FGD: Sweet Home Chicago

Ryan Pike
March 26 2013 01:47PM

The Calgary Flames hit the ice for their 31st game of the 2013 season tonight. They'll try to get the road monkey off their back as they visit the Chicago Blackhawks, and one way or the other, history will be made.

If the Flames win, it'd be their first victory in Chicago since March 16, 2008 (yes, five years) and push the Blackhawks to their first three-game losing skid of the year. If the Flames lose, it'll extend their road winless streak to ten games and bring them a step closer to their franchise record 1973 13-game road winless mark. And a game closer to formal playoff elimination, of course.

The puck drops at 6:30pm on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet West.

THE LINE-UP

The Flames crept to within two games of the lofty perch of .500 hockey on Sunday with a gutsy 3-2 win over St. Louis. Jaroslav Halak was okayish and Miikka Kiprusoff was excellent, and that was the difference.

Expect a very similar line-up in Chicago, with perhaps a tweak on defense. Here are some probable lines.

  • Tanguay-Cammalleri-Iginla
  • Glencross-Stajan-Stempniak
  • Hudler-Backlund-Cervenka
  • Comeau-Begin-Jackman

  • Brodie-Bouwmeester
  • Giordano-Wideman
  • Butler-Sarich

  • Kiprusoff

The Backlund trio was getting the majority of the defensive zone starts against the Blues, showing that the coaching staff has some faith in Backlund (and the Czechs) ability to gain some ground. Either that or they wanted to give the Iginla line as much high ground as they could. Either way, it worked (in the sense that the Flames won the game).

With Chicago hosting Los Angeles on Monday night, Tuesday's game is the tenth time this year that the Flames will play a team that played the night before. In nine previous outings in such a situation, the Flames have gone 6-2-1.

THE OPPOSITION

The Blackhawks were once mighty – and let's not forget that if not for some bad luck, the Flames had them beat back at the beginning of the season – but lately they've had some bad luck. They boast a scary 24-4-3 record, but they've gone 3-4-0 in their last seven outings, including back-to-back losses to Anaheim and Los Angeles.

They played last night (marking the eleventy-billionth time the Flames have seen a tired opponent on the second night of a B2B) and had no formal skate today, with only the injured Sharp and the previously-scratched Carcillo, Hossa and Brookbank skating this morning. That makes me believe that they'll dress a similar line-up as last night's.

  • Saad-Toews-Frolik
  • Hayes-Bolland-Kane
  • Stalberg-Shaw-Bickell
  • Mayers-Kruger-Bollig

  • Keith-Seabrook
  • Hjalmarsson-Oduya
  • Leddy-Rozsival

  • Emery

Michael Frolik was elevated from his typical 3rd/4th line slot and managed two goals and and an assist in the loss to the Kings last night. He is a favorite Flames target of Kent's, so keep an eye on him tonight.

Corey Crawford started last night and gave up five goals, so it should be Ray Emery in net. Crawford has a .933 even-strength save percentage while Emery “lags” behind him with a .927. These numbers are likely going to gradually drift down to Earth a bit, but they're a big source of the Hawks' success this season.

The Blackhawks have good depth – that defensive group looks great – and has a good sprinkling of youth throughout their line-up. That said, they'll be smarting and tired from back-to-back games, so it's up to the Flames to take advantage.

SUM IT UP

The clock is ticking on the Flames playoff hopes (a 6.5% chance, according to Sports Club Stats) and for them to have any chance of success, they need to win games (a) on the road and (b) in buildings where they have struggled and (c) almost all of the games left anyways.

No better place to start than in sweet home Chicago.

FN Viewing Party at TK - Iginla's Final Game?

Next Monday (April 1) FlamesNation will host a Flames Game Viewing Party at the Tilted Kilt. It's April Fool's Day, the Battle of Alberta and potentially Jarome Iginla's last game as a Calgary Flame all rolled into one.

If that's not enough reasons to come out and have a few pops while watching the game, TK is also giving away a Flames jersey during the night and will have their usual "puck contest"going, with free beers as the prizes. On top of all that, they'll have 20oz pints of Canadian and Coors on for $5.50 all night long.

So bring the friends and family next Monday to the Tilted Kilt and help us celebrate another Flames win over the Oilers. And maybe Jarome's last night as a Calgary Flame to boot.

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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 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 07:52PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Horrible goal Kipper

Again, down in the butterfly, with the puck already through the 5 hole.

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#52 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:05PM
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Can we please stay out of the box???

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#53 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:08PM
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Kent, what goes through your head while watching Frolik?

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#54 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:09PM
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Chances are 6-1 CHI in the second so far. Again.

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#55 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:10PM
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So this is basically the complete reversal from last time these two played.

So why aren't WE winning??

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#56 negrilcowboy
March 26 2013, 08:11PM
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now that kippa is staying, who goes in the fire sale? any thoughts what gio or scoreface would yield?

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#57 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:14PM
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@Vintage Flame

He looks good to me. Probably a low SH% guy though.

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#58 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:14PM
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Good PK on the double minor, maybe?, possibly?, hopefully? it will give them some life.

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#59 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:15PM
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@negrilcowboy

There's no need to try to trade those guys this year, frankly.

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#60 negrilcowboy
March 26 2013, 08:17PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

There's no need to try to trade those guys this year, frankly.

they have been mentioned as sought after by some media types, apparently bruins have interest in one of them.

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#61 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:18PM
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@negrilcowboy

Im sure there's demand, but from a Flames perspective there's no incentive to rush to trade either of those players.

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#62 schevvy
March 26 2013, 08:25PM
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What a game. Almost the complete opposite of last time they played Chicago

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#63 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:26PM
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With 5:40 left to go in the 2nd period the shots on goal are 24-8 for Chicago. This coming from a "tired" team?

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#64 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:29PM
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They have a hard enough time scoring on Emery, they really don't need to make it this easy on him.

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#66 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:30PM
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Amazing. Great chances all night and both CHI goals are garbage.

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#67 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:30PM
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Three penalties against Calgary and 0 against Chicago, expected.

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#69 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:32PM
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2-0, that's just great.

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#71 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:34PM
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Chances were 10-3 Hawks in the second period. Now 17-6 overall.

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#72 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:38PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Amazing. Great chances all night and both CHI goals are garbage.

Same old story again, with a twist. Calgary actually wins the faceoff in their zone, lose puck possession, cannot clear the puck, Kiprusoff down in the butterfly, puck in net. Agreed though Kent, both goals were garbage.

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#73 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:40PM
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Oh look, another PP for Chicago.

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#74 A
March 26 2013, 08:42PM
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Just tuning in now from break at work. No big surprises! I'm more dissapointed that theres been no trading than I am losing. Losing just gets us that much closer to lottery time! Sounds like jays asking waaaaaY too much to begin with. It's hilarious, he and ownership think they are trading from the teams perspective 3 years ago. Won't be surprised at all if the "list" tells jay to shove it and they find others. The whole thing is gonna go sour really fast! Either that or iggy will get injured and then were really screwed!

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#75 Kent Wilson
March 26 2013, 08:44PM
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@A

Im okay with Jay asking for the moon. That's negotiating 101: ask for as much as possible to anchor the talks (and just in case someone gives it to you).

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#76 dotfras
March 26 2013, 08:48PM
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Yeah, good for Jay to set the bar high (especially given current trade market), and to work out a deal. Don't want to see what happened with Regehr happen again.

Only a matter of time until deals start rollin through.

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#77 Q
March 26 2013, 08:49PM
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Just home from work now. Any updates with trade rumour stuff anyone?

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#78 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:50PM
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@Q

Kipper told management that if they trade his rights, he won't report to the team

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#79 Q
March 26 2013, 08:51PM
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@Kent Wilson

Igree kent but I'm worried the flames are gonna get too picky and lose out!

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#80 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:52PM
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Mr. T for Red Warrior?

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#81 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 08:53PM
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Q wrote:

Just home from work now. Any updates with trade rumour stuff anyone?

I was going to ask the same thing. I have video but no audio at work.

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#82 Q
March 26 2013, 08:54PM
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@Vintage Flame

Are you kidding me? Wow kipper. Bet he goes to Finland next yr. nice try jay. But we're $crewed people!

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#83 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:55PM
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After tonight, Kipper might reconsider his refusal to report to a new team....

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#84 A
March 26 2013, 08:55PM
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Will be interesting to see just how many are on the block and how many wave.

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#85 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 08:56PM
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@Q

That's a common belief. At only 1.5 Mil next year, he might just bail

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#86 negrilcowboy
March 26 2013, 09:01PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

That's a common belief. At only 1.5 Mil next year, he might just bail

sportsnet crew figured the leafs would throw 12 million at him mrs kipper must want to go home

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#87 danglesnipecelly
March 26 2013, 09:01PM
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So i WAS cheering for Kipper to play well and up his trade value...but now that he gave himself a DIY NTC every game he steals from now on only further screws us.

I don't want to sound overly dramatic but clearly Kipper doesn't care about winning a cup. He wants to be comfortable. I would almost say the same for Iggy, I don't think he actually WANTS to go. This kind of complacency has us where we are today. Feaster wants players with high hockey IQ, how about players that are hungry and want to win?

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#88 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 09:03PM
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@danglesnipecelly

I get why Kipper doesn't want to go given that his wife just had a baby and he's not going to move them for 19 games left in the season... But it's still a piss off.

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#89 RexLibris
March 26 2013, 09:06PM
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At least Kiprusoff is being up front and honest. It takes Feaster's legs out from under him for potential trades, but better that than have him refuse to report and be forced to negate the trade or something after the fact.

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#90 Chris Fairfield
March 26 2013, 09:10PM
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Shots on goal at the end of 2 are 27-9 for Chicago. Emery has always had Calgary's number and the lack of rubber being fired at him is embarrassing and making his job that much easier.

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#92 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 09:12PM
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@RexLibris

It wouldn't negate the trade Rex.

I believe he would just be suspended without pay; had he not said anything to the Flames.

If the team could prove that the Flames had prior knowledge that he would refuse, they might have grounds.

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#93 negrilcowboy
March 26 2013, 09:13PM
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Chris Fairfield wrote:

Shots on goal at the end of 2 are 27-9 for Chicago. Emery has always had Calgary's number and the lack of rubber being fired at him is embarrassing and making his job that much easier.

is emery still awake? gotta be pretty bored by now.

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#94 RexLibris
March 26 2013, 09:14PM
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Did Wideman just wait until a Hawks player actually moved into his shooting lane before firing?

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#95 Vintage Flame
March 26 2013, 09:14PM
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What an over abundance of low percentage shots.. from the perimeter. *sigh

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#96 RexLibris
March 26 2013, 09:15PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

It wouldn't negate the trade Rex.

I believe he would just be suspended without pay; had he not said anything to the Flames.

If the team could prove that the Flames had prior knowledge that he would refuse, they might have grounds.

That's sort of the angle I was thinking of.

Somewhere between the Nabokov waiver claim and the Colin Fraser/Bernie Madoff trade fiasco.

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#98 negrilcowboy
March 26 2013, 09:17PM
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sportsnets mclean said it may have to do with birth complications with mrs kippa

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#99 RexLibris
March 26 2013, 09:18PM
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I think Kiprusoff's trade value was declining anyway. If Flames fans really appreciate all the times he has stood on his head to steal them wins, then they should let him have this.

It feels like a kick in the marbles right now, but out of respect for the player, I'd say let him go out any way he sees fit.

He ought to have been moved during the summer when his NTC expired. Or even before that. Be angry at management.

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#100 RexLibris
March 26 2013, 09:18PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Everyone still awake/alive/sober?

In shock.

The Oilers won a game.

Just trying to remember what I'm supposed to feel right now.

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