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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#101 schevvy
March 18 2013, 09:24PM
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Whoever was planning the parade can stop now

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#102 RKD
March 18 2013, 09:24PM
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Breaking news Ducks sign Corey Perry for 8 years at $69 million, more than Getzlaf but less than market value. Had he gone to July 1 he could have gotten 9-10 million on the open market. This deal is an average annual value of 8.625 million a year.

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#103 Gunk
March 18 2013, 09:28PM
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Who here DOESN'T have an upper deck Jagr rookie card?

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#104 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 09:28PM
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@RKD

Yuck. Too long a contract for my liking.

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#106 MC Hockey
March 18 2013, 09:29PM
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Wow goal!

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#107 Gunk
March 18 2013, 09:30PM
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Sick deek tanger.

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#108 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 09:30PM
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Tanguay seems to get at least one break-away a game.

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#109 Colin S
March 18 2013, 09:30PM
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Too late I think :(

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#110 Kevin R
March 18 2013, 09:30PM
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In 3-4 years we'll be glad Anaheim is in our division.

No top line on the score sheet again. Waste of 18mill.

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#111 negrilcowboy
March 18 2013, 09:30PM
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RKD wrote:

Breaking news Ducks sign Corey Perry for 8 years at $69 million, more than Getzlaf but less than market value. Had he gone to July 1 he could have gotten 9-10 million on the open market. This deal is an average annual value of 8.625 million a year.

how will they afford to keep bobby stevenson

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#112 schevvy
March 18 2013, 09:30PM
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Was that not offside?

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#113 Kevin R
March 18 2013, 09:31PM
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Kevin R wrote:

In 3-4 years we'll be glad Anaheim is in our division.

No top line on the score sheet again. Waste of 18mill.

and they score as I typed that. :)

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#114 Gunk
March 18 2013, 09:36PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Tanguay seems to get at least one break-away a game.

Totally. He's got to hold some sort of record for that.

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#115 Danglesnipecelly
March 18 2013, 09:38PM
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Unrelated... Perry signed an 8 year deal...Iggy's stock going up a little?

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#116 Mullen Mania
March 18 2013, 09:38PM
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@RKD

I am not convinced that tying 25% of payroll in two players for the better part of a decade is good strategy. I am also surprised at market amounts given reduced cap next year. Are teams banking on ever increasing revenues?

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#117 schevvy
March 18 2013, 09:38PM
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Oh well. Start killed them

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#118 Kent Wilson
March 18 2013, 09:40PM
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Chances were 5-5 in the third. Game total was 15-21 in favor of DAL.

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#119 Gunk
March 18 2013, 09:42PM
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I think its time to flip the "tank it" switch on. I'll give anyone here 15-1 odds they miss the playoffs (up to $100) *this is not a gambling website.

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#120 schevvy
March 18 2013, 09:42PM
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Just a brutal 1st period

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#121 RKD
March 18 2013, 09:44PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

how will they afford to keep bobby stevenson

Maybe Ryan is trade bait but he still has two years left on his deal after this season.

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#122 RKD
March 18 2013, 09:46PM
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Mullen Mania wrote:

I am not convinced that tying 25% of payroll in two players for the better part of a decade is good strategy. I am also surprised at market amounts given reduced cap next year. Are teams banking on ever increasing revenues?

Possibly but I guess they wanted the assured bets of having Getzlaf and Perry playing at a high level the next few years as both Selanne and Koivu could retire this offseason.

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#123 negrilcowboy
March 18 2013, 09:48PM
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RKD wrote:

Maybe Ryan is trade bait but he still has two years left on his deal after this season.

4 consecutive 30 goal seasons not too shabby

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#124 Jibmeister
March 18 2013, 09:50PM
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Iggy Tanguay and Cammy the only flames not a minus tonight.

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#125 negrilcowboy
March 18 2013, 09:53PM
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has the "we will make the playoffs" train of thought be put to rest after tonight

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#126 Kurt
March 18 2013, 10:00PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

has the "we will make the playoffs" train of thought be put to rest after tonight

Logically it was put to rest a few games ago. Thankfully nights like this should start to swing the optimists over to the real world no? I think there will always be some who never let go and wear it proud. But as Bryz says.. Is over. It's over.

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#127 Kevin R
March 18 2013, 10:17PM
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Kurt wrote:

Logically it was put to rest a few games ago. Thankfully nights like this should start to swing the optimists over to the real world no? I think there will always be some who never let go and wear it proud. But as Bryz says.. Is over. It's over.

I just cant believe how bad Philly is doing. it really is over for them but I cant see them selling. A lot of Philly sites the fans are really thinking Coututier has taken steps backwards this year. Man I wish Feasty boty could hone in after & try to acquire him. Just dont give up our 1st!!

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#128 Scary Gary
March 18 2013, 10:28PM
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Slump...busters?

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#129 aloudoun
March 18 2013, 11:20PM
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if only Bobby Ryan was a center... le sigh In other news I am happy with the outcome tonight. I think this team needs to be in such dire straights that fan apathy wakes up the Flames top brass.

But I have no confidence in the "intellectual honesty" with "every games matters" in the Flames anymore. Don't piss in my cereal and call it milk.

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