FGD: A Trip to Texas

Ryan Pike
February 17 2013 01:19PM

 

 

Two teams missing their awesome goalies collide in the Lone Star State tonight! The Flames (4-5-3) are missing Miikka Kiprusoff (career 2.46 goals against average, .913 save percentage). The Stars (8-6-1) are missing Kari Lehtonen (career 2.69 goals against average, .915 save percentage). Lehtonen's been better than Kiprusoff this year, but both teams wish they had their number-ones.

A win here puts the Flames back at .500, a lofty perch which they've gotten to but have yet to cross over entirely. And it's already a quarter of the way into the season.

Of course, Calgary beat Dallas last Wednesday in a 7-4 game. It was crazy, in that both Leland Irving and Richard Bachman looked shaky. In a shocker, Bachman still has an NHL job while Irving is back in the AHL.

It comes with the territory in the wacky world of the NHL.

THE LINE-UP

After Friday night's set-back against the St. Louis Blues, Flames head coach Bob Hartley hit shuffle on his line-up card. And the Flames waived Blair Jones, demoted Leland Irving and called up Danny Taylor.

Oh, and Blake Comeau is a centre now.

  • Cervenka – Tanguay – Hudler
  • Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
  • Glencross – Comeau – Iginla
  • Horak – Begin – Jackman

  • Giordano – Bouwmeester
  • Wideman – Brodie
  • Butler – Babchuk

  • MacDonald

Overall, the big question mark is Comeau up the middle. Why you put the team's worst possession forward on any line besides your fourth - and your captain to boot - is beyond me, but I'm not the coach. The top two lines look solid, though unspectacular by NHL standards.

MacDonald has the worst numbers of the three Flames goalies, at least in terms of save percentage, but he's only played one game. With Irving looking shaky as a leaf in his last few starts – and nowhere near as poised as he did last season – giving MacDonald a shot is a good idea. If he looks as bad as he did in the St. Louis game, it'll look like a worse idea.

THE OPPOSITION

The Stars are firmly in the middle of the pack in the West. They don't have their starting goalie or the habitually underrated Ray Whitney, but their top six is still very dangerous and their bottom six boasts some very useful players. They beat Vancouver on Friday night.

Via Sportsnet's Roger Millions (@rogmillions), here's Dallas' likely lines.

  • Benn – Morrow – Jagr
  • Smith – Roy – Eriksson
  • Roussel – Eakin – Ryder
  • Nystrom – Fiddler – Garbutt

  • Dillon – Robidas
  • Rome – Daley
  • Goligoski – Larsen

  • Bachman

Bachman (1-2-0) is statistically the worst of Dallas' three goalies used this year and he looked pretty bad in Calgary last week. Then again, it's just one game. As mentioned, he's in because Karri Lehtonen is on the shelf.

SUM IT UP

The Flames beat the Stars and have the ability to do so again. That said, Dallas beat a very game Canucks team on Friday and can't be under-estimated – and it's very unlikely they'll be as lousy as they were in Calgary.
 

The Flames, meanwhile, need to regain their confidence in their goaltending and find the swagger they had against the Stars. They were shaky and uneven against the Blues, and they cannot afford to get in a hole early down in the heart of Texas.

Game-time is 4pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

 

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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 Q
February 17 2013, 06:47PM
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There must have been a serious a$$ chewing between periods!

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#102 Kent Wilson
February 17 2013, 06:48PM
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@mattyc

Yeah, it was a decent rush. He always does the "skate around the net with the puck" thing in the offensive zone though. Most of the time it ends up in him putting it back into the corner or shooting it into a block.

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#103 Vintage Flame
February 17 2013, 06:52PM
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Little conflicted here folks... Stajan and Begin scoring their first is not enough for forgiveness just yet.

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#104 Kent Wilson
February 17 2013, 06:54PM
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It's all Calgary in this period so far.

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#105 Kent Wilson
February 17 2013, 06:54PM
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Chances are 7-0 CGY so far.

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#106 Monaertchi
February 17 2013, 06:55PM
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In between Iggys last two shifts was some really exciting hockey.

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#107 Gunk
February 17 2013, 06:57PM
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does anyone know offhand the biggest deficit the flames have overcome this season?

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#108 Kent Wilson
February 17 2013, 07:00PM
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@Gunk

Probably this one.

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#110 Vintage Flame
February 17 2013, 07:01PM
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That WAS an impressive stat for the Stars

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#111 Kent Wilson
February 17 2013, 07:02PM
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Quite the comeback. Chances were 7-1 in the third, so the Flames earned it.

Ironically, the new "first line" including Iginla/Tanguay/Cammy had nothing to do with it. The other kines did all the damage.

Total chances were 19 - 11 Flames. Legit win.

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#112 Gunk
February 17 2013, 07:04PM
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Admittedly a very surprising finish to what looked like a sure 4-6-3 record. There's still a chance at 9th place ppl! lets do this!

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#113 Chris Fairfield
February 17 2013, 07:04PM
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YEAAAAAAAAHHH BAAAAAAABBBY!!!!!!!!

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#114 mattyc
February 17 2013, 07:04PM
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well... that was an impressive 3rd period by the flames... especially the stajan stempniak glencross line.

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#115 FlameinATL
February 17 2013, 07:07PM
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Awesome Flames, awesome.

Have I mentioned this team's resiliency?

Go Flames!

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#116 Q
February 17 2013, 07:10PM
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I love the comeback but where were the big guns?

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#117 Jibmeister
February 17 2013, 07:12PM
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Thank god, this team never fails to surprise me.

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#118 mattyc
February 17 2013, 07:17PM
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Did Babchuck play in the third period?

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#119 Captain Ron
February 17 2013, 07:46PM
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I hope we never see Badchuck in a Flames uniform again. He's absolutely brutal. Makes me miss Sarich.

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#120 Captain Ron
February 17 2013, 08:18PM
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Completely unexpected comeback win tonight. The Stajan line was really good in the 3rd. On to Phoenix for possibly our first look at Danny Taylor in a Flames uniform.

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#121 T&A4Flames
February 17 2013, 08:20PM
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Brent G. wrote:

Other thought...

I'm starting to feel like Iggy not having signed an extension yet is likely a much bigger tell of his intentions than many are recognizing. If Iggy wanted to resign in Calgary I have no doubt he has received gigantic over payment offers and yet hasn't.

Maybe they're waiting for Feaster to make some moves that will clear cap space for next year. Then they will know how big a contract they can offer Iggy.

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#122 Mullen Mania
February 17 2013, 08:53PM
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Bright spots for tonights game IMO: the Czech line generating offence, Gio had one of his better games, Brodie, I thought Horak had a solid 3rd period, and cosmic events have transpired to make Stajan and Begin somehow relevant (I can only assume Dallas has somehow ticked off the hockey gods).

I have to admit Stajan looked decent tonight, although he inexplicably continues to fall over painted lines and objects I assume are only visible to him.

On the down side: the second period (won't get away with that very often), Dallas managed to make us look better than we are, not sold on MacDonald (but whatever), Babchuk playing with Wideman for a couple shifts (scary), WTH are they doing with Iggy, and Comeau is clearly not the answer.

Sorry for the long post - it's my first.

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#123 Captain Ron
February 17 2013, 10:29PM
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No apology necessary. Come back and check out the lengthy rambles from some of us on this site.

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