FGD: One Can of RAID

Justin Azevedo
February 07 2013 12:12PM

The Flames followed up a tough loss on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks with a, well, easier win on Tuesday in Detroit. While Calgary didn't dominate the Wings like they did the Hawks, they nevertheless still finished close to even in scoring chances and shots despite the fact Detroit was chasing the majority of the game. Some guy also got hurt, but that's not important...

For as bad of a team the Columbus Blue Jackets are supposed to be, the Calgary Flames somehow always struggle when the two meet. It's not even that the Flames have been bad: I distinctly remember a 5-0 drubbing of the Flames back in January of 2009, when the teams were second (Calgary) and thirteenth (Columbus) in the conference. Indeed, dating back to that season the Flames have a record of 8-6-2 against the Blue Jackets.

None of that matters, though, so the above paragraph was just a waste of your time. No, tonight two very different teams will play in the Buckeye state.

The Line-Up

  • Cammalleri (?) - Tanguay - Iginla
  • Cervenka - Stajan - Hudler
  • Glencross - Backlund - Stempniak
  • Begin - Jones - Comeau

  • Giordano - Bouwmeester
  • Wideman - Brodie
  • Smith - Butler

  • Irving

Obviously the key name missing here is Miikka Kiprusoff. However, for as much as been made regarding his injury, it seems to be relatively minor (I'm hearing MCL strain) since he's listed Day-To-Day and the team didn't trade for a backup, instead signing the Heat's Danny Taylor to a pro contract. There's also the fact that Kiprusoff has been really poor thus far this year: an .897 EVSV% puts him 30th out of 33 in the group of guys I consider "starters". That's obviously not good, especially when you consider threshold level goaltending is about a .914 EVSV% - about 2 goals. Now, that might not sound like a lot but when a guy's cap hit is 5 million plus, he's gotta be providing better than ECHL-level goaltending. If Irving can come in and post a .910 EVSV%, I think the Flames are fine.

Jarome Iginla scored his first of the season (finally) against the Red Wings, and now has 5 points on the season. Once his shooting percentage corrects (adjusted for his career SH%, he'd have 4 goals), we'll see a big burst. We've all been quite impressed with Jarome thus far, as he no longer looks or tallies like a huge liability defensively. Nice to see.

Mike Cammalleri is apparently batling some bumps and may not be in the line-up tonight. He's listed as a "game time decision", so expect Jackman to pull back in and one of Glencross or Stempniak to move up to the top unit in Cammalleri's absence.

TJ Brodie continues to kill it out there, averaging about 19:20 per game since being moved up to the second paring with Dennis Wideman. He's not looking out of place there either, and his scoring chance numbers look pretty solid for a 22 year old facing some stiff comp. 

The Opponent

  • Umberger - Anisimov - Dorsett
  • Brassard - Dubinsky - Foligno
  • Calvert - Letestu - Prospal
  • Gillies - MacKenzie- Boll

  • Jonhson - Erixon
  • Nikitin - Tyutin
  • Holden - Savard

  • Bobrovsky

It's a little hard not to feel bad for Steve Mason, who has had frankly unrealistic expectations placed upon him since the second he walked up the stage to receive the Calder Trophy in 2009. I'm one of the people who doesn't believe Mason was ever really that good - he just had a pretty great run of luck in his rookie season and since then he’s had a ton of pressure on him to be a number one goalie. I don't think there's any question that he can play ~55 games a season, he hasn't really been able to do it effectively on a regular basis. Don't be shocked to see Sergei Bobrovsky take over as the number one permanently around the 15 game mark.

There's obviously no Rick Nash up there, but the package received from the Rangers - albeit a little disappointing in comparison to the rumoured deadline deal - is still quite solid. Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov are both legitimate top-6 players, and Dubinsky is a bit of a lifter: he was one of only 3 New York Rangers forwards to have a positive Corsi rating last year, even though he was hampered with a 41.8% ZS while playing the third-toughest competition among forwards.

Dubinsky is only 26 and Anisimov only 24 - both should be good players for the Jackets for the next half-decade at least. I'm a little more bullish on Tim Erixon than most, especially since I no longer fault him for anything that happened when he was Flames property. All the things I've heard and read about his starting the season in the AHL was due to a lack of strength, not skill - and it makes sense, as the kid is just 21. First round picks are always a good thing to have as well, but I'm not convinced the use of the Rangers' will be optimized in the hands of Scott Howson.

The Jackets have two very interesting young players in Ryan Johansen and Cam Atkinson. While Atkinson is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury, he's a pretty exciting, if diminutive (I'd say 5'6, 160 at best) player. Johansen was recently assigned to the Jackets' AHL affiliate in Springfield. He's projected to be a first line center at some point, but the development hasn't been there at the NHL level yet (he's about a PPG player on the farm). However hard it is to believe, though, he's only 20 years old, so he has lots of time. I see a future in Columbus (or Seattle or Quebec City or whatever) that has both of these guys playing on the top line.

Sum It Up

Even given the fact that the Flames are starting a goalie who has had some, ahem, underwhelming results in the pros, this should be a win for the Flames, just like the Colorado game was (supposed to be). Hopefully the Flames can get luck on their side this time.

The Blue Jackets are a team in turmoil, and while they have some nice parts, it won't come together until the development of guys like Johansen, Atkinson and Erixon catches up to that of Callahan et al. The Blue Jackets are one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league, and they play like it.

Go Flames.

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Justin is a 23-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#1 FlameinATL
February 07 2013, 08:58PM
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Get behind this team Calgary.

With each outing, this team will gain confidence and poise. Saturday will tell much. Hurt and tired and at the end of a road trip, we will see how they respond. I think well. This team is skilled, well-coached and gritty.

Get behind this team Calgary.

Go Flames!

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#2 Parallex
February 07 2013, 12:45PM
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"Tim Erixon"

Boo This Man.

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#3 negrilcowboy
February 07 2013, 06:16PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Getting a reply from you, schevvy, is worth it. =)

schevvy elevated to god like status.

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#4 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 08:04PM
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Brodie had a massive game tonight. He is so impressive so far.

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#5 Dave
February 07 2013, 12:22PM
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This is a trap game. Flames have fallen for this trap all too often in the past. I'd love to see the flames not play down to their competition tonight.

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#6 @Gingras34
February 07 2013, 12:47PM
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Nice work Justin.

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#7 exsanguinator
February 07 2013, 01:41PM
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If Irving can provide at least league average goaltending, and I'm confident that he can, then there should be no reason for the Flames to lose this one. It's probably going to be closer than it should be so I'm calling 4-3 Flames.

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#8 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 01:55PM
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CBJ is legitimately bad. They have the worst possession rate in the league by a fair margin. Absent terrible luck, the Flames should take this one.

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#9 FireOnIce
February 07 2013, 02:02PM
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IIRC, Umberger has always been a Flame killer. He had a hat trick in one game I saw (something like 4 or 5 pts that night) and has been a pain in the ass most other times. He's basically CBJ's Ryan Clowe.

We shall see which Flames show up. Hopefully, it's the team that has confidence in their goalie and will show up to play 60 minutes tonight. Kipper has been a pile of BS so it doesn't really matter if he's injured or not at this point.

I also remember a couple years ago when a Flames fan in Columbus was phoning in threats that he was going to blow up Steve Mason and their stadium.

Go Flames Go.

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#10 everton fc
February 07 2013, 02:07PM
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I like Derek Dorsett a lot, and wish he were a Flame. To see him on the first line; good for him, not so good for the Jackets...

I wonder when he and either Begin or Jackman square off. It's inevitable. Probably Boll v Jackman, which is never a good matchup for Jackman.

It'll be good to see Irving get his chance. Again, inevitable, to some extent.

The Jackets are still the Jackets. And always seem to give the Flames issues. Here's hoping they end up in Quebec City!

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#11 ChinookArch
February 07 2013, 02:18PM
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@everton fc

E FC,

How did I know you chime in with some Dorsett love. Haha.

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#12 RexLibris
February 07 2013, 02:22PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

CBJ is legitimately bad. They have the worst possession rate in the league by a fair margin. Absent terrible luck, the Flames should take this one.

There's that fatal "should" though. Here's hoping that the Flames carry over something from the previous two games. That would indicate that Hartley's system is working and that the players are applying it consistently.

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#13 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 07 2013, 03:07PM
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my prediction - 5-zip flames win

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#14 suba steve
February 07 2013, 03:09PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

CBJ is legitimately bad. They have the worst possession rate in the league by a fair margin. Absent terrible luck, the Flames should take this one.

My memories of last year say...the BJ's lick the Flames tonight (sorry, couldn't resist). No need to watch, sorry for spoiling by giving the result, y-all.

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#15 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 03:16PM
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@suba steve

What do we win if you're wrong and the Flames are victorious?

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#16 Purple Hazze
February 07 2013, 03:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

CBJ is legitimately bad. They have the worst possession rate in the league by a fair margin. Absent terrible luck, the Flames should take this one.

Kent have there been any studies done that show greater possession rates equals more wins? I know it makes sense intuitively that if you have the puck more often than not you'll win the game, but just wondering if there's actual numbers out there that show this correlation.

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#17 Jai Kiran
February 07 2013, 03:34PM
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Is Erixon really on the top pairing with Johnson?

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#18 schevvy
February 07 2013, 03:34PM
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This is actually a huge game in my mind. Over Sutter's tenure the Flames overlooked these teams, and as a result lost games like this which cost them a playoff spot. If they're serious about competing for a playoff spot, this is a must win. Go Irving Go!

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#19 Steve
February 07 2013, 03:38PM
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schevvy wrote:

This is actually a huge game in my mind. Over Sutter's tenure the Flames overlooked these teams, and as a result lost games like this which cost them a playoff spot. If they're serious about competing for a playoff spot, this is a must win. Go Irving Go!

What he said.

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#20 the-wolf
February 07 2013, 03:46PM
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Flames should win tonight. It'll be several more games before everyone starts to key in on and take away the stretch pass and frustrate them. Right now teams are seemingly caught off guard by the Flames new style of play. It'll also be a few more weeks until the legs start to tire and the self-satisfaction sets in. But they should win tonight.

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#21 suba steve
February 07 2013, 04:09PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

What do we win if you're wrong and the Flames are victorious?

HEADline in the Herald (or more likely the Sun): "Flames Lick BJ's".

That should be reward enough.

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#22 RexLibris
February 07 2013, 04:21PM
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Karma and fate being the fickle unkind beings that they are, does anyone here predict Mason getting a shutout and Irving or Taylor getting yanked?

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#23 schevvy
February 07 2013, 04:23PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Karma and fate being the fickle unkind beings that they are, does anyone here predict Mason getting a shutout and Irving or Taylor getting yanked?

Shut up Rex! Don't you say such a thing.

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#24 RKD
February 07 2013, 05:01PM
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Go Flames Go! I hate getting beat by those Columbus Stupid Jackets. No Nash to deal with.

It's official Cammy is out of the lineup with a hip flexor and is now day to day.

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#25 T&A4Flames
February 07 2013, 05:02PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Karma and fate being the fickle unkind beings that they are, does anyone here predict Mason getting a shutout and Irving or Taylor getting yanked?

Shut it Rex!!

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#26 Willi P
February 07 2013, 05:03PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Karma and fate being the fickle unkind beings that they are, does anyone here predict Mason getting a shutout and Irving or Taylor getting yanked?

Mason will get the shut out Rex, he is not playing (according to the lineup posted above)

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#27 Willi P
February 07 2013, 05:03PM
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Shut out of the game that is

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#28 Willi P
February 07 2013, 05:04PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

my prediction - 5-zip flames win

There is the kiss of death for the Flames.

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#29 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:09PM
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@Jai Kiran

The Tyutin pairing might be the true tough match-up one, but that's what Roger Millions reported today as the duos.

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#30 Atkinson rules
February 07 2013, 05:17PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Karma and fate being the fickle unkind beings that they are, does anyone here predict Mason getting a shutout and Irving or Taylor getting yanked?

Nah, I think it's more likely Taylor Hall breaks his ankle in the Oilers next game for that dumb between the legs play. Karma and the hockey gods don't like showboating :)!!!

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#31 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:22PM
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Well Im definitely interested to see how Irving does, whether it's good or bad.

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#32 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:34PM
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Bit of a sloppy start to this one.

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#33 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:36PM
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Goooaal.

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#34 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:38PM
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Not the best start there Irv.

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#35 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:42PM
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Yeesh. Flames are icing the puck entirely too much against such a limp foe.

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#36 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 07 2013, 05:45PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Bit of a sloppy start to this one.

it seems this is the flames team that shows up every time there's a backup... icing the puck, dumping it away, running around... geez what the heck

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#37 Avalain
February 07 2013, 05:46PM
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Ok, wait, why was that not offside? Does it not count if the defending team carrys it back in?

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#38 lionlager
February 07 2013, 05:47PM
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Irving terrifies me.

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#39 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 07 2013, 05:48PM
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I HATE the behind the net camera view for the power play... can't see what's happening, has a fishbowl affect

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#40 Jeff In Lethbridge
February 07 2013, 05:50PM
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where's the team that just killed it against chicago and detroit? omg

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#41 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:53PM
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@Jeff In Lethbridge

Fast asleep apparently.

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#42 Baalzamon
February 07 2013, 05:56PM
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Brutal.

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#43 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 05:58PM
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Really underwhelming first from the Flames.

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#44 Vintage Flame
February 07 2013, 06:00PM
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Less than impressive PP from the first Flames PP. Hope this one goes better.

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#45 Vintage Flame
February 07 2013, 06:01PM
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.... So much for that one... Sigh

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#46 joe
February 07 2013, 06:04PM
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the Flames look horrible.

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#47 negrilcowboy
February 07 2013, 06:06PM
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nikita nikitten sounds like a peeler from the french maid.

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#48 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 06:08PM
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Outchanced 4-2 by the Blue Jackets and the Flames iced the puck probably 5 times. They are flat as a pancake.

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#49 ChinookArch
February 07 2013, 06:10PM
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I missed the entire 1st. How did the Flames play?

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#50 Kent Wilson
February 07 2013, 06:12PM
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@ChinookArch

Be glad you missed it.

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