FGD: Flames Hit the Road in Motown

Ryan Pike
February 05 2013 01:58PM

After spending five of their first six games at home, the Calgary Flames head out of town for their first real road trip of the season beginning tonight. First up? A date with the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena (5:30pm MT, televised on Sportsnet West and radioed by Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

Before you get too worked up, this ain't your mother's Red Wings team. First of all, there's no Jiri Hudler, Nicklas Lidstrom or Tomas Holmstrom in Motown. Hudler, as you may know, is playing for the Flames now. Lidstrom and Holmstrom retired. Brad Stuart left for the Sharks. And there are a few folks injured besides. Altogether, the Red Wings are missing seven regulars from their line-up.

The Flames are 1-3-2 on the year, while the Red Wings are a comparably massive 4-3-1. Last season the teams split their four meetings evenly. They each even scored the same number of goals on each other. All-time, the Red Wings have won one more game than the Flames have head-to-head, so there's bragging rights on the line.

And a pair of points that the Flames desperately, desperately need.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames lost a heart-breaker on Saturday against the Blackhawks but everyone – media and coaches alike – seemed very impressed with how the team basically dominated Chicago and lost due to some epically horrible luck.

Friend of the site Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) reported no changes at Monday's early morning practice at the Corral prior to the Flames jetting out to Detroit. According to Tuesday's morning skate, your designated scratches will be Tim Jackman and Cory Sarich.

  • Cammalleri – Tanguay – Iginla
  • Glencross – Backlund – Stempniak
  • Hudler – Stajan – Cervenka
  • Comeau – Jones – Begin

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

  • Kiprusoff

Anton Babchuk has been cleared for contact and is traveling with the team, but is a ways away from slotting back in.

As you may notice, there's a shocking amount of balance between the top three lines. Hartley's tended to (smartly) give the Iginla and Stajan lines the offensive-zone high ground, but as the games progress (and depending on situation) he's also sent the Czechs into the defensive zone.

Now if only Glencross and Iginla can start to light the lamp...

THE OPPOSITION

The Wings have been utterly ravaged by injuries but have still managed to keep their heads above water in the standings. They'll be without Darren Helm, Jan Mursak, Mikael Samuelsson, Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Smith, Joey MacDonald, Jonas Gustavsson and (maybe) Ian White. As of yesterday's practice, here's their most likely lines, courtesy Ansar Khan at MLive.com.

  • Franzen – Zetterberg – Brunner
  • Filippula – Datsyuk – Tatar
  • Cleary - Abdelkader – Bertuzzi
  • Miller – Emmerton - Tootoo

  • Kronwall – Ericsson
  • Quincey – Lashoff
  • Huskins – Kindl

  • Howard

Ian White, who led the Wings in scoring against Calgary last year, practiced with the team on Monday but didn't skate in a pairing. He hopes to play, but I'd expect him to be (a) a game-time decision and (b) on the second-pairing if he does swap in, likely at Lashoff's expense.

In an odd quirk of the AHL and NHL schedules, Tomas Tatar and goalie Petr Mrazek played for the Grand Rapids Griffins and beat the Abbotsford Heat 1-0 on Saturday, and now they'll play on the big club against the Flames.

Overall, the Wings have survived quite well without the bodies they're missing. Damian Brunner's fit in admirably, but the team really doesn't have the depth they once had. I mean, Jordin Tootoo is on their team, their bottom-six doesn't really drive the play and their defense is a bit scary.

SUM IT UP

The Chicago Blackhawks are an excellent hockey team that the Flames just took it to on Saturday night, losing through a horrible run of luck. The Detroit Red Wings are not quite as good as the Blackhawks, and the Flames can't keep being this unlucky, right?

Well, it's entirely possible, but it's not likely.

So if the Flames play as well as they did against Chicago, and Jimmy Howard doesn't become the next Ray Emery, there's a good chance that Calgary can leave Michigan with some points. When you consider that the Wings are utterly ravaged by injuries, the Flames won't have a better chance to cash in on Detroit than they have right now.

 

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Now in his fourth 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 and the Wrestling Observer.
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#101 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 06:59PM
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Nice save Smith...

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#102 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:00PM
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Ugh Kipper dodged a bullet while doing the breaststroke...

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#103 Colin.S
February 05 2013, 07:00PM
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That was just some utter pure luck by Smith, but damnit if he doesn't deserve some.

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#104 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:01PM
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Is it sad that I'm happy we're able to make complete passes on the PP, I haven't seen that for years!

Hope Cervenka gets one.

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#105 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 07:03PM
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wings are an ahl team other than zetts and dats

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#106 redricardo
February 05 2013, 07:08PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

listened to tsn toronto radio today, overwhrlming distain for dion, much of the day was callin. one reporter went as far as questioning if dion has the intelligence to read the play. was bustin a nut, seems leaf nation much like flames nation want to blow the thing up.

How could they get mad at Dion? Did they expect him to be good at hockey?

Maybe he just needs to turn up the radio some more, that's why he's captain, right? Not for playing hockey with a strong defensive passion... cause he doesn't.

He's exactly as advertised fickle fans... calm down

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#107 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:11PM
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Lidstrom would have scored on that...

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#108 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:12PM
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Atta boy Mr. bean

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#109 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 07:12PM
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I think ATB stole that idea for a commercial from the Fonz.

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#110 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 07:14PM
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redricardo wrote:

How could they get mad at Dion? Did they expect him to be good at hockey?

Maybe he just needs to turn up the radio some more, that's why he's captain, right? Not for playing hockey with a strong defensive passion... cause he doesn't.

He's exactly as advertised fickle fans... calm down

i highly recommend listening to tsn toronto, the dion bashing is priceless. makes for a humouress way to start the day.

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#111 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 07:14PM
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Flames not as agressive this period. Sitting on a two goal lead against the Wings is not smart.

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#112 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 07:14PM
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Stajan is driving me nuts tonight. Nothing major, but annoying little things everywhere.

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#113 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 07:15PM
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Nice effort Comeau!!!

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#114 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 07:16PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Stajan is driving me nuts tonight. Nothing major, but annoying little things everywhere.

so what you are saying kent is that the real mats is back

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#116 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 07:17PM
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LET CERVENKA TAKE THE PS!!!

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#117 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:17PM
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Please make a move!

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#118 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:18PM
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Ah least he didn't go five hole and hit the pad as per. What happened to that move he worked on last year that worked a few times?

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#119 JF
February 05 2013, 07:21PM
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I see the officiating in Detroit is it's usual level of "quality".

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#120 JF
February 05 2013, 07:21PM
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I see the officiating in Detroit is it's usual level of "quality".

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#121 Victoria Flames Fan
February 05 2013, 07:23PM
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Even the Detroit commentators are questioning the calls on Calgary esp the Hudler one.

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#122 Jdoane
February 05 2013, 07:25PM
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what a bad penalty call in the second that lead to the Wings first goal the NHL reffing is a jok

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#123 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 07:25PM
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@Victoria Flames Fan

Are you watching a US feed?

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#124 schevvy
February 05 2013, 07:31PM
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Yahoo!

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#125 schevvy
February 05 2013, 07:31PM
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Haha Howard. Yucky

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#126 Gunk
February 05 2013, 07:32PM
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lol Kerr... SCOOOOOOOOORES! nice late goal boys

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#127 JF
February 05 2013, 07:32PM
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Har, two huge bombs and Wideman scores on that one.

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#128 Colin.S
February 05 2013, 07:33PM
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I don't know, but Wideman has looked pretty good so far to start the season, I don't know if its full value for his contract, but much better than the doom and gloom, 3rd pairing in washington bad player that a lot of people were projecting him to be.

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#129 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 07:37PM
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@Colin.S

I'd prefer him on the 3rd pairing and PP here as well. Brodie has bailed him out a lot so far this season.

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#130 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:37PM
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Atta boy Wideman, now don't just sit back boys!

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#131 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 07:37PM
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Wow that Wideman goal was...something.

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#132 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 07:38PM
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Chances were 5-5 in the second. Pretty even period.

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#133 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 07:39PM
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Hudler the company man.

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#134 schevvy
February 05 2013, 07:40PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Wow that Wideman goal was...something.

After that Chicago game Flames deserve a few of those

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#136 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 07:45PM
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@schevvy

No argument from me.

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#137 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 07:48PM
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@schevvy

hey schevvy make sure you dont end up in calgary when you are supposed to be at work lol no haxes now

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#138 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 07:49PM
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I expect a big push back from DET in the third here.

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#139 Colin.S
February 05 2013, 07:49PM
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So Kipper is injured..... Well lets see how this goes.

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#140 aloudoun
February 05 2013, 07:50PM
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nice to see some things go the Flames way. Nice to get rewarded...

edit. Kipper is out. I stand corrected *facepalm

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#141 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 07:50PM
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Kipper injured.

This will get interesting.

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#142 schevvy
February 05 2013, 07:50PM
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WTF is going on

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#143 schevvy
February 05 2013, 07:51PM
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Damn damn damn

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#144 schevvy
February 05 2013, 07:51PM
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What did he hurt

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#146 aloudoun
February 05 2013, 07:51PM
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nice to get that pesky first save outta the way

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#147 loudogYYC
February 05 2013, 07:52PM
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Can we put a fork in the season yet? This is almost like hockey gods telling mgmt it's time to wake up!

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#150 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 07:53PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Why's Irving in?

kippa out with lower body injury, what happens if its long term is scary

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