FGD: Next Stop ... Pens Station

Byron Bader
December 21 2013 08:46AM

 


-via Caylin Nieto

 

 A day and a half removed from a tough OT loss against the Detroit Red Wings, the Calgary Flames (13-16-6) will face-off against the star-studded Penguins of Pittsburgh (26-10-1) in an early afternoon affair.

The Penguins are Kate Upton hot right now.  They have won six straight games and are 9-1-0 in their last ten games. Their recent run has catapulted them into 3rd place and they are now nipping at the heels of Chicago and Anaheim for 1st place overall. Impressively, they have positioned themselves among the league's best  despite superstars James Neal, Kris Letang and Eugene Malkin all having missed significant time this season.

However, the Penguins have Sidney Crosby, the world's best player.  He has been healthy all year, having played in every game this year.  This is the first time Sid's been completely healthy in a while and he has been très magnifique. He is leading the league with 51 points in 37 games, boasting a 1.38 PPG.

The last time these two teams squared off was the Flames opening game of the 2011-12 season.  Despite a late comeback effort, the Flames were torched by a Crosby-less Penguins team. Today's Flames are much worse offensively than they were two years ago and have downgraded in goal as well.  

In the 2013-14 season, the Penguins are 3rd in both goals for and goals  against.  They put the puck in the net with regularity and they do not give much either.  The Flames, on the other hand, are 21 and 26 in those respective categories. I think it's safe to say that Kari Ramo is going to have to stand on his face for the Flames to have a chance. However, if the Flames catch a playoff-type performance from Fleury all bets are off.

THE LINE-UP

Thanks to dailyfaceoffs.com, here comes ye lines...

  • Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Byron - Monahan - Hudler
  • Cammalleri - Backlund - D. Jones
  • Bouma - Colborne - McGrattan
  • Smid - Giordano
  • Butler - O'Brien
  • Russell - Brodie
  • Ramo

These are the lines right now. There won't be a morning skate so we won't know until game-time which Flames player(s) Hartley will be giving the popcorn bag to. Monahan had a pretty dreadful game last game. In fact, the whole Byron - Monahan - Hudler line wasn't great. So maybe we'll see Byron or Monahan come out?

Ramo will make his second straight start.  Hartley seems to be running a relatively fair approach with his goalies - If you win and/or play well, you'll suit up the next game. If you stink, you're riding pine.

THE OPPOSITION

  • Kunitz - Crosby - Dupuis
  • Zolnierczyk - Jokinen - Neal
  • Conner - Sutter - Vitale
  • Adams - Sill - Kobasew
  • Maata - Niskanen
  • Dumoulin - Bortuzzo
  • Samuelsson - Despres
  • Fleury

The Penguins regular roster is a little banged up to say the least as it looks like Malkin and Letang will be gone for this one.  The Pens current line-up is an interesting mix of the league's biggest star (Crosby), some capable NHLers and a couple of President's Choice No Namers.  Zolnierczyk, Sill, Dumoulin...haven't heard much of these characters. Regardless, any team with Crosby is ... well ... pretty darn good.  The Flames will need to limit his chances, as best they can, to be successful.

No idea who the goalie is going to be in this one.  The Flames have a real affinity for gettting back-up goalies so they'll probably end up getting this Zatkoff cat.  We'll have to wait and see.

SUM IT UP

The Flames are in for a tough one this afternoon, facing off against the best player in the world and one of the best and hottest teams in the league.  On the bright side, the Flames have been in every game for the last three weeks.  In that time, they have won about half the games and haven't lost a game by more than one goal.  The Flames had a great start against a much better Boston team on Tuesday.  If the Flames can jump on the Penguins early in similar fashion to that Boston game and cash in on their early chances, unlike the Boston game, I like their chances to at least make a game of it.

Game time is 11 am MT.  Grab yourself some cereal and get ready for the magic.

Fb039371a1a1b706383cb72243cb4446
Byron has a background in psychology, economics and business and is a business researcher/data analyst by day. His love for hockey is as deep as the ocean is wide. Tell him your questions and let him into your heart. Twitter: @Baderader
Avatar
#51 seve927
December 21 2013, 01:14PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props
seve927 wrote:

To be fair, that's true of almost every comment on here. ;)

Vague and subjective anyway.

Avatar
#52 Double Dion
December 21 2013, 01:16PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
0
props
Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

I dont know... i watched it super slow mo and it looks to me like a very good stick lift by crosby, not a hook. i could be wrong.but fhats how i see it.

It's hard to lift someone's stick up by the hands. Impossible actually. He didn't lift it at all, he twisted his stick blade between his hands which made him miss the puck on the pass attempt.

Avatar
#53 Carlizzle
December 21 2013, 01:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props

Good fight being put up by the boys in the 3rd.

Avatar
#54 BurningSensation
December 21 2013, 01:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
10
props

Has Paul Byron moved from 'designated AHL Vet called up in health emergencies' to 'decent 3rd line energy player'?

Avatar
#55 Carlizzle
December 21 2013, 01:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props

Colborne so close to tying it.

Avatar
#56 FlamesRule
December 21 2013, 01:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
3
props
Carlizzle wrote:

Good fight being put up by the boys in the 3rd.

This is a nice change we're seeing from the boys - Brian's got them giving effort in the third!

Avatar
#57 Carlizzle
December 21 2013, 01:30PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
0
props

Glencross and now Russell, both lower body injuries.

Avatar
#58 Clyde
December 21 2013, 01:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props

Great effort. Which def gets the next call up?

Avatar
#59 Walter White
December 21 2013, 01:37PM
Trash it!
9
trashes
+1
3
props
Carlizzle wrote:

Glencross and now Russell, both lower body injuries.

Call up Kanzig for the Canuck game please.

WW

Avatar
#60 Carlizzle
December 21 2013, 01:38PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
1
props
Clyde wrote:

Great effort. Which def gets the next call up?

Probably Breen.

Avatar
#61 Baalzamon
December 21 2013, 01:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
3
props
Walter White wrote:

Call up Kanzig for the Canuck game please.

WW

They can't. He was assigned to junior and there are too many available players for them to bring in Kanzig on an emergency basis. And that's if it was a good idea in the first place, which it isn't.

Chad Billins is the obvious choice, especially since Tyler Wotherspoon appears to be injured yet again. We'll probably see Breen at some point though. Mark Cundari is another possibility, come to think of it.

Avatar
#62 coachedpotatoe
December 21 2013, 01:55PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
11
props

It almost has to be Billings as he a pp quarterback and if Russell is out for any real time he is a natural. Breen may get it and we need to see him to decide on his future, We don't need to see D Smith as we know what he is.

It's interesting to hear the support at the moment for Byron as it was not that long ago many in FN were hammering him as part of RR trade. It may be to early to say but it is clear that many are singing a different tune the last week. I'm happy for the guy. I only caught bits and pieces of todays game as we have been out delivering Christmas Hampers. Seems once again a perfect game for a team in a rebuild, lots of character, lots of effort and a step closer to a high draft pick. Go Oilers, go sabres, Go islanders if only for the night.

Avatar
#63 Derzie
December 21 2013, 03:04PM
Trash it!
6
trashes
+1
2
props
suba steve wrote:

Or there's the other possibility:

Hartley's harsh treatment of Backlund has helped him to raise his game to a higher level.

Also the demotion of Sven was probably overdue, let him raise his level of play in the AHL the rest of this season and see where he's at at training camp next year...and be prepared to send him back again if need be.

Not a chance. Burke told him to give Backlund more ice. Look at the win column to see how well Hartley's moves are working out. We are a weak team but can do better.

Avatar
#64 Baalzamon
December 21 2013, 03:25PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
5
props

http://www.tsn.ca/world_jrs/story/?id=439493

Shinkaruk was cut. So apparently Hockey Canada isn't entirely hopeless.

Avatar
#65 EugeneV
December 21 2013, 03:42PM
Trash it!
2
trashes
+1
4
props
Carlizzle wrote:

Shots on goal Flames 10 Pens 5 Score Pens 2 Flames 0 Ramo Save% .600 2 goals in 1:19

Equals Berra starting next game.

Yeah, but the Flames are winning the Corsi battle and that MUST mean they are driving possession. ;-)

Avatar
#66 EugeneV
December 21 2013, 03:44PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
2
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

SVEN.

You're not serious, are you Kent?

Sven needs to spend 80 games in the AHL seasoning.

Avatar
#67 EugeneV
December 21 2013, 03:55PM
Trash it!
5
trashes
+1
1
props
Carlizzle wrote:

Colborne so close to tying it.

Good strong move. Shows he has game. Backlund or Sven would have gone behind the net.

He has been strong in the latter part of the game and going to the net using his drive.

Avatar
#68 EugeneV
December 21 2013, 03:56PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
+1
1
props
Clyde wrote:

Great effort. Which def gets the next call up?

Billins

Offense for offense

Avatar
#69 Clyde
December 21 2013, 05:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
EugeneV wrote:

Billins

Offense for offense

That makes the most sense. Was hoping to see Wotherspoon but someone said he is hurt.

Avatar
#70 TRAV
December 21 2013, 07:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
1
props
coachedpotatoe wrote:

It almost has to be Billings as he a pp quarterback and if Russell is out for any real time he is a natural. Breen may get it and we need to see him to decide on his future, We don't need to see D Smith as we know what he is.

It's interesting to hear the support at the moment for Byron as it was not that long ago many in FN were hammering him as part of RR trade. It may be to early to say but it is clear that many are singing a different tune the last week. I'm happy for the guy. I only caught bits and pieces of todays game as we have been out delivering Christmas Hampers. Seems once again a perfect game for a team in a rebuild, lots of character, lots of effort and a step closer to a high draft pick. Go Oilers, go sabres, Go islanders if only for the night.

Extra Likes for the Christmas Hampers stuff. Well done Coach! Merry Christmas!

Avatar
#71 coachedpotatoe
December 22 2013, 06:31AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
TRAV wrote:

Extra Likes for the Christmas Hampers stuff. Well done Coach! Merry Christmas!

And to you as well. Merry Christmas to the whole of FN.

Avatar
#72 Baalzamon
December 22 2013, 11:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
+1
0
props
Clyde wrote:

That makes the most sense. Was hoping to see Wotherspoon but someone said he is hurt.

Wotherspoon played today, so it looks like I spoke too soon when I said it appears he's injured.

Comments are closed for this article.