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.

 

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#101 thymebalm
February 26 2013, 08:42PM
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Looked like 4 to me....

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#102 Gunk
February 26 2013, 08:43PM
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ok boys, lets quit the verbal talking, keep our feet moving, and get pucks to the net on this next PP

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#103 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:45PM
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@Gunk

You could be a color commentator!

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#104 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:46PM
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Hi all! If the Flames lose this one, I'll be verclempt!

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#105 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:47PM
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Damn it Flames, get in the zone and stay there!

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#106 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:48PM
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This PP is painful...

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#107 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:48PM
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One shot in the double minor??? NO shots on a 5 min???

... sigh

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#108 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:49PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

"A lot of verbal talking..."

Oh Charlie.

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

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#109 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:49PM
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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

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#110 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:49PM
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schevvy wrote:

The PP is a load of brown bananas

Hey that's my line Telus guy!

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#111 Gunk
February 26 2013, 08:50PM
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@Kent Wilson lol, yes. Well now that I hear you guys harp on the stupid things he says I'm always looking for it now. It wasn't as bad until you pointed it out!

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#112 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:51PM
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Saw that coming!

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#114 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:51PM
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CRAAAAAAAAAP

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#115 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 08:51PM
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They were tempting fate all night.

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#116 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:52PM
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Well...damn

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#117 Gunk
February 26 2013, 08:52PM
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It's sure a good thing we took advantage of all those PP's and padded that big lead we had... Brutal

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#118 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:52PM
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Sad trombone. Another 4th line scores on the Flames 1st line.

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#119 schevvy
February 26 2013, 08:52PM
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*sad trombone*

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#120 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:52PM
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Wow, suddenly more effort from Flames...wonder why?

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#121 Jeff
February 26 2013, 08:53PM
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And now we lose in the shoot out.

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#122 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:53PM
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Wow, now the Flames are fired up...wonder why?

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#123 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:54PM
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Jeff wrote:

And now we lose in the shoot out.

You could be right, grainy-picture-from- the-1950s guy!

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#125 Vintage Flame
February 26 2013, 08:57PM
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Oh Gio....

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#126 Gunk
February 26 2013, 08:57PM
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solid pentalty. Kerr called it a mile it way. here we go. maybe its time for a shorty?

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#127 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 08:58PM
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Didnt Giordano get called for that a few games ago? Slow learner.

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#128 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:58PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Shazbot. JOR-dano with the weird-ass penalty.

Hey watch the language lol!

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#129 prendrefeu
February 26 2013, 08:58PM
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Shizzles my nizzles.

... and it would continue into the OT, no?

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#130 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 08:58PM
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@prendrefeu

Yuppers.

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#131 Monaertchi
February 26 2013, 08:59PM
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Joey MacStarter!

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#132 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 08:59PM
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I BELIEVE IN MacBACKUP NOW.

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#133 Gunk
February 26 2013, 08:59PM
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ok. THAT was a massive save for Mac. Rally boys!

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#134 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 08:59PM
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Whew got a point!

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#136 schevvy
February 26 2013, 09:00PM
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WOW!!

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#137 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 09:02PM
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Frigger

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#138 Kent Wilson
February 26 2013, 09:02PM
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Nice save. Surprised Spurgeon didn't put any height on that shot.

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#140 Gunk
February 26 2013, 09:02PM
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yuppers. Coach can't be too happy with this effort. Hats off MacD though.

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#141 schevvy
February 26 2013, 09:03PM
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Sigh.

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#142 MC Hockey
February 26 2013, 09:03PM
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Flames the one-point wonders!

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#143 prendrefeu
February 26 2013, 09:04PM
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*sigh*

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#144 ChinookArch
February 26 2013, 09:08PM
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Talk to you guys later.

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#145 FireOnIce
February 26 2013, 09:08PM
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Guess I missed what the actual penalty was. Yahoo is saying the penalty was an "illegal play by goaltender". In which case, I'd like to flip a big middle finger to Joey MacRebounds'R'Us.

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#146 Q
February 26 2013, 09:16PM
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Let me guess..... Sven got nothing for ice time? I'm at work so didn't see it. Just assuming. We are sooooo boring to watch!

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#147 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 26 2013, 09:32PM
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same ol', same ol'

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