FGD: Do We Still Need a Bigger Boat?

Justin Azevedo
March 06 2013 12:47PM

 

Tonight, the Flames welcome the San Jose Sharks to the Dome (they're likely on the plane from Vancouver right now!) for the first time since game one. Much has happened for both of the teams since that time, so don't expect it to be anything like that match. Or do. I dunno.

For the Flames, they've lost a starting goaltender, a possession center and some games they likely shouldn't have. They've also won some that they shouldn't have as well, so it's pretty even in terms of that. For the Sharks, they started off insanely well, winning all of their games in January - and then proceeded to go 2-6-4 in the month of February. Most of that was likely regression-based, as their PDO had been strong to start the season and is now pretty close to even as we start March.

This will be the Flames' fifth (!) attempt at breaking the .500 mark this season, and playing a team on the second game of a back to back (again) gives them a bit of an advantage.

The Line-Up

 

  • C. Glencross M. Stajan L. Stempniak
  • J. Hudler R. Cervenka J. Iginla
  • A. Tanguay M. Cammalleri S. Baertschi
  • S. Begin B. Comeau B. McGrattan
  • M. Giordano J. Bouwmeester
  • C. Butler D. Wideman
  • T.J. Brodie D. Smith
  • M. Kiprusoff

Miikka Kiprusoff looks to return tonight after being first off of the ice at practice this morning. For as bad as he was before his injury, he's still the best goaltender the Flames have by quite a large margin. Danny Taylor will likely be sent down tomorrow, if not sooner, and Joey MacDonald will ride the pine for about 24 of the next 28. Mikael Backlund is also drawing nearer to a return, so that's nice.

For as much crap as Mike Cammalleri has taken this season, it's interesting to note that he's currently scoring at a PPG pace on the year (8-8-16 in 17GP). To my knowledge, he's never been a real tough-minutes guy, but he definitely has that scoring ability still. It'll be interesting to see if he keeps up the pace over the whole 48 game season, but I have a hunch he'll be pretty close to PPG at the end. He's currently tied for second on the team in scoring with Jarome Iginla (6-10-16 in 20GP), behind Alex Tanguay (6-11-17 in 20GP).

Everyone's been really impressed with TJ Brodie this season, myself included. He's been a legit top-4 guy pretty much the entire season, marking the first time in forever that the Flames have actually had 4 top-4 quality defensemen in the line-up at the same time. Along those lines, it still baffles me as to why the Flames continue to play Cory Sarich and Anton Babchuk in any role. That said, TJ's been moved down the rotation with Smith the last few games. We'll see how Butler does with Wideman for now.

The Opposition

 

  • L. Couture J. Thornton B. Kearns
  • T. Kennedy P. Marleau J. Pavelski
  • R. Clowe S. Gomez J. Sheppard
  • A. Desjardins A. Burish T.J. Galiardi
  • M. Irwin D. Boyle
  • B. Stuart M. Vlasic
  • D. Murray J. Braun
  • A. Niemi

The Sharks have relied quite heavily on their big guns thus far this season, as only 5 players have reached double-digits in points. Joe Thornton continues to be one of the best centermen in the entire league down the middle and as such Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski have reaped the rewards of playing with him. All three are legit tough-minutes guys, which makes it easy for coach Todd McLellan to go power-versus-power on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the bottom of the roster has failed to take advantage of the easier assignments, at times because of injury but at others because of inept play. TJ Galliardi has only 3 points, Ryane Clowe hasn't scored yet (which is pissing me off because I have him on my fantasy team), Martin Havlat has had nagging injuries the whole season and Michal Handzus got old the same time he signed with the Sharks.

With the lack of scoring depth in mind, the Sharks have continued to be in a playoff position basically on the back of Antti Niemi, who's carrying the team at the moment. His numbers are quite gaudy - a 1.83 GAA and .935 SV% (.941 at evens), both good enough to put him in the top-5 of the league in both catigories. I don't think he'll be able to keep that up over the whole season, so the Sharks better hope they bank enough points now or get secondary scoring later if they want to get out of the first round.

Sum It Up

The Flames have yet another good chance to move above .500 tonight, playing a tired team on home ice that lacks depth. If Bob Hartley plays his lines right (i.e. try to shut down Thornton somehow) and Kiprusoff isn't too rusty after being off for a month, I like their chances.

Catch it on 960 or Sportsnet West tonight.

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Justin is a 23-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#151 Ryan Pike
March 06 2013, 10:02PM
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Flames are really pressing now. Blood in the water, so to speak.

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#152 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:03PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Haha. And then Greiss gives up a stinker.

Both goals? Or just the Comeau one?

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#153 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:05PM
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Good work by the Flames. Sharks are lost tonight. Flames are the better team.

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#154 Alt
March 06 2013, 10:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

This is about the time the Flames start going on a run - apparent 11th hour and the percentages finally flip the script and the Flames look like contenders again for a bit.

So I'll say 5-1 Flames.

5-1 May very well be it!Let,s hope it,s for more than just a bit.

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#155 MC Hockey
March 06 2013, 10:06PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

Flames are really pressing now. Blood in the water, so to speak.

Let's hope so Ryan!

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#156 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 10:08PM
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Flames seem to have the book on Greiss. Two straight to his blocker side.

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#157 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:09PM
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Baertschi hasn't had a shift in a long while.

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#158 ChinookArch
March 06 2013, 10:11PM
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@Kent Wilson

And yet Comeau seems to be out there every second shift.

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#159 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:11PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Baertschi hasn't had a shift in a long while.

Uh-oh

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#160 Kevin
March 06 2013, 10:11PM
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Great play by Brodie

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#161 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:11PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

And yet Comeau seems to be out there every second shift.

Take it easy on Comeau, he scored tonight! Give him a break. (For tonight only)

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#162 Vowswithin
March 06 2013, 10:11PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Baertschi hasn't had a shift in a long while.

Was thinking the same thing

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#163 ChinookArch
March 06 2013, 10:13PM
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schevvy wrote:

Take it easy on Comeau, he scored tonight! Give him a break. (For tonight only)

Nope.

But it was a great shot!

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#164 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:14PM
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@ChinookArch

Hartley has moved Comeau up in Baertschi's stead.

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#165 RKD
March 06 2013, 10:14PM
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That commercial is funny, whose last name in hockey is Shango? I only know one Shango and that's Papa Shango of WWF, now WWE fame.

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#166 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:21PM
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Ok Kerr. What the hell was that? HE'S BACK!!

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#167 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 10:21PM
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Kerr is on the verge of going "Loubo"

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#168 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:22PM
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@Vintage Flame

If he said SOME KINDA RETURN, then he would have gone full out loubo

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#169 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:22PM
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This trivia is way too easy

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#170 MC Hockey
March 06 2013, 10:22PM
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Vintage Flame wrote:

Kerr is on the verge of going "Loubo"

Not THAT!

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#171 Canucks Suck
March 06 2013, 10:23PM
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I prefer loubo over kerr >.> I know hes a terrible homer but he makes me laugh

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#172 MC Hockey
March 06 2013, 10:24PM
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Canucks Suck wrote:

I prefer loubo over kerr >.> I know hes a terrible homer but he makes me laugh

Whaaa? Seriously?

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#173 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:26PM
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MC Hockey wrote:

Whaaa? Seriously?

I don't know if he's serious, but I am

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#174 MC Hockey
March 06 2013, 10:26PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Hartley has moved Comeau up in Baertschi's stead.

Damn That's scary! Comeau had a nice goal but doubt it will continue!

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#175 Canucks Suck
March 06 2013, 10:27PM
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@MC Hockey

Oh yeah man if Loubo was on this game I would be rolling on the floor right now probably.

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#176 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:28PM
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Damnit Comeau. You're back to being whipping boy

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#177 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:28PM
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Kipper has definitely looked good tonight.

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#178 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:28PM
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What a terrible call. Honestly

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#179 Colin
March 06 2013, 10:30PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Kipper has definitely looked good tonight.

Here's what I was wondering, is it really Kipper just being better than the rest of the scrap heap, or did the team play a lot better tonight. Seems like the team played a lot better by the look of the chance count. But are we going to still say that it was all Kipper?

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#180 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:31PM
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Stempers is probably pissed haha

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#181 RKD
March 06 2013, 10:32PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Kipper has definitely looked good tonight.

Agreed, I think maybe some of his early struggles could have been due to a lesser form of the injury that kept him out a whole month.

One thing is for sure, Kipper is now the freshest goalie in the NHL.

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#182 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:34PM
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Glencross just wanted to up his SH%.

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#183 MC Hockey
March 06 2013, 10:34PM
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Oh no Comeau! You're getting all the coach's love at the expense of our potential superstar Baertschi!

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#184 Canucks Suck
March 06 2013, 10:34PM
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hahah he kind of tried to let it go as far as he could it looked like before he had to put it in that and he didnt want to share that goal scoring lead

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#185 Gunk
March 06 2013, 10:35PM
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I missed all but the last 3mins but SWEEEET!

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#186 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 10:35PM
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Nice prediction Kent.. Iggy almost got the 5th for ya

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#187 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:36PM
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Sharks ran up their chance count chasing in the last 5 minutes, but they were never really in this one.

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#188 Vintage Flame
March 06 2013, 10:39PM
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@Kent Wilson

What was the SC count in the 3rd?

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#189 Scary Gary
March 06 2013, 10:39PM
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Impressive performance from Kipper.

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#190 FlameinATL
March 06 2013, 10:39PM
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Great effort tonight Flames...great! Keep in up in SoCal...Anaheim does not have to be our house of horror and LA is beatable even though they are playing well.

Go Flames!

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#191 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:41PM
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Final chances were 19-17.

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#192 Kent Wilson
March 06 2013, 10:42PM
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@Vintage Flame

Like 7-1 or 7-2.

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#193 schevvy
March 06 2013, 10:45PM
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2 points out of 8th, 4 points out of 4th. It's certainly doable, but can they get there. Road trip will show a lot. If they go .500 (1-1-1) that would be pretty good.

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#194 Q
March 06 2013, 10:54PM
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Tnite, despite what people want by way of trades, or blow-ups, is a perfect example of why iggy and kipper aren't going anyway via trade. I don't know why it's even brought up . They have endeared themselves to the fans for so long that we all know they'll retire here. Kipper is soo composed and is just so skillful. A treat to watch! Iggy still has a great shot and is back to where he wants to be. It was really encouraging to see the depth players score and do well tonight like roman, butler, and comeau! If anyone is being moved I'd say jaybo, but frankly, he's been great for us jumping into the play! Ilike what I'm seeing more and more from Sven. Looking more confident and it won't be long til he lights it up. Can't wait til backlund is back. Nice to have macdonald as a backup now too. I got sick of the backup stuff and its nice to have McDonald there til we get Ramo here next yr. considering its a short season, new coaches, systems and players, we r doing well now. Keep it up boys!

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#195 Denscafon
March 06 2013, 11:17PM
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well as hartley mentioned a few games ago, we finally "made it to the alter" and passed the 500 mark. Good win flames

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#196 Jibmeister
March 06 2013, 11:41PM
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I'm insanely happy with the win tonight.

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