December 12 2013 01:29PM
- stick tap to @Notbaertschi for grabbing this beauty.
The Flames are two days removed from an emotional game against the Bruins on Tuesday, that saw the return of Jarome Iginla to the Saddledome for the first time since he was traded last Spring. After the emotions settled after a raucous ovation to start things off, the Bruins eventually got their game going in the 3rd period, beating the Flames 2-1.
Tonight, hoping to get back into the win column, the Flames (11-15-4) host the Brothers Staal and the Hurricanes (13-13-6). The game is the first in the post-Jay Feaster era, after he was let go of the Flames GM role this morning. Brian Burke has taken over as Interim GM for now. While the impact won’t be felt tonight, player movements will certainly ramp up in the coming months.
As for the match up tonight, the Flames and Hurricanes play in different conferences and have only played each other a handful of times. As a result, the rivalry is essentially non-existent. However, one thing to watch tonight is to see how Elias Lindholm performs for the Hurricanes. At the 2013 draft, Lindholm and Sean Monahan were both considered high-calibre prospects that would go early in the draft. In fact, both prospects were estimated to go between 5th and 7th overall in the first round of the draft. The two prospects were so close in their skill sets that the Flames fans were not sure who they would rather the Flames choose come draft day.
The Hurricanes made the decision easy for the Flames by choosing Lindholm in the 5 spot, leaving Monahan to the Flames at the 6 spot. As of today, Monahan’s leading the votes for who got the better prospect with strong two-way play and 15 points in 24 games. Lindholm, although looking more comfortable lately, had a slow start with the Canes and hasn’t looked nearly as good. He has registered only 7 points in 20 games. Nevertheless, with Monahan out with an injury, many eyes will be on the Hurricane’s prospect tonight to see what the Flames might have missed out on.
As always, thanks to our dudes at dailyfaceoff.com for the combos. Here we go...
- Cammalleri –Stajan –Stempniak
- Galiardi –Backlund – D. Jones
BaertschiGlencross – Colborne – Hudler
- B. Jones – Byron – McGrattan
- Smid –Giordano
- Russell – Brodie
- Butler – O’Brien
TJ Galiardi is going to get back in the line-up after being out a couple weeks with back problems. It looks like he’ll line up with Backs and D.Jones while Lance Bouma will come out of the line-up. Also there’s a chance that Glen-X is going to be back in the line-up tonight as well. As a result, Blair Jones, Paul Byron or most probably Sven Baertschi (I hope not) will come out and the lines will be completely different. As such, the above will be irrelevant. We will adjust as we get more news this afternoon.
That D, I don’t hate it. The Russell – Brodie pairing has looked good for the most part. Gio and Smid as the shutdown duo ain’t too shabby. Butler and O’Brien rounding out the bottom pairing isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen either. Once Wideman returns we'll really have a nice looking group.
Ramo appears to be getting the start tonight.
Note: Alrighty then. Looks like Sven's heading to Abby. So there's that. Gonna guess Glencross is back in.
- Skinner – E. Staal – Ruutu
- Gerbe – J. Staal – Lindholm
- Tlusty – Nash –
DwyerSemin Westgarth– Dwyer – Malholtra – Dvorak
- Faulk – Sekera
- Murphy – Hainsey
- Gleason – Harrison
The Hurricanes top six, even without the always talented and rarely engaged Semin, who’s out with an injury, looks pretty good. That being said, the Staal brothers don’t appear to be their usual selves this year, offensively speaking. Jordan Staal, who came to Carolina to play with big brother Eric a few years ago, is on pace for 33 points this year. That would be his worst total since his sophomore year. Conversely, Eric Staal, usually good for 70-80 points, is on pace for 62 points. That would be his worst total of his entire NHL career.
Note: I spoke too soon. Looks like Semin will be in the line-up tonight after missing 12 games.
Carolina’s D looks pretty mediocre. Faulk and Murphy are young with significant upside and Sekera brings some good things. Other than that it’s pretty rough. The Flames, while not having quite the offensively gifted forwards as the Canes, certainly appear to have them beat on the backend.
SUM IT UP
The Flames are looking to get back on the winning side of things and continue their decent run of late, having won three of their last five games. Based on Burke's comments this morning, to get in his good books, the Flames would be best served to not give up a late lead tonight. The teams are relatively equal. They stand only six points apart.
The Hurricanes might have more offensive weapons but the Flames have a superior defense core so it should be an even match up. The Flames and the Hurricanes have not met too many times but in the past two games between the two teams, both very close games, there were 23 goals scored in total. Hopefully we’re in for a night of old school river hockey!