FGD: Not-So-Shining Stars

Ryan Pike
March 18 2013 01:20PM

 

 

The Calgary Flames hit the road for a three-game swing this week, one that will probably tip the scales regarding their playoff fate. That is, unless they go 1-1-1, in which case they'll tread water.

Nonetheless, the Flames begin their trip with a jaunt to Dallas to visit the Stars for their third meeting of the year. Calgary (11-11-4) previously beat Dallas twice – once on February 13 by a 7-4 score and once on February 17 by a 4-3 margin. Now the Flames face them one more time, again with a back-up netminder between the pipes.

Can the Flames continue their success against Big D? Or will their 1-5-1 record when trying to get over the .500 hump be a portent of doom? Find out live on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan at 6:30pm.

THE LINE-UP

 The Flames are 2-0 against the Stars this year, but oddly enough, they've become incredibly streaky since their last meet-up with Dallas. Since their February 17 game, the Flames have lost twice, won twice, lost twice, won twice, lost three times and, now, won twice. They have got to find a way to halt that trend and keep their winning ways.

Tonight they'll have to do it without Miikka Kiprusoff (child birth). Kiprusoff is home with his wife, expecting his second child (Oscar Kiprusoff!), while Backlund is on the trip but unlikely to play according to Sportsnet's Roger Millions. Danny Taylor has re-joined the team as a back-up.
 

That probably allows Roman Cervenka to slot back in. Lines will likely start off something like this.

UPDATE (5pm MT): Roger Millions is indicating that Backlund WILL play tonight.

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

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

  • MacDonald

That second line has been dynamite. The trio has combined for 5 goals, 14 points and a +15 rating over the past two games and they have been driving the bus offensively at even-strength. Almost as cold as is Jarome Iginla, who somehow had zero points over a pair of games where his team scored 10 goals.

The absence of Kiprusoff will be notable. Granted, the Flames have won without their starting netminder – they were above .500 without him – but he was excellent over the past two games and if you're looking for a way to halt Calgary's momentum, taking Kiprusoff out is a great way to do it.

THE OPPOSITION

The Stars are floundering a bit, having lost four straight – including three in a row at home – culminating with an 8-1 beatdown by Chicago on Saturday. Their trouble? Lack of scoring, with their team scoring three goals over the past four contests while allowing 15 goals. Eeep.

Dallas (12-12-3) is perched just above Calgary in the standings, and it's hard to tell if that's where they belong. The Stars have been hobbled by injuries at times, but they've been almost as hindered by inconsistency from their roster. A 8-1 butt-whuppin' probably doesn't do much for the team's confidence.

From Roger Millions' Twitter, the likely Dallas lines:

  • Whitney – Benn – Eriksson
  • Morrow – Roy – Cole
  • Smith – Eakin – Jagr
  • Nystrom – Fiddler – Roussel

  • Larsen – Daley
  • Robidas – Oleksiak
  • Benn – Dillon

  • Lehtonen

SUM IT UP

The Flames are at .500, sit four points back of eighth-place San Jose, and have a game in hand. Oh, and they have two or three games in hand on literally every team between them and San Jose in the standings and are beginning a road trip where they play the three teams immediately ahead of them (Dallas, Nashville and Columbus).

I'm not saying this is a make-or-break stretch, but the Flames simply will not get a better chance to get back into the thick of things than they will this week. Kiprusoff or no Kiprusoff, there's no better way to start off a roadie than against a team that got stomped last game and hasn't won in over a week.

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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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#51 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 07:44PM
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Neither Wideman nor Giordano take the open man in front of the net.

The Flames are flat as a pancake. Worst period by them in awhile.

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#53 Subversive
March 18 2013, 07:45PM
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Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast...

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#54 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 07:48PM
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Chances were 12-3 Dallas. Two of Calgary chances came on the PP and all of them were from around the top of the circles. Almost all of DAL chances were from the deep slot or the crease.

Yikes.

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#55 RKD
March 18 2013, 07:50PM
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Dallas got pasted 8-1 by the Hawks, they must have been pissed off by that game and are taking it out on Calgary. Hockey players are proud guys, the Stars don't want to be embarrassed like that again.

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#56 schevvy
March 18 2013, 07:50PM
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Well then...wow. Thankfully March Madness starts Thursday

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#57 negrilcowboy
March 18 2013, 07:51PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Chances were 12-3 Dallas. Two of Calgary chances came on the PP and all of them were from around the top of the circles. Almost all of DAL chances were from the deep slot or the crease.

Yikes.

dreadful, how can anyone think this team has a legit chance seriously.

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#58 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 07:52PM
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Geeze Kent.. You'd think Dallas was trying to send a message or something??

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#59 schevvy
March 18 2013, 07:54PM
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Kent...did you jinx them again?

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#60 Kevin
March 18 2013, 08:03PM
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Way to keep your head on a swivel boys!!

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#62 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 08:04PM
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Not sure Iggy fighting Eakin is going to send the message to the boys, "Ok let's get this going"....

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#63 schevvy
March 18 2013, 08:10PM
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Well, you'd think this period has to be better

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#65 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 08:11PM
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Nice set up by Stajan if Stemps could have hit the net there.

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#66 Jeff Y
March 18 2013, 08:15PM
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Is this really a surprise? They've one two in a row. It is impossible for this team to when a third. And why is Mac still in net?

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#67 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 08:17PM
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Can't really hang the goals on MacDonald.. Flames provided little support and if not for MacBackup, the score might be 5 or 6-0

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#68 schevvy
March 18 2013, 08:19PM
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Wow what a weak call

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#69 Jeff Y
March 18 2013, 08:20PM
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@VF

Fair point.

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#71 schevvy
March 18 2013, 08:21PM
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Holy Mac! Wow

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#72 Jibmeister
March 18 2013, 08:23PM
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Wow.

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#73 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 08:28PM
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That's better

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#74 ChinookArch
March 18 2013, 08:28PM
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Quick work on the PP.

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#75 schevvy
March 18 2013, 08:28PM
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Hey! They got one

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#77 Lordmork
March 18 2013, 08:30PM
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Been reading for a while, first time posting. Signed up to ask, why the Flames are so inconsistent? To my untrained eye, they can look like a different team from shift to shift, let alone period to period and game to game.

At least they scored in the time it took to type this.

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#79 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 08:32PM
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JBO!!

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#80 Kevin
March 18 2013, 08:33PM
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Oh Jay soooo dirty

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#81 mk
March 18 2013, 08:36PM
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@Jibmeister

I had to do a double take on your picture...I WISH Feaster would read this stuff. Haha!

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#83 ChinookArch
March 18 2013, 08:37PM
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Listen to Charlie "get your feet moving". Good grief, find a new idiom.

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#84 schevvy
March 18 2013, 08:42PM
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What a freakin backhand by J-Bo. Very impressive

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#85 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 08:43PM
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Flames had a better period in the FO circle, led by Backlund at 71%

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#86 schevvy
March 18 2013, 08:53PM
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Flames are going to acquire Jagr, I can see it...

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#87 ChinookArch
March 18 2013, 08:58PM
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schevvy wrote:

Flames are going to acquire Jagr, I can see it...

You know, he wouldn't be a pick up next season, if a team planned to deal him at te deadline. It could be awy to pay for depth or picks.

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#88 MC Hockey
March 18 2013, 08:59PM
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schevvy wrote:

Flames are going to acquire Jagr, I can see it...

Of course! He's old, retiring soon, and marginally effective!

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#89 MC Hockey
March 18 2013, 08:59PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Listen to Charlie "get your feet moving". Good grief, find a new idiom.

Charlie is so L.A. In the 80's!

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#90 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 09:04PM
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Bad call on Bouw

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#92 ChinookArch
March 18 2013, 09:08PM
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Any bets on 3 for 3 on the PP?

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#93 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 09:08PM
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Pretty marginal call on Nystrom.

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#94 Vintage Flame
March 18 2013, 09:12PM
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Good Iggy shift

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#96 Gunk
March 18 2013, 09:16PM
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trolling here... I'm surprised how well the flames have responded after such a brutal 1st. I'm still not sure if I should be happy if they end up winning though. To tank or try; that is the question.

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#97 ChinookArch
March 18 2013, 09:20PM
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Has Cervenka played in the 3rd?

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#100 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 09:23PM
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Bang the gong.

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