FGD: Things To Do In Denver (When You're Dying To Be Above .500)

Ryan Pike
February 28 2013 01:08PM

 

 

Your Calgary Flames have a bit of a problem, gang. They're seemingly allergic to getting over that hump at the .500 mark. They're 0-3-1 this year in games that could've put them over the top, and have arguably put out their four worst games of the year in those four outings. Heck, the same thing happened early last season and the Flames were only 3-4-2 when entering a game with a .500 record and the “horrible effort” train chugs back to that point last year, most notably the 9-0 mauling by the Bruins.

But the Flames get a second chance tonight, as they head into snowy Denver to tangle with the Colorado Avalanche. These two teams did battle in Calgary earlier this season, with the Flames blowing a third period tie in rather spectacular fashion and losing 6-3. They're hoping to put together a strong effort tonight.

THE LINE-UP

To say the Flames were “flat” on Tuesday against Minnesota would be charitable. The entire team is probably thankful that Joey MacDonald was there to keep them in the game. Through the first 18 games, MacDonald is the only Flames goalkeeper with a respectable save percentage. His start tonight will see him pass Miikka Kiprusoff for the most time in a Flames net this season.

It's been a weird year. Here's the probable lines for tonight, courtesy of Sportsnet's Roger Millions (@rogmillions):

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

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

  • MacDonald

Aliu's back, at the expense of (likely) Roman Cervenka. Cervenka has been “fine” this year. If you're asking why Blake Comeau is (a) still in the top-nine and (b) has played 17 of the 18 games this year, I have no idea. He's the Anton Babchuk of Flames forwards – he seemed like a decent low-risk pick-up at the time but I have no idea why you re-sign him or retain him in your line-up when the results have been so middling to poor. Particularly in the top-9 rotation.

On the other hand, Matt Stajan continues to be awesome.

THE OPPOSITION

The Avalanche are missing a ton of bodies and are riding a three-game winless streak (all of which took place on the same terrible road trip to California). Now back home, they're hoping to get healthy and get back on track. Like the Flames, Colorado hasn't been above the .500 mark all year, but can get back to the black with a win against the Flames.

Courtesy of the Herald's Scott Cruickshank, here are the probable lines:

  • McGinn – Stastny - Parenteau
  • Landeskog – Mitchell - Jones
  • McLeod – Olver - Hejduk
  • Bordeleau – Kobasew - Palushaj

  • Hejda - Barrie
  • Hunwick - O’Byrne
  • O’Brien - Zanon

  • Varlamov

Matt Duchene didn't practice at Wednesday's optional session, but could slot in for the Avs. He's been out day-to-day with a groin issue. Also out for the Avalanche are Ryan Wilson, Erik Johnson, Steve Downie and the un-signed Ryan O'Reilly.

Despite their mediocre record, the Avalanche aren't a bad team – although that blueline is a tad thin (a product of injuries). Their two top lines are respectable and former Flames pick Chuck Kobasew has carved out a fairly distinguished career for himself. Thursday will be his 548th NHL contest, which makes him noteworthy amongst a string of awful, awful Flames first rounders.

SUM IT UP

With a fully healthy (and signed) roster, the Avalanche are every bit Calgary's equal talent-wise. However, the Flames largely out-played Colorado for 40 minutes at home when they played last month. Sadly, that was followed by a weird, wacky third period where bad luck and inconsistency burned the Flames and gave them a loss.

Life's not full of second chances, but the Flames have a shot to get above .500 once more. Their four previous opportunities to do so were, to be blunt, horrible. Let's hope that's not repeated in Denver.

 

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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 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 08:58PM
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Oilers up 3-0 and down two defensemen, Potter due to a boarding headshot and Smid because he tried to headbutt Morrow in the left cheek (posterior).

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#102 schevvy
February 28 2013, 08:58PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Sorry, thought I was on ON. =)

Heartbroken over the Avs matching?

Dreams shattered. I expected it though, so I'm not crying in a corner. (I'm just crying)

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#103 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 08:59PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Not surprising when you look closely at goaltending.

I didn't expect them to be ninth, but yes, they're early season goaltending was definitely subpar. Losing 5-6 sounds alright, but those six really do hurt.

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#104 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 08:59PM
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schevvy wrote:

Dreams shattered. I expected it though, so I'm not crying in a corner. (I'm just crying)

Liquor helps.

Or so I've been told.

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#105 Gunk
February 28 2013, 09:00PM
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Kent, would you consider that iggy one timer a "chance"? I would...

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#106 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:00PM
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FWIW, in the long run I think it'll benefit the team.

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#107 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:01PM
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Have Landeskog or Duchene had much impact so far? I've just flipped over during the intermission.

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#108 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:02PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Liquor helps.

Or so I've been told.

Yes. Much needed at the moment

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#109 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:03PM
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4-0, Hemsky on the PP. Assist from Yakupov, I think.

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#110 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:04PM
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@schevvy

The Flames are winning, that must help.

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#111 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:07PM
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RexLibris wrote:

4-0, Hemsky on the PP. Assist from Yakupov, I think.

In Dallas too eh? That's gotta be the 1st time they've won there since: MARCHANT!

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#112 Monaertchi
February 28 2013, 09:07PM
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Offer sheet that Schanko guy. He is a scoring machine

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#113 Kent Wilson
February 28 2013, 09:09PM
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Chances were 11-3 Avs in the second. Flames have 9 chances all game, but have scored on 4 of them.

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#114 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:13PM
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schevvy wrote:

In Dallas too eh? That's gotta be the 1st time they've won there since: MARCHANT!

Just freaking about. Dallas and Minnesota had our number for years.

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#115 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:14PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Chances were 11-3 Avs in the second. Flames have 9 chances all game, but have scored on 4 of them.

Is that shooting percentage sustainable? ;-)

Seems to me the Flames deserve one of those wins.

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#116 Monaertchi
February 28 2013, 09:15PM
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Neil Smith is my new fav Sportsnet guy

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#117 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:16PM
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Neil Smith. What a phenomenal panelist.

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#118 Kent Wilson
February 28 2013, 09:17PM
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@schevvy

co-sign.

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#119 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:20PM
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5-0 Eager from Petrell.

This is going to get ugly soon.

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#120 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:23PM
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Ben Eager scores his 1st of the year for the Oilers. More goals than Mcgrattan, yet the Flames brass still believe that he's gonna help the team? Yea right Feaster

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#121 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:25PM
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bad goal on mcdonald.

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#122 Blob
February 28 2013, 09:25PM
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So Feaster just told the Avs broadcast that McGrattan will be straight up to Calgary.

...

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#123 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:29PM
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was that Bouw's hand or stick?

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#124 ChinookArch
February 28 2013, 09:30PM
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Nice guess work ref.

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#125 Kent Wilson
February 28 2013, 09:30PM
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Blob wrote:

So Feaster just told the Avs broadcast that McGrattan will be straight up to Calgary.

...

Alrigh...! No wait...

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#126 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:32PM
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I wonder what the Flames could get for Stempniak if they deal him at the deadline.

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#127 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:33PM
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5-1 Dallas by...wait for it...Jagr.

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#128 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:35PM
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Benn KOs Jones and gets a 5:00 penalty and the fans in Dallas give him a standing ovation.

nice.

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#129 Kent Wilson
February 28 2013, 09:35PM
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Flames have been generally poor since the first, but I've really like Baertschi's game in this one. Probably the most comfortable he has looked this year.

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#130 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:37PM
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What's with the names in the Budweiser ad. Shago, Lando what else, Grando, comprando?

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#131 ChinookArch
February 28 2013, 09:39PM
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Juicy rebound.

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#132 Kent Wilson
February 28 2013, 09:39PM
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Big juicy rebound on that one.

Also a lucky bounce.

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#133 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:40PM
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Yuck. Damnit Sherman.

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#134 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:40PM
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Obviously a kick...

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#135 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:41PM
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DAMN!!!!

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#136 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:42PM
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It gets embarrassing cheering for this team sometimes. Can't hang onto a 3rd period lead

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#137 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:43PM
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Wow, flames just hanging on now

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#138 Fleury4pm
February 28 2013, 09:43PM
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Unbelievable where is the urgency

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#139 ChinookArch
February 28 2013, 09:44PM
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MacDonald is a bad goalie.

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#140 Bean-counting cowboy
February 28 2013, 09:45PM
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Rex. I think you R on the wrong thread. We are watching the Flames game. Sorry. Just pissed about oreilly right now. Taking it out on any Oilers fan within range.

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#141 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:49PM
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WTF. This is a freaking joke

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#142 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:49PM
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There we go.

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#143 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:49PM
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This is depressing

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#144 RKD
February 28 2013, 09:50PM
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Just heard Feaster during the first intermission, he first tried to acquire ROR via a trade but Colorado's asking price was so steep it apparently would have jeopardized the Flames future.

My guess is Colorado was looking for a first round pick, and then some combo of at least two with Baertschi, Backlund, Irving, Taylor, Brodie etc.

Are we shocked Colorado matched, no. LaCroix matched the offer sheet Joe Sakic signed with NYR back in 1999. Why would they let ROR go for nothing and especially to division rival. BTW offer sheets aren't necessarily the way to rebuild your team, keep developing your prospects and improve your scouting.

Yes, Ottwawa got Kyle Turris in a trade but really it's guys like Zibanejad and Silfverberg stepping up.

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#145 RexLibris
February 28 2013, 09:50PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Landeskog looks incredible tonight. Hopefully the Avs lowball him in a year or two when he's RFA....

...and then what? Am I missing something?

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#146 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:50PM
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Who was Giordano trying to cover on that play anyway?

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#147 schevvy
February 28 2013, 09:51PM
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@RexLibris

The drinking is commencing

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#148 Gunk
February 28 2013, 09:51PM
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*face palm time. again...

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#149 Mangotanker
February 28 2013, 09:52PM
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Surrendering a 3-0 lead and getting your a$$ kicked for the majority of the game is not facing adversity....

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#150 Kevin
February 28 2013, 09:52PM
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I knew this day was too good to be true...DAMNIT

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