FGD: A Wild Rubber Match

Ryan Pike
February 26 2013 02:08PM

For the third time this season (already) the Calgary Flames tangle with the Minnesota Wild. The Flames lost to the Wild in typical 2-1 (shootout) fashion a few weeks back, then somehow managed to avoid another shootout on Saturday and won by a 3-1 score.

With three out of a possible four points against their division rivals, the Flames look to get closer to a playoff spot tonight with their first trip this season to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Your local hockey heroes enter the evening three points out of eighth in the West, but can get to within one with a win – eighth place Dallas is playing lowly Columbus tonight, but Los Angeles is idle and both teams have the same number of points. More importantly, the Flames can get above the .500 mark for the first time under new head coach Bob Hartley. That would be tres bien, doncha think?

Game-time is 6pm on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. Depending on how you experience the game, Rob Kerr and/or Peter Maher has the call.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames did the near-impossible this past weekend, winning two games in a row and doing it on back-to-back nights, no less. It's the first time they've done this since December 22 and 23 of 2011. Joey MacDonald has been great and leads the team in wins by a goaltender (with 3! and Jarome Iginla seems to have found his goal-scoring touch again. Hopefully the Flames can keep this momentum going.

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester makes history tonight, as he passes former Flames coach Guy Charron to become the NHL player who's played the most regular season games without ever playing in the playoffs (at 735 contests).

I'd expect the lines to be the same as Sunday, so expect something like this based on reports from Sportsnet's Roger Millions from this morning's practice in Minny:

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

  • Giordano – Bouwmeester
  • Brodie – Wideman
  • Smith – Butler

  • MacDonald

Cervenka had an assist on Sunday but barely played after the first period. The team is reportedly still monitoring his conditioning and he played on the fourth line. If a line shuffle occurs during the game, expect the most likely scenario to be a swap between Cervenka and Sven Baertschi, and for Hudler to play centre on that line.

Akim Aliu is day-to-day with an unspecified malady, while Anton Babchuk and Cory Sarich are health scratches once more. According to reports from practice (via Pat Steinberg) yesterday, Miikka Kiprusoff was on the ice with the team. I'd reckon he's about a week out, or slightly more. The Flames remain without Mikael Backlund (MCL) and Paul Byron (hand), as well.

With a two-point performance, Jarome Iginla can tie Theoren Fleury in the NHL's all-time scoring leaderboard. Fleury had 1,088 points with Calgary, Colorado, New York and Chicago. To-date, Iginla has 1,086 points, all with the Flames.

THE OPPOSITION

The Wild have been idle since Saturday's loss in Calgary. Including tonight, they play five times in their next eight days. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (@russotrib) reports that the Wild will be scratching Zenon Konopka and Nate Prosser, and should also be without Cal Clutterbuck once again as he recovers from a thigh contusion suffered at the hand (well, knee) of Edmonton's Taylor Hall.

Lines should be roughly:

  • Parise – Koivu – Coyle
  • Zucker – Cullen – Setoguchi
  • Bouchard – Brodziak – Heatley
  • Rupp – Granlund – Mitchell

  • Suter – Brodin
  • Gilbert – Stoner
  • Falk – Spurgeon

  • Backstrom

Heatley was largely ineffective on Saturday and was actually demoted to the third line when coach Mike Yeo shuffled things up in the third period. Interesting that Coyle, a rookie, takes Heatley's spot on the top line.

SUM IT UP

How many times last season did the Flames get “close” to a playoff spot but then fail to capitalize? I count roughly seven. But with their shaky start behind them and arguably getting their best, most consistent goaltending of the shortened season, the Flames have a great opportunity ahead of them tonight.

And with the season so shortened and the clock ticking, it may be the only opportunity they get.

 

51a8cdc527ce12d222fdc583f3cf4368
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.
Avatar
#51 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 07:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Ryan Pike

I feel your pain. I only seem to loose HD during Flames games. RAGE!

Avatar
#52 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 07:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

And by 9-0 I of course mean 11-0.

Flames incredibly fortunate to be ahead at this point.

Avatar
#53 schevvy
February 26 2013, 07:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Ryan Pike wrote:

Ice is seriously tilted. HD feed still ain't back. Getting angry.

I've got HD...

Avatar
#54 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 07:54PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

HD works for me.

Avatar
#55 Jibmeister
February 26 2013, 07:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

What is with all these penalties..

Avatar
#56 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 07:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

My HD is back.

Ty

Avatar
#57 schevvy
February 26 2013, 07:56PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

And by 9-0 I of course mean 11-0.

Flames incredibly fortunate to be ahead at this point.

In fairness, they've been on the PK pretty much all period

Avatar
#59 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 07:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@schevvy

True. Six of the chances were on the PP.

Avatar
#60 schevvy
February 26 2013, 07:57PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Dirty hit by Coyle

Avatar
#61 schevvy
February 26 2013, 07:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If Stajan's hurt, we have a grand total of ZERO natural centres healthy!

Avatar
#62 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 07:58PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Is that a suspend-able head shot on Coyle?

Avatar
#64 schevvy
February 26 2013, 07:59PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@ChinookArch

Should be. Late and target was the head

Avatar
#66 McCullagh
February 26 2013, 08:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If Stajan is injured we are in trouble. Kerr "can't afford too lose him".

Avatar
#67 negrilcowboy
February 26 2013, 08:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Quick Feasta sign Youngblood and Reg Dunlop. We need truculence down the middle.

Avatar
#69 thymebalm
February 26 2013, 08:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

worst PP ever

Avatar
#70 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Talk about your wasted opportunity.

Avatar
#71 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:06PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

That was awful

Avatar
#72 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Chances were 12-3 MIN. The Wild hit posts, shot pucks wide and hit MacD in the chest all period. I guess the hockey gods kinda owe one to the Flames. Too bad they have to use up good luck against a lousy team though.

Avatar
#73 Jibmeister
February 26 2013, 08:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Wow, ridiculous.

Avatar
#75 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 08:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Is there a more boring professional sports team than the Wild? Mind you, it would be nice if the Flames showed up.

Avatar
#76 Kevin
February 26 2013, 08:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

0 shots on a 5 min pp??? Wowowowow... Joey macbackup is the number 1 star so far

Avatar
#77 John Deere Green
February 26 2013, 08:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

If Stajan is out for awhile, does Blake Comeau become the #1 centre. Its about time, he deserves it. No, not really.

Avatar
#78 Baalzamon
February 26 2013, 08:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
John Deere Green wrote:

If Stajan is out for awhile, does Blake Comeau become the #1 centre. Its about time, he deserves it. No, not really.

Probably Tanguay moves back to the middle and the LWers all move up one line. Which means Aliu gets a regular shift I guess.

Avatar
#79 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:19PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Ryan Pike wrote:

That certainly was a period of hockey.

For one of the teams anyways

Avatar
#80 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:20PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Stajan should be back for the third... According to sources on twitter

Avatar
#81 thymebalm
February 26 2013, 08:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

We don't do well with the long change. The third will be better.

Avatar
#82 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

Iginla has 4 shots on net so far apparently. I can't remember one of them.

Avatar
#84 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:27PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

"A lot of verbal talking..."

Oh Charlie.

Avatar
#85 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:31PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

That's the second time Rupp has gone down really easy in this game.

Avatar
#86 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:35PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Damn Stajan, that would have been good

Avatar
#87 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 08:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

Iginla has 4 shots on net so far apparently. I can't remember one of them.

He got one at the end of the first, when a broken play gave him a partial break. I don't remember any more.

Avatar
#88 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
1
props

What a game! (insert sarcasm here)

Avatar
#89 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:41PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@ChinookArch

Ahh that's right.

Avatar
#90 thymebalm
February 26 2013, 08:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Looked like 4 to me....

Avatar
#91 Gunk
February 26 2013, 08:43PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

ok boys, lets quit the verbal talking, keep our feet moving, and get pucks to the net on this next PP

Avatar
#93 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

@Gunk

You could be a color commentator!

Avatar
#94 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:46PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Hi all! If the Flames lose this one, I'll be verclempt!

Avatar
#95 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:47PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Damn it Flames, get in the zone and stay there!

Avatar
#96 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

This PP is painful...

Avatar
#97 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:48PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

One shot in the double minor??? NO shots on a 5 min???

... sigh

Avatar
#98 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
2
props

The PP is a load of brown bananas

Avatar
#99 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Kent Wilson wrote:

"A lot of verbal talking..."

Oh Charlie.

C'mon guys, easy...just like literal writing!

Avatar
#100 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:49PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props
Vintage Flame wrote:

One shot in the double minor??? NO shots on a 5 min???

... sigh

If this were a live chat, I'd recommend playing the sad trombone

Comments are closed for this article.