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 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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#151 aloudoun
February 05 2013, 07:54PM
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Im going to stay positive. Kipper's injury may be minor. If it isnt then this could be Irvings coming out party... if not top 3 draft pick! There is no downside!

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#152 loudogYYC
February 05 2013, 07:59PM
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Is Butler enough to pry Ben Bishop or Lehner out of Ottawa you guys think?

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#153 Willi P
February 05 2013, 07:59PM
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The Kid looks cool out there

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#154 Rain Dogs
February 05 2013, 07:59PM
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Irving is playing really, really small right now. They are going to start shooting high very soon.

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#155 negrilcowboy
February 05 2013, 08:00PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

Is Butler enough to pry Ben Bishop or Lehner out of Ottawa you guys think?

spezza out, sens lookin for scoring me thinks

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#156 Rick
February 05 2013, 08:01PM
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Kerr is brutal

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#157 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 08:02PM
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Irving looks small in the net; no way he's 6'0.

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#158 schevvy
February 05 2013, 08:03PM
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Rain Dogs wrote:

Irving is playing really, really small right now. They are going to start shooting high very soon.

I've noticed that too. Maybe he can get away with it this game since it's only 1 period, but won't get away with it much longer

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#159 JF
February 05 2013, 08:05PM
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Hate to see him injured but let's be honest we were not getting Kipper level goaltending from him anyways this year. I hate to say it but maybe this will a net positive at least in the short-term.

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#160 Rain Dogs
February 05 2013, 08:05PM
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The Flames skaters, however, are doing great in the neutral zone. Not sure how the coaches got them working like this (especially the vets), but they look good.

The first few games looked like the Keenan days, but this game and last, they've been very strong on the forecheck and backcheck.

Their puck pursuit is impressive (and I never thought I'd say that about this core)

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#161 loudogYYC
February 05 2013, 08:06PM
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WTF was that all about? Holy crap, Kerr.

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#162 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 08:07PM
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Red Wings not genrating anything in the third. Good period for the Flames so far.

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#163 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 08:08PM
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Haha Kerr is a dork

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#164 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 08:11PM
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I'm hoping Kipper isn't really hurt. That the Flames are just saying he is because they have a 3-1 lead on a beat up wings team and they want to subject Irving to a "Pressure Test"???

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#165 Willi P
February 05 2013, 08:11PM
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Irving will be fine. Undersized? So is Brodie.

Cervenka is too skilled for Stajan. Matt is coming back down to earth. Time for some more skill on that line

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#166 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 08:12PM
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@Vintage Flame

I had the same theory.

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#167 SadFlamesFan
February 05 2013, 08:16PM
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With Kipper hurt, we are a last place team, I fear. Oh, wait a minute. We are with him in net as well. This sucks.

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#168 loudogYYC
February 05 2013, 08:18PM
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Detroit seems to be shadow of the past. There's no way Holland sits put with these results.

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#169 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 08:19PM
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Scary Gary wrote:

I had the same theory.

I HIGHLY doubt it is the case, but it would be an interesting move if it was true.

I wonder if we see Broissot make his debut in a Flames jersey on Thursday??

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#170 Willi P
February 05 2013, 08:20PM
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Flames new style and Wings seem to be very similar. Good match up

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#171 schevvy
February 05 2013, 08:21PM
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Yes boys

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#172 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Ahhh. I missed Gio's goal.

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#173 schevvy
February 05 2013, 08:23PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

I HIGHLY doubt it is the case, but it would be an interesting move if it was true.

I wonder if we see Broissot make his debut in a Flames jersey on Thursday??

I would be stunned if Broissoit played. I'll say Brust gets signed tomorrow

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#174 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 08:23PM
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loudogYYC wrote:

Detroit seems to be shadow of the past. There's no way Holland sits put with these results.

Other than Kronwall they're pretty weak on D. I haven't seen a Detroit team like this since 1989-1990.

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#175 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 08:24PM
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schevvy wrote:

I would be stunned if Broissoit played. I'll say Brust gets signed tomorrow

No way... Flames aren't going to burn a contract on Brust unless the injury to Kipper is long-term.

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#176 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 08:26PM
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Is it too soon to say the Flames earned the W?

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#177 aloudoun
February 05 2013, 08:26PM
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What about Karlso... oh wait.

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#178 Rain Dogs
February 05 2013, 08:27PM
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Not much to complain about with this game. All around solid effort.

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#179 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 08:28PM
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I just can't believe how much better the offense is this year.

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#180 Kent Wilson
February 05 2013, 08:28PM
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Chances were 3-2 for the Flames in the third. Good shut-down period.

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#182 yomamen
February 05 2013, 08:29PM
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good game. time to go back to bed. hope Kipper will be fine. bye guys

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#183 Willi P
February 05 2013, 08:29PM
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Trade everybody, blow it up. Get 1st rounders.

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#184 Vintage Flame
February 05 2013, 08:29PM
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One of Cammalleri's best games this year.

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#185 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 08:29PM
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Hartley hockey is waaaaaay more fun to watch.

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#186 schevvy
February 05 2013, 08:31PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Whew. Put it in the win column, folks.

We'll know the extent of Kiprusoff's injury in the morning.

If it's short-term, we'll probably see Brossoit on a ATO. If it's longer-term, we'll probably see Danny Taylor signed and recalled.

After thinking about it, I agree with Ryan. No matter what Irving starts Thursday if Kipper can't go

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#187 Colin.S
February 05 2013, 08:32PM
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I'm with Ryan, I think the Flames go Taylor over Brust, however we don't know the extent of any injury, though it was bound to happen, he's played so many games without injury, it was just a matter of time. However with how Kipper was playing, it's not much like it matters.

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#188 cLYDE
February 05 2013, 08:35PM
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Please say they pulled Kipper back because he is being traded.

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#190 Willi P
February 05 2013, 08:40PM
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cLYDE wrote:

Please say they pulled Kipper back because he is being traded.

Ya that's it. Iggy too. Sarcasm off.

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#191 Scary Gary
February 05 2013, 08:46PM
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Isn't Ortio on loan? How would that work? Anyone...I need closure.

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#192 jjones
February 05 2013, 08:56PM
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Hey--points in four of our last five!

Or, only one regulation loss in our last five...

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#193 jeremywilhelm
February 05 2013, 08:58PM
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Anyone notice that Hartley gives Backlund way more ice time in third periods than in 1st and 2nd? Or does it just seem that way.

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#194 ChinookArch
February 05 2013, 09:03PM
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@jeremywilhelm

I think you might be right. I just kept thinking he would be getting more TOI in the next game.

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#195 jeremywilhelm
February 05 2013, 09:17PM
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@ChinookArch

As soon as the third started he was at 8 mins, he got over 6 more mins just in the third. Interesting strategy for Hartley. Push with young legs in the third. He did it in Chi as well.

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#196 jeremywilhelm
February 05 2013, 09:22PM
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yep, he had 8 shifts in the third, about 7 mins, 3 of which were well over a minute long. Only 4 shifts in the second for a total of 3.5 ish minutes. first period 6 shifts for like 3.5 mins.

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#197 FlameinATL
February 05 2013, 09:29PM
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Solid effort Flames, excellent in fact. Keep it up in Columbus and let us go to Vancouver with something to play for.

Some of you folks in Calgary may complain about the Flames, but you do not realize how good you have it.

I miss the flaming A 33 years later.

I am beginning to like this team's skill and grit. A lesser team would have folded after Saturday. And Hartley is a good coach. Lots to like.

Go Flames!

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#198 jjones
February 05 2013, 09:41PM
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This from a comment over at Winging It In Motown:

Speed kills this team. Teams with good speed (which is not hard to find in today’s league) and a good amount of forechecking will keep Detroit stuck in their own zone.

He's speaking about Detroit, and the team with "good speed" he's referring to is the Flames...

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#199 McRib
February 05 2013, 09:48PM
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@FlameinATL

Too bad there wasn't more Hockey fans like you in the ATL, still sad to see the NHL leave such an amazing city!!! Though the Thrashers really never had the on ice product. Its funny the Canadian media loves to rip on the Flames, but whenever they are in the US, no matter the city there are always plenty of Flames jerseys in the crowd!!! Wish it pumped the team up as much as it does us fans!!!

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#200 McRib
February 05 2013, 09:56PM
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Hate to say it I told you so, but I remember the Fickle Fans on here who thought we overpaid for Wideman.... He is a Top. 10 PP quarterback in the league and they don't come around often. Washington seems to be missing him big time!!! He allows Jay Bo to play more even strength where he can use his fresh legs to jump into the rush and also takes pressure off Gio.

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