FGD: On the Road in Nashville

Ryan Pike
March 21 2013 01:00PM

 

 

For the twelfth time this season, the Calgary Flames are entering a game with a record just below .500 and hope to get back to even with a win. Thus far this season, their 11 previous attempts have resulted in a 6-4-1 record, which would be great if they managed to win more when entering a game with a .500 record.

Now, in the midst of an extended win-one, lose-one stretch, the Flames really need a win and really need to get back from .500. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Tonight's game is the first of a back-to-back – tonight in Nashville, tomorrow in Columbus – that sees Calgary begin to use up their games in hand. Entering Thursday, the Flames had two (or three) games in hand on literally every other Western Conference team. If they put together wins over the next 48 hours, they can get to within two points of a playoff spot – with games still in hand.

Puck drop is at 6pm on your various Sportsnet sports broadcasting properties.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames are coming off of a 4-3 loss in Dallas on Monday night. According to Roger Millions and Pat Steinberg, the team will look a bit different tonight. Here are likely line combinations:

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

  • Brodie – Bouwmeester
  • Giordano – Wideman
  • Sarich – Butler

  • Kiprusoff

In summation: Kiprusoff has returned from child-birth and will start. Cory Sarich subs in for Derek Smith. Steve Begin subs in for Roman Cervenka, who, I think we can safely say at this point, isn't being sat for "health reasons".

Biggest head-scratcher may be the Sarich sub-in, although Smith has been merely “fine” and I'd wager that he's back for the Columbus game. Ditto Cervenka. The Flames have three lines clicking right now and merely need to come out in the first period with some form of urgency. Any form, really.

Iginla had perhaps his best game of the last month against Dallas, but just could not score.

THE OPPOSITION

Like the Flames, Nashville is coming off a 4-3 road loss. Theirs came in Columbus on Tuesday night. Lines for tonight weren't immediately available, so here's roughly how they looked on Tuesday:

  • Mueller – Legwand – Bourque
  • Beck – Fisher – Erat
  • Boychuk (gone) – Spaling – Halischuk
  • Clune – Smith - Yip

  • Weber – Josi
  • Ellis – Blum
  • Klein – Bartley

  • Rinne

Either Bobby Butler or Sergei Kostitsyn will replace Boychuk in the line-up, as he's been claimed on waivers by Carolina. I'd lean towards Kostitsyn. If so, let's hope he shows the same level of try and tenacity he displayed against the Oil.

Pekka Rinne has been lit up (and chased) recently – most recently against the Flames last week. The Preds are also injury-hobbled and their forward roster is full of, to be blunt, random dudes. If Bob Hartley can line-match a bit, the Flames could make some hay in Music City.

SUM IT UP

The Flames need points. They've beaten the Predators convincingly recently, and really need to do it again. As much as the road losing streak hangs over the team, they have to put it out of their minds and go to work. Miikka Kiprusoff should be able to hold the team in the game, so as long as the club can score on Pekka Rinne (and undermine his likely flagging confidence), they have a good shot here.

Next stop: .500.

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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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#51 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 07:37PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

That's true. His underlying numbers have drastically improved over time, even tough most of the team's have cratered.

His circumstances have improved as well. I hope the Flames are showcasing him for a trade.

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#52 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 07:41PM
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@Kent Wilson

I thought the Stajan line was our first line???

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#53 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 07:42PM
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@Vintage Flame

Not tonight. Iginla line top of the rotation. They've been the worst line though, so we can call them 4th if you want.

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#54 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 07:42PM
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When did the Flames re-acquire Giordano?

Solid game tonight... so far.

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#55 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 07:44PM
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@Kent Wilson

I wouldn't quite call them the 4th line yet, but I'm not shy to say they are the 3rd.

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#56 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 07:45PM
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gior dano is back jordano is through

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#57 schevvy
March 21 2013, 07:48PM
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How terrible has Sarich been tonight?

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#58 schevvy
March 21 2013, 07:51PM
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Some kinda D coverage there..."facepalm"

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#59 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 07:51PM
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Iginla's line is a gross liability in this game.

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#60 yomamen11
March 21 2013, 07:53PM
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3 unfinished checks and soft play led to this one

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#61 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 07:53PM
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So, if this keeps up who's the first to go via trade?

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#62 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 07:54PM
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Better be Jerome, or it's gonna be a media circus around him.

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#63 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 07:59PM
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yikes

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#64 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:01PM
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Flames have 3 scoring chances so far. Three!

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#65 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:05PM
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Chances are now 13-4 in favor or Nashville. Just an abysmal outing.

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#66 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 08:06PM
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the big money guys realy cane to play, disgusting leadership

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#67 jeremywilhelm
March 21 2013, 08:11PM
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Thank god we dressed McGrattan!!

When the heck will we get management and coaches who are intelligent enough to move beyond this brutal old school thinking.

This game is going just as I'd hoped. Fail and trade. Fail and trade. Hopefully Iginla is gone by Monday.

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#68 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 08:17PM
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So who goes first this week.. Iggy or Kipper?

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#69 Chris Fairfield
March 21 2013, 08:21PM
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0-6-1 road record, I get it, but the lack of pushback, soft passes, nobody finishing their checks, more of the same. But tonight, has to be some of the absolute worst officiating that I have ever seen, yeah I am going there. Stempniak gets run from behind, head first into the boards by Weber, how tall is Stempniak and how tall is Weber, and instead of it being a PP for Calgary, it is a high sticking penalty against Stempniak and a boarding call against Weber. How the hell can you highstick someone when your face is pressed against the boards and lying on the ice, facing the opposite direction. Kiprusoff gets run twice, no call on either and a goal allowed as well. Rinne runs interference when Comeau is in pursuit, Glencross gets slewfooted and Hudler gets bulldogged at the end of the 2nd. Everytime that there is a predators player in the penalty box, there is a Calgary player right next door, 0 PP time. I can't stomach watching the 3rd, but I have a feeling that I still will.

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#70 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 08:22PM
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nail iggy tangs and cammy to the bench artley

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#71 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:25PM
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@Chris Fairfield

Yeah refs have been bad.

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#72 danglesnipecelly
March 21 2013, 08:26PM
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How's Kipper looked tonight? Can't see the game here in Canuckland... still trade-able? Er.... ish?

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#73 danglesnipecelly
March 21 2013, 08:31PM
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@danglesnipecelly

Hey, am I reading the standings right? Is there a good chance we end the night tied for dead last in the entire NHL? Buf won, Wash winning, Florida won...

WOWAWEEWA.

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#74 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 08:34PM
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hope robert has his nitro pills nearby when he calls patty.

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#75 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:34PM
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Better period so far in terms of puck possession, but they can't get anything to the net.

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#76 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 08:34PM
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danglesnipecelly wrote:

Hey, am I reading the standings right? Is there a good chance we end the night tied for dead last in the entire NHL? Buf won, Wash winning, Florida won...

WOWAWEEWA.

looks that way

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#77 mattyc
March 21 2013, 08:35PM
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@danglesnipecelly

only 3 games out of 8 with 2 games in hand (after we lose tonight...)! ;)

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#78 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 08:39PM
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Abysmal PP. The Flames have mailed this in already.

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#79 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:41PM
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@ChinookArch

They had more chances on the PK tonight.

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#80 Chris Fairfield
March 21 2013, 08:43PM
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danglesnipecelly wrote:

How's Kipper looked tonight? Can't see the game here in Canuckland... still trade-able? Er.... ish?

Terrible, angry, frustrated and seems to have mailed it in.

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#81 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 08:43PM
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@Kent Wilson

I know, it's the only part of this game where they've been good.

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#82 Chris Fairfield
March 21 2013, 08:45PM
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16 shots on net tonight, 19 against Dallas, back to back PP and 0 shots on net p>

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#83 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 08:45PM
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Are you kidding me???

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#84 schevvy
March 21 2013, 08:46PM
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What a terrible call

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#85 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 08:46PM
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Spaling's goal is allowed and this one is denied??

WTF Refs??

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#86 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:47PM
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Bah.

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#87 jeremywilhelm
March 21 2013, 08:49PM
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Pretty embarrassing reffing going on.

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#88 Kevin
March 21 2013, 08:49PM
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How can they be allowed to make such a bad call against such a bad team??

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#89 Subversive
March 21 2013, 08:50PM
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Is it over now? Please god say it's finally over and the healing can begin.

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#90 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 08:50PM
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reality is kevin freakin kline is outplaying iggy tonight

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#91 Kevin
March 21 2013, 08:51PM
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Hope we get smoked tmrw night so they have no choice but to do something!!

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#92 negrilcowboy
March 21 2013, 08:55PM
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onside kick artley pull an onside kick

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#93 Subversive
March 21 2013, 08:56PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Things just keep going wrong for Calgary. As I mentioned on twitter, this is the right year to implode for 40 or so games. Jones/MacKinnon/Droiun/Barkov are within sight.

But Book of Loob says we should never wish for our team to lose even a single game! I'm so conflicted!

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#94 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 08:57PM
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If they unload the big guns soon, it will be a sprint to the bottom, and everyone in Edmonton will cry that we took their spot.

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#95 Kent Wilson
March 21 2013, 08:58PM
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@Subversive

Ehh, Im only pointing out a silver lining if this stuff continues.

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#96 Q
March 21 2013, 08:58PM
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Last week was amazingly telling while listening to Ken King on the Fan 960. Every answer from him was brutally scripted as though he carried talking point notes written by the owners! It made me dry heave! To think he actually hoped that no change is required disgusted me! Iggy has made them millions and the fans have accepted this mediocrity for years. They accepted Darryl's gutting of this team and continue to accept it because they absolutely know the fans will show up!!!!!!! Wake the freak up owners, king and jay!!!!! What will it take?

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#97 Vintage Flame
March 21 2013, 08:58PM
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Iggy's last goal in a Flames uni?

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#98 ChinookArch
March 21 2013, 08:59PM
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At least Giordano was good tonight. Maybe someone else was too, but no one comes to mind.

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#99 Subversive
March 21 2013, 09:01PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Ehh, Im only pointing out a silver lining if this stuff continues.

I just want them to be forced to make a change. So so sick of the mediocrity. Seems abject failure is the only way to get the message across.

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#100 Brent G.
March 21 2013, 09:02PM
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Well there we go! No denying ourselves of necessity now. There is no way they will turn this around. It's actually almost slightly pathetic to think this is a team looking to contend. To be in Iggys head is crazy to think about. I wonder what he's thinking...

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