has a couple of real good finishers that could make the Flames pay should they revisit their bad habits tonight.

On the blueline, Washington has a couple studs and might be the biggest problem for Calgary to handle tonight - especially that Alzner-Carlson duo. Again though, if you can keep them off the power play and out of the slot, you neutralize a big threat. With Tim Jackman playing however, staying out of the box may be easier said than done.

Brayden Holtby was a little south of bad last game so let's hope he brings the same performance to the table tonight. It confuses me a little why Neuvirth - who was excellent last meeting when he came on in relief of Holtby - isn't playing, but I can live with my confusion because I prefer Holtby in net.

Sum It Up

Just like every game they'll play this season, the Flames will be in tough tonight against an opponent that on paper looks better than them. Calgary is missing two top players and have lost 4 of their last 5 games but they are still undefeated in regulation at the Dome and they have plenty of motivation to come into tonight hungry to take two points.

I believe in the system the Flames play and when they do play it for 60 minutes, I think they stand a chance against any team in this league. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the only thing guaranteed tonight is the entertainment value.

20eba9f84d9905f9b859288e29c3e0a8
Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
Avatar
#1 dph
October 26 2013, 09:41PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Props
2
props

Glencross seems to be taking up the mantle left behind by iggy (Iggy of the last few years)... kind of soft on the puck, doesn't back check pounds the puck really hard wide of the net or at the goalie...

*sigh*

Avatar
#2 jonahgo
October 26 2013, 10:31PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
3
props

@Kent Wilson

he's been their best centre for almost a year now, and he's currently at 6:50 even strength ice time late in the third. how is this at all rational?

Avatar
#3 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 10:40PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
4
props

@jonahgo

Yeah, I don't like it at all. Your best possession pivot shouldn't be playing the least at ES any given night.

Avatar
#4 Baalzamon
October 26 2013, 10:48PM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Props
8
props

Oh, and I forgot to mention that Mickis on line 4 was gag worthy.

Avatar
#5 schevvy
October 26 2013, 06:08PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
5
props

Also, our former captain is starting to turn his game around. 3 points in the 1st period tonight, up to 8 points in his 10th game. I'm not sure what his Corsi/Fenwick numbers are looking right but I know he's leading the B's in shots. I guarantee Bergeron's line is taking the tough minutes so I'm sure that's helping Jarome out. Too bad it could never work that way here.

Avatar
#7 Parallex
October 26 2013, 08:57PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
3
props

@Kent Wilson

That's fraking criminal. Backlund on the fourth line... WTF Hartley?

Avatar
#8 Derzie
October 27 2013, 11:29AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Props
1
props

For those crying about Backlund's ice time... We won. Handily.

Avatar
#9 schevvy
October 26 2013, 06:46PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
0
props
everton fc wrote:

This is one evening I might have deployed McGrattan over Jackman. Caps have a few mugs on the ice this evening.

At this point they're both interchangeable. I'd prefer if neither dressed but one is not really better than the other.

Avatar
#10 Ryan Pike
October 26 2013, 07:55PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
0
props

Lots of wacky red light hats via Budweiser in the friendly confines tonight.

Avatar
#12 Stockley
October 26 2013, 09:04PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
0
props
Parallex wrote:

That's fraking criminal. Backlund on the fourth line... WTF Hartley?

Did Backlund sleep with Hartley's wife or something? Where does this irrational dislike and misuse come from?

Avatar
#13 Arik
October 26 2013, 09:27PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

@Kent Wilson

Although I think he could drop Colborne's OZ% a little bit. The guy's rocking a 76.5% right now. Seems...excessive.

Avatar
#14 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 09:32PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
1
props

@Arik

Backs is getting the Malhotra treatment tonight, so it's like Hartley is aping AV from his Canucks days.

Avatar
#15 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 10:19PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Props
2
props

Just 7 minutes of ice time for Backs tonight. That's just...

Avatar
#16 Baalzamon
October 26 2013, 05:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
4
props

"the Flames defenseman need to avoid running around"

We're doomed.

Avatar
#17 TRAV
October 26 2013, 05:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

A few years ago SMith was pretty decent 6 man on the back end. Breen looked a bit lost out there I would rather see Smith draw in tonite. I have a feeling our D unit is going to have their hands full with a redhot Ovie to contain...

Avatar
#18 schevvy
October 26 2013, 06:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

I'd be slightly shocked if Ovechkin didn't get at least one or two goals, he always kills the Flames. I expect a solid effort from the team tonight but who know if it'll be enough. The Flames chances in this game probably depend on the play of Holtby.

Wasn't it last time Washington came to the Dome when the Flames jumped out to a 2-0 lead only for the Caps to score 7 straight. That was super depressing. Let's hope that doesn't happen again.

Avatar
#19 everton fc
October 26 2013, 06:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

This is one evening I might have deployed McGrattan over Jackman. Caps have a few mugs on the ice this evening.

Avatar
#20 Monaertchi
October 26 2013, 08:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
3
props

Wow, you get a feel for how big Colbourne is when he stands next to Cammy.

Avatar
#21 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 08:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Well that's a decent start.

Avatar
#22 Kmp
October 26 2013, 08:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Very nice.

Avatar
#23 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 08:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Great rush by Baertschi.

Avatar
#24 Kmp
October 26 2013, 08:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Nice play by Sven.

Avatar
#25 Kmp
October 26 2013, 08:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Hudler is so good on the pp.

Avatar
#26 Kmp
October 26 2013, 08:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

No more benching for Sven.

Avatar
#27 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 08:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Sven looks great.

Avatar
#28 Ryan Pike
October 26 2013, 08:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

What a wacky start. Capitals completely flat.

Avatar
#29 jonahgo
October 26 2013, 08:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

so backlund's on the 4th line??

Avatar
#30 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 08:30PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Backlund on the 4th line with McGrattan.

Avatar
#31 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 08:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
3
props

What a terrible pile of crap that shift from SOB was.

Avatar
#32 Ryan Pike
October 26 2013, 08:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Nice response shift by Cammy/Galiardi/Colborne line.

Avatar
#33 Kmp
October 26 2013, 08:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

What a terrible pile of crap that shift from SOB was.

Smith made a nice play to break up the 2 on1 too.

Avatar
#34 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 08:50PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Chances were 11-4 for the Flames in the first, shots 17-8. They are full value for 3-1 lead.

Avatar
#35 Monaertchi
October 26 2013, 09:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

McGratts on the ice following a goal against? Because...?

Avatar
#36 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 09:22PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

@Stockley

It's somewhat rational. Hartley doesn't want either Colborne or Monahan starting too often in the d-zone and he wants Stajan on the "top line" with Glencross and Jones. Nowhere else for Backs to go.

Avatar
#37 Ryan Pike
October 26 2013, 09:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

Backlund is eating up opposition face-off men (a) in the defensive zone and (b) on the PK. Nobody can touch him.

Avatar
#38 dph
October 26 2013, 09:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Butler was lucky that shot that went wide didn't end up in our own net... 4 on 1, Ovie on the ICe, don't blast it wide and out the zone the other way.

Avatar
#39 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 09:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Chances were 5-3 Caps in the second.

Avatar
#40 prendrefeu
October 26 2013, 10:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

Does a Sven save at the line count for an extra N to his name?

Avatar
#42 prendrefeu
October 26 2013, 10:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Oh man that sequence was SWEEEEET!!!

Galiardi holds it for the line change, Caps a bit distracted, passes it to center ice, new Flames pick it up for a quick 1-2-back-of-net.

Avatar
#43 Veggie Dog
October 26 2013, 10:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

Wow, something involving Glenncross actually worked.

Avatar
#44 Lober
October 26 2013, 10:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Lets all hope that's a huge goal for GlenX were gonna need him without Gio and Stemper. Great game by flames so far

Avatar
#45 Lober
October 26 2013, 10:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Lets all hope that's a huge goal for GlenX were gonna need him without Gio and Stemper. Great game by flames so far

Avatar
#46 prendrefeu
October 26 2013, 10:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
3
props

Rad. Thanks Flames (and Flames Nation). Great win. Glad to see the kids (and supporting vets) get a little confidence back after that frustrating road trip.

Emphasis on frustrating.

Avatar
#47 Kent Wilson
October 26 2013, 10:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Chances were 3-3 in the third.

Avatar
#48 prendrefeu
October 26 2013, 10:40PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
5
props

Also: Ramo -> Rambo. He's a keeper for this year. No?

Avatar
#49 Baalzamon
October 26 2013, 10:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
8
props

Good game, good win. Very impressed with Russell and Colborne in particular.

Great game for Ramo too. Glad he was given the chance to put Dallas behind him.

Avatar
#50 Monaertchi
October 26 2013, 10:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
6
props

Cammy may be the best interview I've seen. Not in a Roenick sort of way, but a thoughtful, intelligent sort of way.

Comments are closed for this article.