FGD: Flames Host Roy's Boys

Taylor McKee
December 06 2013 11:52AM

 

 

Yikes, I would not have wanted to be in that Avalanche dressing room last night. 

I am guessing things were not to pleasant after the Avs (19-7-0), the Flames opponent tonight, were embarrassed 8-2 by the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night in Edmonton. Consequently, the Avalanche will likely not be in a great mood tonight when they head to Hoth Calgary to play a Flames team that is on a two-game winning streak. 

For the first time this season, the Flames managed to allow fewer than two goals in two consecutive games. The Flames will need to continue this solid defensive play against an Avs team with a lot of weapons up front.

THE ENEMY

The Avs starting the season on an absolutely torrid pace, climbing to the top of the Western Conference for a while. Things are beginning to settle for them of late, as they are 5-5-0 in their last ten.

Here's their roster courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com!

  • Landeskog - Stastny - Parenteau
  • O'Reilly - Duchene - Mackinnon
  • McGinn - Mitchell - Talbot
  • Macleod - Cliche - Bordeleau
  • Hejda - Johnson
  • Benoit - Guenin
  • Barrie - Holden
  • Giguere 

 

As you can see, their roster is fairly top-heavy with a lot (like, a ton) of skill up front and a fairly meh bottom six. The Flames will likely try to force the Avs to play a physical, muddy style of hockey tonight in order to compensate for the speed and offensive prowess of the Avs top six forwards. Fans will not be treated to the return of Alex Tanguay tonight as he is on IR with a knee injury.

On the back end, the Avs are very young. If the Flames are going to win this game, they will have to exploit the inexperience of some of these D men and create turnovers. It also appears as though Flames fans would get to see the return of Cory Sarich either, as he is not listed in their starting roster. So, don't bother wearing his jersey to the Dome tonight.

In net, the Flames get J.S Giguere, as Varlamov was the goaltender of record in last night's 8-2 shelling at Rexall.

THE LOCALS

A few changes from the roster that beat Phoenix on Wednesday but it will largely be the same squad, minus a goon-swap. Here is the roster thanks to our friends at Daily Faceoff:

  • Cammalleri - Stajan - Stempniak
  • Hudler - Backlund - D.Jones
  • Baertschi - *Colborne* - B. Jones
  • Bouma - Byron - MacDermid
  • Russell - Brodie
  • Smid - Giordano
  • Butler - O'Brien
  • Ramo

There is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the Flames roster this morning with Joe Colborne missing the morning skate with flu-like symptoms. He will be a gametime decision. Yesterday, Brian McGrattan left practice early with an apparent knee problem. This led to the recall of newly acquired Tim Jackman body-double Lane MacDermid from Abby (Max Reinhart going the other way). For a brief moment there was some thought, however fleeting, that the Flames might try to play tonight without a facepuncher but alas, that doesn't seem to be in the cards this season. 

Backlund had a very strong game Wednesday against Phoenix, playing 14:02 and scoring the game winning goal in the second period. Obviously, playing with better linemates is going to help his production but what is more important is the fact that he got a chance to play regular minutes last game. Backlund had a chance to get comfortable in a game and start to make plays rather than doing his best to make something happen with his six minutes of ice with the thugs. Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue in the upcoming weeks but honestly, with the state of flux this roster has been in so far this season, who knows?

Karri Ramo drew even more praise from the coaching staff after his performance on Wednesday, with one journalist tweeting that the goalie competition is "heating up." Well, this seems like a gross mischaracterization but if you want to call one goalie stopping pucks semi-consistently at an NHL league-average level and the other one...just starting a lot, then sure, things are getting hot!

IN SUMMARY

The Flames are looking to put three solid games together for basically the first time this season. They will have to contend with a pissed-off Avalanche squad who likely got a pretty, um stern, talking to from their coach following their last performance.

Hopefully, the Flames can take advantage of some over-exuberance early and tired legs late and get their third win in a row.

112039ec99211abeba03b81d364735ec
Taylor splits time between UVIC and Calgary studying history. Taylor likes the Flames, the Cannons, Buckshot, and the Oxford comma. Taylor scored on his own net on dome ice when he was 8. Twitter: @TaylorMcKee_
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#1 lionlager
December 06 2013, 11:57AM
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Got a reaaal bad feeling about this one.

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#2 Byron Bader
December 06 2013, 12:07PM
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Those first two Avs lines are deadly. I concur with that bad feeling. Franchise is going to have to keep up the beast for the Flames tonight.

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#3 Kevin R
December 06 2013, 12:13PM
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lionlager wrote:

Got a reaaal bad feeling about this one.

Me too. I see us leading after 2 periods only to allow 3 goals in the 3rd to lose something like 5-3. I would of preferred they sleep walked a win in Edmonton like Phoenix did.

I must say, I didn't like Russell at the start of the year, saw him as another tiny dman when we needed a bruising beast back their, but this kid reminds me of Brodie, he is so smart & so slick with the puck, I think like Brodie, he is going to just get better & better & we will have 2 Brodie type dmen in our top 4. What a steal that trade was. This kid is really seizing the opportunity he never had in St Lou. Thumbs high!

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#4 Parallex
December 06 2013, 12:45PM
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lionlager wrote:

Got a reaaal bad feeling about this one.

Likewise.

Interesting news about Colborne...Mickis might get some PP minutes with Byron pulling PK duty if he's out. The plan has to be to attack that Aves Blueline... it's short on talent and experience.

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#5 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 12:46PM
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I quite like Russel too now. He looked completely overmatched by better players to start the season, but his good qualities seem to outweigh the bad. At the very least, he's a great return for a 4th rounder.

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#6 beloch
December 06 2013, 12:52PM
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If Ramo delivers a quality start tonight his season sv% could finally break through the 0.900 barrier! (0.902 was the sterling standard set by MacBackup last season.)

Am I the only one who, when I hear the name Lane MacDermid, immediately think of the actor Ian McDiarmid and his most famous role, Emperor Palpatine? If the music boys are on the ball they'll play the imperial march when he hits the ice! Or possibly when he hits the box...

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#7 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 12:53PM
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BTW - The Avs and Flames have almost the exact same underlying numbers at ES. The difference in record is thanks to the Avs save percentage of 94.0% at 5on5 so far this year (which obviously won't last). They have the highest PDO in the league so far.

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#8 beloch
December 06 2013, 01:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I quite like Russel too now. He looked completely overmatched by better players to start the season, but his good qualities seem to outweigh the bad. At the very least, he's a great return for a 4th rounder.

Russel seems to have been an underused asset by both the Blues and BJ's, at least in the latter portion of his tenure with them. He was always given a fair bit of shelter but had good possession stats. Perhaps he shouldn't be playing in the top 4 on a good team, but with Wideman or Giordano out he slots nicely into the Flames top 4. Maybe he's taken a step forwards this season too. He had real chemistry with Wideman in the offensive zone. We'll have to see what he can manage with Brodie as a partner.

Another interesting thing is that Smid is penciled into the second pairing tonight. In previous games, his minutes were split between the third pairing and the top 4, probably so Hartley could avoid playing two really terrible defenders at the same time. Will this continue, or is the Butler/O'Brian BOB pair (short for boyohboyohboyohgawdohboy) actually going to be a thing? Yikes!

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#10 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 01:15PM
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@Taylor McKee

I think they'll fall off and get bumped out of the mix.

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#11 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 01:28PM
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I should be clear that the Avs and Flames close in general 5on5 possession, but Colorado is close to average in score close situations (Flames are still below average). Still, COL is nowhere near as good as their record suggests.

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#12 Byron Bader
December 06 2013, 01:35PM
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@Kent Wilson

So what you're saying is I shouldn't be running Varlamov as my number one goalie in my fantasy league then? Last place...here I come.

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#13 RexLibris
December 06 2013, 01:36PM
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Probably worth noting that the Avs/Oilers game was close in the 2nd until Perron made it 4-2.

Dubnyk and some less-chaotic defense allowed the team to weather a storm of shots and a 5-3.

In fact, if you want to go by the numbers the Oilers were killed in the CF% (37.3%) but had a crazy 18.8 shooting %.

Hall, despite his four points, Gagner and Yakupov as a line gave up a lot of chances.

So basically, if the Avalanche play that game again with some better goaltending and a marginally better defense they could win.

I suspect on a short turnaround this is what Roy is going to focus on - tell the forwards to keep on keeping on, run the blueline through drills and change the netminder.

So if Ramo gets the start tonight does anyone know whether Hartley has said he would dress the same goalie in back-to-back games, outstanding performances aside?

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#14 O REALLY NOW
December 06 2013, 02:34PM
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I saw that Rob Kerr posted a really interesting stat about the Avalanche.

"#Avs the ultimate front runners 17-0-0 when scoring first and 13-0-0 when leading after the first period."

Calgary really needs to get out there, and have a great start.

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#15 TRAV
December 06 2013, 03:07PM
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@RexLibris

Hartley talked about the need to really run with a guy in order to determine if he could be a number one. (Calgary Sun). He gave Berra that shot (much to the chagrin of many FN fans) so I won't be surprised if he rolls out Ramo again tomorrow. Hopefully when given this look Ramo can seize the chance and establish himself as the number one.

Seems like he may face lots of shots tonite against an angry Avalanche squad.

Stupid FN. There was a time in my youth when I would have been excited about the probable McLeod McDermott bout. Now I'm ticked that we didn't seize the chance to evaluate some talent on our fourth. (Ferland?). Oh well, with a few domebeers I may enjoy two guys bringing #gritchart up anyways. Go Flames Go!

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#16 mattyc
December 06 2013, 03:49PM
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Avs undefeated when leading after 3 periods.

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#17 RexLibris
December 06 2013, 03:49PM
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@TRAV

Gazdic took it to Bordeleau last night so he may be even less of a factor on that line.

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/120395

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#18 RexLibris
December 06 2013, 03:50PM
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mattyc wrote:

Avs undefeated when leading after 3 periods.

Do you have stats to back that up?

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#19 the-wolf
December 06 2013, 04:35PM
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Nice article, well written.

Here's hoping Backs impresses again and convinces mgmt that trading him would not be a good idea.

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#20 mikeH
December 06 2013, 04:46PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I quite like Russel too now. He looked completely overmatched by better players to start the season, but his good qualities seem to outweigh the bad. At the very least, he's a great return for a 4th rounder.

Just imagine how great a return that is for a 5th round pick (which IIRC is all they gave up).

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#21 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 06 2013, 05:17PM
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mattyc wrote:

Avs undefeated when leading after 3 periods.

good one

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#22 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 06 2013, 05:20PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Gazdic took it to Bordeleau last night so he may be even less of a factor on that line.

http://www.hockeyfights.com/fights/120395

he took some pretty heavy bombs

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#23 exsanguinator
December 06 2013, 05:40PM
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Just realized that with a win tonight the Flames will be 24th in the league... officially out of the old lottery system. Didn't see that coming in December.

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#24 clyde
December 06 2013, 05:51PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

he took some pretty heavy bombs

Gazdic has quite the advantage instigating fights with the windshield on ( I know he has to wear one). He is quite a different fighter when it comes off though.

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#25 CTibs
December 06 2013, 06:37PM
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Colborne is officially out, the Flames are going with 7 defenceman tonight.

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#26 Burnward
December 06 2013, 06:41PM
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@exsanguinator

Imagine if we had a few bounces and no Joey Mac. Might be around .500.

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#27 Jeff In Lethbridge
December 06 2013, 07:03PM
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Rob Kerr reading the Raven...

eewww, that was kinda awkward and creepy.

:-P

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#28 O REALLY NOW
December 06 2013, 07:06PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

Rob Kerr reading the Raven...

eewww, that was kinda awkward and creepy.

:-P

I couldn't agree more. Not something Rob Kerr should probably try again...

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#29 steve
December 06 2013, 07:13PM
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O REALLY NOW wrote:

I couldn't agree more. Not something Rob Kerr should probably try again...

Saw Rob Kerr in a smoking jacket and went straight to the liquor cabinet! I am serious

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#30 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:19PM
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Nice PP for the Flames. The Russel puck finding the back is a bit fortunate, but they several good chances before that.

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#31 thymebalm
December 06 2013, 07:23PM
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Kents boys hit the scoresheet early! Took 6 regulars being out of the line up to get them PP time, but it was worth the wait!

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#32 MichaelD
December 06 2013, 07:24PM
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@thymebalm

What?

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#33 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:26PM
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@MichaelD

Baertschi and Backlund got assists on the goal.

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#34 CTibs
December 06 2013, 07:32PM
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First game, and first fight for MacDermid. Facepunchers just grow up so fast.

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#35 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:33PM
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MacDermid looks like he can barely skate.

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#36 kittensandcookies
December 06 2013, 07:35PM
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Baertshi and Backlund get assists? I'm surprised Hartley's head didn't explode.

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#37 MichaelD
December 06 2013, 07:36PM
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@Kent Wilson

Haha, oh i see

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#38 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:40PM
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@MichaelD

Tho I don't think they'd like being called my "boys".

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#39 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 07:47PM
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Chances were 6-0 Flames in the first.

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#40 MichaelD
December 06 2013, 07:57PM
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@Kent Wilson

Hey buddy they're your 'b' boys. I'm rooting for them too, so their my 'b' boys too ...

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#41 Vowswithin
December 06 2013, 08:07PM
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So they are playing Derek smith as a centerman.... Interesting

Duno about you guys but we got a group of guys we call "Da Boys" that include Monahan, Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi, Russell and damn it brings a smile to my face to see 3 of them in on that goal!!!

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#42 ChinookArch
December 06 2013, 08:08PM
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Evening Gents!

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#43 KingQuong
December 06 2013, 08:09PM
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You lied to me! Sarich is playing tonight I'm hurt...

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#44 stads
December 06 2013, 08:12PM
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I have seen better eyes on a potato ref!

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#45 travis
December 06 2013, 08:13PM
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Butler is god awful. I can't beleieve how much of an understatement that is. How is he playing in the NHL

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#46 clyde
December 06 2013, 08:14PM
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Poirier with 2 more points. If Drouin is out long term, I wonder if Sutter will give him a shot?

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#47 ChinookArch
December 06 2013, 08:16PM
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clyde wrote:

Poirier with 2 more points. If Drouin is out long term, I wonder if Sutter will give him a shot?

Somehow I get the feeling B. Sutter is the axe grinding type, so nope.

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#48 ChinookArch
December 06 2013, 08:19PM
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Sven's gotta bury shots in the slot like that..

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#49 travis
December 06 2013, 08:31PM
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Rob kerr commercials are the best.

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#50 Kent Wilson
December 06 2013, 08:36PM
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Ramo with another rock solid performance so far tonight.

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