FGD: A Visit from Nashville

Ryan Pike
March 15 2013 04:46PM

It'll be Western Night at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight as the Flames host the Nashville Predators. Expect cowboy hats, Taylor Swift and a very tight-checking defensive game. Game-time is 7pm and you can tune in on Sportsnet West or Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames (10-11-4) are attempting to extend their home winning streak to six games and to return to the .500 mark. The Predators (11-10-6) sit just four points up on Calgary and the Flames have two games in hand, so this is a huge opportunity for the Flames to become relevant again in the playoff picture. The Preds got stomped last night in Vancouver, losing 7-4...so, yes it's another opponent on the 2nd night of a B2B.

THE LINE-UP

As per usual, the Flames had an optional skate prior to tonight's game. Many players didn't suit up, although Sportsnet's Roger Millions tweeted that no line-up changes were expected from the group that beat Detroit on Wednesday night.

  • Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla
  • Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
  • Comeau – Backlund – Hudler
  • McGrattan – Begin – Jackman

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

  • Kiprusoff

There's no guarantee that Roman Cervenka doesn't slot back in, but there doesn't seem to be anybody that obviously drops out of the line-up.

The Flames will be trying to play a complete game. Most of the wins on their home streak have come via strong third period efforts, but the team has to find a way to put their mark on a game prior to the third period. The lucked out against Detroit after being handily outshot for the first two frames.

Calgary's second line continues to drive the bus offensively, contributing three even-strength goals against Detroit. Stajan and Stempniak have been the team's most consistent players this season, with Glencross (and Bouwmeester) slightly behind.

THE OPPOSITION

Nashville didn't skate this morning after their game in Vancouver, so all we can do is guess what their line-up will be. Here's roughly what their lines were at the end of last night's contest.

  • Halischuk – Legwand – Boychuk
  • Yip – Smith – Erat
  • Spaling – Fisher - Clune
  • Kostitsyn – Butler - Bourque

  • Weber – Josi
  • Ellis – Hannan
  • Klein – Bartley

  • Rinne

Rinne will start for the Preds. Scratches against Vancouver were Jonathan Blum and Chris Mueller. Paul Gaustad is out with an upper body injury. Colin Wilson and Patrich Hornqvist are also hurt.

The Preds are not an offensively-oriented team, as evidenced by them scoring seven fewer goals than Calgary in two more games (and that rather unappealing depth chart above). Heck, their leading scorer – Colin Wilson – has 19 points, comparable with four Flames (Tanguay, Iginla, Cammalleri and Stempniak) that have roughly that many points in fewer games.

That said, the Preds are much better defensively than Calgary, mostly because they have enjoy consistently good goaltending from Pekka Rinne and can turn the neutral zone into a quagmire.

SUM IT UP

The Flames have a winnable game in front of them and the chance to get back to .500, but they desperately need to be better in the first two periods than they were against Detroit. Nashville is a very hard team to catch up to once they get a lead and they play a strong, stifling defensive game.

Calgary was good enough to beat Detroit on Wednesday, but they'll need to play a better, more complete 60-minute game to repeat that result tonight against the Predators.

PS - Kent has 4 tickets to the HItmen gamr tomorrow night whic he can't use as well as a parking pass to get in. Section 119, row 12. First person to emal him (kent.wilson@gmail.com) gets them.

 

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 thymebalm
March 15 2013, 09:58PM
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Bizarre how the offense comes and go with this team.

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#2 Monaertchi
March 15 2013, 05:01PM
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Would anybody mind if McKnuckles was benched, Comeau slotted onto the 4th, and Cervenka onto the 3rd? Wouldn't that be the better line up?

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#3 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 05:03PM
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@Monaertchi

Yes it would.

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#4 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 05:16PM
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BTW - the tickets have been claimed.

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#5 mattyc
March 15 2013, 05:17PM
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What happened to Blum? I though he was a blue chip prospect that was going to see a lot of ice with Suter gone?

Also, Nashville's forwards look brutal (granted Wilson and Gaustad are hurt...)

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#6 meat1
March 15 2013, 06:46PM
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Monaertchi wrote:

Would anybody mind if McKnuckles was benched, Comeau slotted onto the 4th, and Cervenka onto the 3rd? Wouldn't that be the better line up?

Couldn't agree more. We are ruining any chance of Cervenka ever amounting to anything (here...)

For his sake, we may as well trade him to Dallas, so he can skate along Jagr again.

Another nicely managed personnel decision by our 'HOCKEY OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT'...

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#7 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 07:38PM
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Cummon boys make er interesting tonight!

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#8 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 07:41PM
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Really limp start by the Flames considering their opponent. They should be all over a tired and short-handed Preds team.

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#9 ChinookArch
March 15 2013, 07:42PM
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Jo-Gio nice goal.

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#10 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 07:43PM
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And as I type that Gio scores.

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#11 mattyc
March 15 2013, 07:43PM
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That's the Gio I remember!

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#12 mk
March 15 2013, 07:43PM
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Every time they announce the Maclin Moment on 1040, I think they're saying "Backlund Moment" and get all excited. :)

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#13 ChinookArch
March 15 2013, 07:48PM
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Trade him. Trade him. Trade him. Trade Comeau!

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#14 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 07:49PM
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Nice play by Hudler/Backlund...and Comeau I guess.

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#15 RKD
March 15 2013, 07:55PM
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Kent, would you be for or against an Iggy deal to LA for Bernier and reunited with Darryl Sutter? Or do you think Calgary would be better off to take a prospect/draft pick from Boston or Pittsburgh?

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#16 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 07:55PM
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Great zone entrance from Backlund and a really nice pass from Hudler.

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#17 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 07:57PM
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Another goal from Gaudreau tonight.

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#18 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 07:58PM
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That's gonna mess up Wideman's smile

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#19 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 08:01PM
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The Preds look like a tired AHL team. Flames aren't even executing that well overall but they still look like the Harlem Globetrotters.

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#20 Colin S
March 15 2013, 08:02PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The Preds look like a tired AHL team. Flames aren't even executing that well overall but they still look like the Harlem Globetrotters.

In that half the things the Flames do are jokes?

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#21 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 08:03PM
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@Kent Wilson

Interesting analogy given that the Globetrotters looked like world beaters, yet if they EVER played a real NBA team, they would be just destroyed.

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#22 ChinookArch
March 15 2013, 08:04PM
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Can someone explain why the Flames are so much better in the dot, this compared to the B. Sutter days? Are they practicing draws more?

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#23 mattyc
March 15 2013, 08:05PM
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@Kent Wilson

huh... I just assumed the flames had bought into Hartley's system and are turning the corner!

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#24 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 08:08PM
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Chances were 6-4 Flames in the first. Preds only had 2 at even strength.

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#25 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 08:08PM
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@mattyc

Also: confidence!

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#26 Bruins
March 15 2013, 08:15PM
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nashville sucks. They could get 3 good players for what they are paying weber.$13,000.000 for one player...that's nuts!!!!!

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#27 RKD
March 15 2013, 08:16PM
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Fox Sports interviewing Cale Hulse, that guy never ages.

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#28 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:18PM
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So how many more goals does comeau need to score before we can trade him for a pick?

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#29 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 08:19PM
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This is the 9th time this year the Flames are facing an opponent on the 2nd night of a B2B. That's nuts.

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#30 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:22PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

This is the 9th time this year the Flames are facing an opponent on the 2nd night of a B2B. That's nuts.

Wonder if its more then nine times we are pushing for that .500 mark again?

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#31 ChinookArch
March 15 2013, 08:31PM
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Great play.

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#32 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 08:32PM
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What a pass from Mike Cammalleri on that Hudler goal!!

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#33 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 08:33PM
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Vowswithin wrote:

Wonder if its more then nine times we are pushing for that .500 mark again?

I believe tonight IS there ninth attempt at the .500 mark actually.

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#34 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 08:34PM
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Predators are allowing long cross-ice passes all over the place. They are not in this one at all.

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#35 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:37PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

I believe tonight IS there ninth attempt at the .500 mark actually.

I didn't know but figured should be close.... So comeau sale?

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#36 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:38PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Predators are allowing long cross-ice passes all over the place. They are not in this one at all.

They look like dookie to me, pleaseanagement we are NOT BUYERS

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#37 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 08:40PM
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Vowswithin wrote:

I didn't know but figured should be close.... So comeau sale?

If ANYONE even inquired about Comeau, I would have the papers signed before they could finish the offer.

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#38 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 08:45PM
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@Vintage Flame

Not with how much Hartley likes the guy...

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#39 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:46PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

If ANYONE even inquired about Comeau, I would have the papers signed before they could finish the offer.

I would guess its mostly just a function of his shooting % slowly normalizing, but it looks like he is playing with a bit of confidence.

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#40 RKD
March 15 2013, 08:47PM
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The playoff cutoff is getting lower, Phoenix is 8th with 29 points in 27 games. At the current rate it would take 52 points to get in. A Flames win tonight would see their record at 11-11-4 they would need 26 points in the last 22 games to hit 52 points. A record of 12-8-2 could do the trick, or .545 hockey seems way more feasible than a .630 clip.

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#41 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:51PM
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RKD wrote:

The playoff cutoff is getting lower, Phoenix is 8th with 29 points in 27 games. At the current rate it would take 52 points to get in. A Flames win tonight would see their record at 11-11-4 they would need 26 points in the last 22 games to hit 52 points. A record of 12-8-2 could do the trick, or .545 hockey seems way more feasible than a .630 clip.

Ideally we sell and make playoffs, what would be sick! Win/win

F.O. Have been great lately

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#42 Colin S
March 15 2013, 08:54PM
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Vowswithin wrote:

Ideally we sell and make playoffs, what would be sick! Win/win

F.O. Have been great lately

I'm down with that.

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#43 Colin S
March 15 2013, 08:57PM
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Iggy seems to be slightly faster than the last season or two.

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#44 Vowswithin
March 15 2013, 08:57PM
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Colin S wrote:

I'm down with that.

And management can "save face", p.s. i intrigued by the jake gardener possibly being available. Any one else feel the same?

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#45 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 09:02PM
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Chances were 9-4 Flames in the second period. 7-3 at ES.

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#46 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 09:06PM
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Flames dominating the face off circle again 19-13.

Cammalleri leading the way at 82%

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#47 Colin S
March 15 2013, 09:22PM
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GLENNY!

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#48 Vintage Flame
March 15 2013, 09:22PM
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SCOREFACE!!!!

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#49 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 09:23PM
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That's a good goal.

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#50 Kent Wilson
March 15 2013, 09:23PM
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Lee Stempniak has been excellent for the Flames. I don't think I've talked about this enough.

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