FGD: Sweet Second Chances

Ryan Pike
October 04 2013 12:39PM

 

Blue Jackets team
- pic via Avneesh Balyan

 

After a spirited, albeit disappointing, game in the capital of America on Thursday night, the Flames travel to the great state of Ohio for the first of two meetings with the Columbus Blue Jackets. It'll be the second game in as many nights for the Flames – and the first set of 12 back-to-backs this season – while it'll be the first game of this campaign for the Jackets. Calgary will get a second chance to make a first impression, as well as a second chance to spoil a home-opener.
 
Oh, and Columbus is also the site of this piece of history.

Rob Kerr and Charlie Simmer have this one for you on Sportsnet West starting at 5pm MT, while the dynamic radio duo of Pete and Pete (Maher and Loubardias) have it on the Fan 960 at that same time. FN will have this covered on the Twitters and in the comments, as well as the usual post-game shenanigans.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames are playing in the back half of a back-to-back; in 2012-13, they were an identical 3-6-0 in the front and back-halfs of B2B's. If both games were on the road, odds are the Flames lost both of them, as they were just lousy on the road. If nothing else, last night's tremendous effort – while disappointing due to the blown lead and loss – is a good sign that the team will make things difficult for the home squad for once.
 
Expect to see some new faces in the line-up, as both Roger Millions and the Sun's Wes Gilbertson – both travelling with the team – noted on Twitter that there were some injuries, perhaps to Matt Stajan and Lee Stempniak. Per DailyFaceoff.com, the projected line-up (pending some scratches and swaps).
 
Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Hudler – Backlund – Galiardi
Baertschi – Monahan – Jones
Bouma – Street/Colborne – McGrattan
 
Brodie – Giordano
Wideman – Russell
Butler – O'Brien
 
MacDonald
Ramo
 
Joey MacDonald starts for the Flames in the back-half of a back-to-back. MacDonald was just fine in the pre-season, and was basically just fine throughout last year, although “fine” was better than whatever Miikka Kiprusoff was. We're hearing via the Twitter that Joe Colborne will likely play (and I'd suspect that means Tim Jackman and/or Derek Smith might cycle in), but I suspect a few guys are banged up and will be warm-up decisions.

THE OPPOSITION

Columbus raises the curtain on a season with rather high expectations. They went 24-17-7 last year, narrowly missing the playoffs (by a point) on the back of a disgustingly great Sergei Bobrovsky. They added Nathan Horton, will get a healthy Marian Gaborik back and add in Ryan Murray, who's great if he's not injured. They begin their first season in the Eastern Conference with a game against one of the Western teams they've had the most success against traditionally.
 
But hey, with Horton injured, it's basically the same Columbus team as last year. Via our pals at DailyFaceoff.com, the projected Jackets lines:
 
Jenner – Dubinsky – Gaborik
Calvert – Johansen – Atkinson
Letestu – Anisimov – Comeau
Umberger – MacKenzie – Foligno
 
Johnson-Tyutin* (Prout)
Murray-Wisniewski
Nikitin-Prout* (Savard/Erixon)
 
Bobrovsky
McElhinney

No Jared Boll. And Fedor Tyutin is doubtful due to an injury and apparently Jackets coach Todd Richards will update his status after morning skate. The Jackets site has Dalton Prout on the first pairing and Tim Erixon (remember him?) as Nikitin's partner, although beat reporter Aaron Portzline suggests that Erixon sits and David Savard plays. Last word (via the Columbus Dispatch) is that Tyutin is a game-time decision.
 
Lots of Flames connections here! Johansen and Baertschi are old Portland Winterhawks teammates! Comeau played here until he was traded at the deadline for a pick that became Eric Roy! Erixon was traded for a bunch of guys in Abbotsford (Roman Horak, Tyler Wotherspoon and Markus Granlund) while becoming a fringe NHLer, albeit a talented one. McElhinney was McBackup in Calgary, not to be confused with Joey “MacBackup” MacDonald.
 
Overall, the Jackets have great goaltending (maybe), an underrated defensive group and an underwhelming group of top nine forwards in Horton's absense. The Jackets should be a strong test for the Flames - because every team will be this year - but they don't boast the sort of game breaking talent the Caps do.

SUM IT UP

With one point in their pockets already, the Flames have – by their recent standards – had a fairly good start to their opening road trip. If they can put together another solid 60 minutes, perhaps they can get another point against Columbus.
 
Then again, it may be a tall order, as the Flames historically are snake-bit in Ohio – they have an 8-15-1 lifetime record at Nationwide Arena – and the Jackets have Sergei Bobrovsky, who's really good. But they managed to beat the Jackets in Columbus last year with Leland Irving of all people in net, so anything can happen if they work hard and keep their sticks on the ice and hockey cliche.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#51 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 07:18PM
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Backlund has started to find his legs a bit after a sluggish first half. Needs to get more assertive in the offensive zone still.

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#52 Schmenkley
October 04 2013, 07:30PM
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McBrutal

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#53 HongKongHockeyFan
October 04 2013, 07:34PM
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@Reidja and yomamen11

Well I'll be very happy to proven wrong! I admit I am FOS, I'm not and never will be a professional hockey scout.

That said, it will be awesome if he does turn into legitimate top two centre but I certainly don't see the same potential you folks are seeing then.

And yes Ben Hanowski is pretty slow, too slow from I can see.

Back to game folks.

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#54 ChinookArch
October 04 2013, 07:38PM
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Flames earned that one!

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#55 Bezer
October 04 2013, 07:39PM
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Good effort on a back to back .. colour me impressed

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#56 prendrefeu
October 04 2013, 07:42PM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=E5Adx0RXpvg#t=10

/game.

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#57 FireOnIce
October 04 2013, 07:56PM
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@Parallex

Meh. You really think anyone would pay much for Stajan at this point in his career? With rumors that he just doesn't give a crap about hockey anymore and oft-poor conditioning, I'm pretty sure it would take a 50 goal season to make him worth anything.

His injury hurts the Flames' chance of winning a lot of games. That IS excellent. They don't have to try to lose. Better draft positioning.

Would you rather a low first from a Cup conference finalist (which are usually the teams looking to go deep + willing to overpay for garbage), or would you rather place low in the league standings and get a shot at a top 3 pick? Cammalleri is who you want to get healed. He'll be worth something.

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#58 kittensandcookies
October 04 2013, 07:56PM
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Team plays two games and actually shows up for both. They deserved this win. Hell McBackup stunk and thy still won. I think it just goes to show just how disinterested previous players were.

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#59 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 08:10PM
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@beloch

lol. almost as bizarre as starting the season in Washington.

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#60 Craig
October 05 2013, 03:38AM
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Jibmeister wrote:

A lot of hate for MacDonald.. Was just average, but not ridiculously bad or anything..

That line is straight from macbackups resume.

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#61 Super_Gio
October 04 2013, 12:53PM
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That is the best video I've seen ever. Hope to see more the youngins on the PP tonight.

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#62 Jeff In Lethbridge
October 04 2013, 01:39PM
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yay, another vet out! things looking up

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#63 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 02:45PM
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Looks like Stempniak is good to go according to Roger Millions.

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#64 everton fc
October 04 2013, 04:01PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

LOL Jack Johnson. Can't wait to see him get repeatedly lambasted by Baertschi.

If Stajan and Stempniak are out:

Glencross - Backlund - Hudler

Baertschi - Monahan - Jones

Galiardi - Colborne - Street

Jackman - Bouma - McGrattan

// yikes.

Since they're not absolutely certain one or both isn't playing, they probably don't have time to call up a Knight or Horak.

Looks like the 4th line's reunited, if Stempniak's in.

If Monahan's out, perhaps Bouma centres the 3rd line, and Street stays between McGrattan and Jackman, though both play RW.

(Did I mention we have no depth?!)

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#65 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 04:05PM
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@everton fc

I'd argue they have nothing but depth. There's a bunch of guys in the AHL who could fill in competently (Knight, Horak, maybe Granlund, Hanowski, Bancks, Ferland) and this is all with Cammalleri and Stajan hurt.

I think if they move someone off line 4 to play line 3 (especially at center) it's Street. Hartley seems to love the guy.

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#66 everton fc
October 04 2013, 04:10PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

I'd argue they have nothing but depth. There's a bunch of guys in the AHL who could fill in competently (Knight, Horak, maybe Granlund, Hanowski, Bancks, Ferland) and this is all with Cammalleri and Stajan hurt.

I think if they move someone off line 4 to play line 3 (especially at center) it's Street. Hartley seems to love the guy.

I hear you, I suppose. I'd love to see Ferland up. Or Horak. And I don't necessarily disagree with you on Street, who I also like. Bouma and Street on a 4th line - I like this a lot, so far.

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#67 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 04:19PM
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@everton fc

I'm actually pretty ambivalent about Street, myself. He doesn't seem to do much most of the time, makes maybe a double handful of nice plays here and there, and gets obliterated on seemingly every shift.

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#68 beloch
October 04 2013, 04:26PM
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Stempniak had 8 shots last night! If he ever learns how to play like that every night...

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#69 SmellOfVictory
October 04 2013, 04:53PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

It wouldn't surprise me if Stajan is hurt...he sat for a long portion of the second period.

Colborne will come in for sure. He probably jumps over Monahan to a top-6 role if Stajan is indeed out. If Stemps is hurt too, Jackman joins the 4th line and Street moves up.

Oh man, Street in a top 6 role! I can't wait to revisit that little experiment.

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#70 SmellOfVictory
October 04 2013, 04:54PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Almost no one seems to have noticed it, but Stempniak has been one of the Flames better forwards for two straight seasons. He's not going to the all-start game or anything, but the dude is a really solid player.

Probably top 3 forward for the Flames, given their existing guys. I don't know why he gets no respect.

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#71 EducatedHockeyFan
October 04 2013, 04:54PM
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Lines according to Millions: baertschi Monahan Stempniak, Bouma Street McGrattan, Glencross Colborne Jones, -Galiardi backlund Hudler

I really hope they find some lines with chemistry and stick with 'em(assuming people can stay healthy)

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#72 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 04:57PM
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@EducatedHockeyFan

I doubt those lines persist all game. Stempniak, Glencross and Backlund are the guys who have to play the most and he has them spread over three different lines.

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#73 MichaelD
October 04 2013, 05:10PM
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@KingQuong

I wrote my comment just as you must have been posting yours. I feel for you, it's awful. It makes me like the commentary of peter loubardias and charlie simmer

And I used to someone that made from of them

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#74 KingQuong
October 04 2013, 05:15PM
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@MichaelD

No wonder I have high blood pressure every thing they say just makes me mad did you hear him call Jody Shelley "Iconic"???

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#75 schevvy
October 04 2013, 05:15PM
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Let's do this.

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#76 MichaelD
October 04 2013, 05:18PM
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@KingQuong

Haha, I know. They don't hire hockey people, just people that like using as many words as possible

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#77 KingQuong
October 04 2013, 05:18PM
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@MichaelD

At least im in the city and can mute the feed and turn on the radio and listen to the play by play that way.

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#78 Mitch P
October 04 2013, 05:26PM
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Was just about to write how good that PK was looking... 3/4 this year! Wheeeee...

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#79 ChinookArch
October 04 2013, 05:30PM
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Nice to see some speedster on this team. NICE!

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#80 Mitch P
October 04 2013, 05:30PM
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This fox feed is a special kind of horrible. The've spent about 5 minutes of air time talking about how Boone Jenner's nickname is the "Jennerator".

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#81 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 05:34PM
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Nice goal, Galiardi.

It occurs to me suddenly that Street is pretty much the definitive penalty killer. Safe, mostly intelligent play, decent mobility. I may not like him all that much, but I have no problem with him as a fourth line center.

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#82 ChinookArch
October 04 2013, 05:36PM
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Galiardi's goal almost makes up for yesterday's dumb penalty.

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#83 schevvy
October 04 2013, 05:40PM
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@Kent Wilson

I don't think I needed such a horrific visual

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#84 KingQuong
October 04 2013, 05:41PM
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@Mitch P

Theres a sportsnet feed i've found online what site do you use?

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#85 Mitch P
October 04 2013, 05:42PM
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@KingQuong

I'm watching on Centre Ice. It's actually pretty funny.

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#86 Mitch P
October 04 2013, 05:46PM
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Nope... McBackup works just fine. That rebound... aye yie....

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#87 thymebalm
October 04 2013, 05:47PM
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nice rebound control?

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#88 Baalzamon
October 04 2013, 05:58PM
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Can someone explain to me why people defend Jones? That period was pretty typical of him. A barrage of abyssmal decisions and mishandled pucks interspersed infrequently with baffling strokes of brilliance.

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#89 Scary Gary
October 04 2013, 06:09PM
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@ChinookArch

"Stay within yourself"

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#90 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 06:20PM
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Backlund's line can't seem to get anything going in this one.

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#91 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 06:44PM
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Not a lot to talk about in the second.

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#92 wot96
October 04 2013, 06:47PM
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I will take that second over last night's for the next 80 games.

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#93 thymebalm
October 04 2013, 06:48PM
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Flames got the puck fed to them that period. 2nd periods are the worst for us.

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#94 HongKongHockeyFan
October 04 2013, 06:50PM
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Joe Colborne...now I now why he was traded for a fourth round pick...soft and slow...no top 6 potential here from what I can see...

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#95 yomamen11
October 04 2013, 07:16PM
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@HongKongHockeyFan

I see him for a first time and my first impression is, that he is a good and pretty fast skater, not slow at all. If he is slow than what Hanowski is?

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#96 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 07:21PM
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Boom. What a shot by Hudler. backcheck by Backlund in the neutral zone turns it around.

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#97 yomamen11
October 04 2013, 07:23PM
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What a shot of Hudler! He deserves it tonight.

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#98 Kent Wilson
October 04 2013, 07:23PM
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And Glenx gets a tap in. Maybe he'll be a bit more engaged now.

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#99 Parallex
October 04 2013, 07:26PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Boom. What a shot by Hudler. backcheck by Backlund in the neutral zone turns it around.

That kind of stuff is why I love Backs so much. I was hoping he'd get rewarded with something for the boxscore for his great work in the 2nd half.

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#100 ChinookArch
October 04 2013, 07:28PM
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Thank you MacBackup!

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