FGD: Seeing Stars

Ryan Pike
February 13 2013 01:54PM

For seemingly the zillionth time this hockey season, your Calgary Flames face-off at home with a team that played the night before (usually in a different city). Okay, it's only the third time, but the Flames haven't won one of these games yet. And with the quarter-pole of the season looming on Friday night, the club desperately needs to cash in on some of these opportunities.

Tonight's opportunity pits the 3-4-3 Flames against the 7-5-1 Dallas Stars.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames are still without the services of goalkeeper Miikka Kiprusoff, centre Mikael Backlund and winger Sven Baertschi. Paul Byron (wearing #32) and Joey MacDonald (wearing #35) will make their 2013 Flames debuts, although MacDonald will merely replace Danny Taylor opening the gate. The biggest boost is that Mike Cammalleri will return to the Flames line-up after missing a few games due to a hip flexor injury.

Wednesday's skate was an optional, but on Tuesday Steve Begin was between Glencross and Iginla and Baertschi was between Cammalleri and Stempniak. In reality, we're guessing they'll line up something like this.

  • Hudler – Tanguay – Cervenka
  • Glencross – Stajan – Iginla
  • Cammalleri – Byron – Stempniak
  • Comeau – Jones – Jackman

  • Giordano – Bouwmeester
  • Brodie – Wideman
  • Sarich – Butler

  • Irving

Cammalleri should give Calgary an offensive boost, assuing he returns to the line-up a better player than when he left it. Byron showed some great chemistry with Stempniak when he was up last season, so maybe he can do some damage rather than just be a warm body. That sure is a line of smaller guys though.

Sarich replaces Smith for the second straight game on the back-end while Steve Begin sits out up front. Anton Babchuk is more or less ready to go, but remains in the presssbox.

THE OPPOSITION

The Stars played last night and did a lot to get Flames fans on their side as they beat the Oilers up in Shelbyville by a 4-1 score. Dallas boasts a slew of familiar faces, including one of two active NHLers with more career goals than Jarome Iginla in the ageless Jaromir Jagr. Also contributing in Dallas is former Flames first rounder Eric Nystrom.

From our friends at Defending Big D, a stab at the lines:

  • Morrow-Benn-Jagr
  • Eriksson-Roy-Ryder
  • Smith-Eakin-Vincour
  • Nystrom-Fiddler-Garbutt

  • Dillon-Robidas
  • Rome-Daley
  • Goligoski-Larsen

  • Bachman

One of the fourth liners may cycle out for Wandell or Roussel and Oleksiak might swap in for Larsen.

Jamie Benn has returned the line-up and put together strong counting stats and underlying numbers as well. With him in the fold the Stars top six is pretty strong, alhough there are some useful players (albeit with limited offensive upside) in their bottom six as well.

Things get a bit dodgy on the back end, and its likely that the Flames will be seeing back-up netminder Richard Bachman (career stats: 8-6-1, 2.68 GAA, .913 S% and 1 shutout). He's not quite Kari Lehtonen, but he's got more games under his belt and better numbers than Leland Irving.

SUM IT UP

Dallas has a pretty strong team and they're not missing any big guns (well, besides Ray Whitney). With them having played the night before, there will be no better opportunity for the Flames to get two points. Of course, with the Flames missing their starting goalie, top rookie and their best possession center, they are by no means guaranteed success.

 

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#101 negrilcowboy
February 13 2013, 09:19PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Poor Bachman :(

The Cammalleri line has been surprisingly good.

johan sebastian bachman must be wishin he took up music not goaltendin

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#102 schevvy
February 13 2013, 09:22PM
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Yikes this game is nuts

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#103 Vintage Flame
February 13 2013, 09:24PM
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Good to see Cammalleri finally show up tonight.

Iggy fired up...

Irv playing well again...

Are the "Stars" aligned tonight?

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#104 Gunk
February 13 2013, 09:24PM
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that was a good time out. My Irving nerves are getting pretty fraid. He does tend to over commit side to side leaving the cage yawning.

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#105 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:25PM
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Lord Sarich is awful. Gets caught on the ice because of the long change and then purposefully ices the puck.

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#106 jeremywilhelm
February 13 2013, 09:27PM
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This is essentially what every Penguins game looks like. Wide open. Fleury suffers.

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#107 Baalzamon
February 13 2013, 09:28PM
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owned.

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#108 schevvy
February 13 2013, 09:29PM
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Iggy has turned into Tanguay

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#109 Gunk
February 13 2013, 09:30PM
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I'm going to the dome Friday but I kinda wish i was there tonight!

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#110 RKD
February 13 2013, 09:30PM
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Glencross! The Flames are scoring a lot of goals tonight!

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#111 Brent G.
February 13 2013, 09:30PM
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What? That's a weird line

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#112 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:32PM
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Man the Stars suck tonight.

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#113 Mitch P
February 13 2013, 09:33PM
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The twitter fireworks between Eric Francis vs flames fans is pretty entertaining tonight.

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#114 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:33PM
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@Brent G.

Iggy has been on the third line all night at ES. He looks a lot more comfortable.

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#115 Baalzamon
February 13 2013, 09:34PM
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@Mitch P

Isn't Francis supposedly a Flames fan?

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#116 FlamesSask
February 13 2013, 09:34PM
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"Lord Sarich"

Kent, when did Sarich get knighted? Why was there no article?

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#117 Vintage Flame
February 13 2013, 09:36PM
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Mitch P wrote:

The twitter fireworks between Eric Francis vs flames fans is pretty entertaining tonight.

Dammit.. Francis blocked me on twitter so I'm missing that.

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#118 Brent G.
February 13 2013, 09:36PM
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What are the underlying numbers like for cervenka?

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#119 Mitch P
February 13 2013, 09:36PM
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@Baalzamon

Isn't he some sort of journalist? :)

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#120 Anon
February 13 2013, 09:36PM
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What a super-lousy call on Hudler.

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#121 thymebalm
February 13 2013, 09:37PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Iggy has been on the third line all night at ES. He looks a lot more comfortable.

Hartley is wise.

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#122 thymebalm
February 13 2013, 09:38PM
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I can't believe Byron broke his hand in the first period of his first game up...

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#123 Baalzamon
February 13 2013, 09:39PM
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@Brent G.

not bad. His zone starts are bellow 50, and he has a positive corsi.

http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=30&f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f5=CGY&c=0+1+3+5+4+6+7+8+13+14+29+30+32+33+34+45+46+63+67

He might just be benefiting from Hudler's early-season awesome.

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1694&withagainst=true&season=2012-13&sit=5v5

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#124 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:41PM
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@Anon

Yeah that was ridiculous.

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#125 Baalzamon
February 13 2013, 09:44PM
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Oh look, another nonsense call.

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#126 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:44PM
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Flames have really fallen off the pace in the latter half of the second here. Luckily their lead is so strong it probably doesn't really matter.

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#127 schevvy
February 13 2013, 09:44PM
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2 yucky ones

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#128 jeremywilhelm
February 13 2013, 09:45PM
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That new rule is just stupid.

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#129 thymebalm
February 13 2013, 09:45PM
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Now THAT is a ridiculous penalty.

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#130 jeremywilhelm
February 13 2013, 09:46PM
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Stonewalled!

But in all seriousness, Dallas should be throwing those into Irvings feet. He struggles a bit there.

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#131 Vintage Flame
February 13 2013, 09:48PM
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Kuddos to Irving tonight. Has made a couple of blunders but recovered well and is playing solid.

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#132 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:48PM
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I had the chances 6-6 in that period.

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#133 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 09:49PM
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@Vintage Flame

Irving looks like an AHL goalie tonight to me.

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#134 Vowswithin
February 13 2013, 09:49PM
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This has been some entertaing hockey tonight! I love it.

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#135 thymebalm
February 13 2013, 09:50PM
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His stat line agrees with you. So does his rebound control.

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#136 Mitch P
February 13 2013, 09:51PM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah that late cover on the third goal had me firing up the Ramo-signal.

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#137 schevvy
February 13 2013, 09:51PM
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So...McDonald on Friday?

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#138 FlameinATL
February 13 2013, 09:54PM
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Good effort tonight Flames. Keep it up.

Go Flames!

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#139 RexLibris
February 13 2013, 09:58PM
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schevvy wrote:

So...McDonald on Friday?

I would.

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#140 schevvy
February 13 2013, 10:04PM
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Huge kill coming up

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#141 Vintage Flame
February 13 2013, 10:05PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Irving looks like an AHL goalie tonight to me.

That's because he is an AHL goalie... but I'm trying to be optimistic.. :(

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#142 Wizard22
February 13 2013, 10:05PM
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If Irving gets the win. I'd keep going with him. Try McDonald in a back-back. Has Irving played at the Saddledome before?

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#143 jeremywilhelm
February 13 2013, 10:05PM
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Against the Blues? They know him well and he is very out of shape.

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#144 schevvy
February 13 2013, 10:06PM
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Wizard22 wrote:

If Irving gets the win. I'd keep going with him. Try McDonald in a back-back. Has Irving played at the Saddledome before?

Monday. If a game like that counts :)

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#145 jeremywilhelm
February 13 2013, 10:07PM
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@Kent Wilson

So did kipper in his 7 games.

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#146 schevvy
February 13 2013, 10:08PM
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Boo

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#147 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 10:08PM
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Gonna be an interesting finish I think...

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#148 jeremywilhelm
February 13 2013, 10:08PM
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But yeah, Rough night for Irving.

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#149 Kent Wilson
February 13 2013, 10:09PM
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@jeremywilhelm

Sure, but he had a body of work which suggested he'd improve. Irving is a lifetime .909 goalie in the AHL. There's no reason to think he'll improve.

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#150 Gunk
February 13 2013, 10:10PM
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...cut to 17mins from now... OT and then shootout! yay! i kid i kid

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