FGD: Drinking in LA

Kent Wilson
March 09 2013 03:17PM

After last night's unfortunate loss to the Ducks (16 straight in Anaheim!), the Flames find themselves having to beat the league's best overall team on the second night of a B2B (in the Kings home barn, on less) in order to stay in the hunt for the final playoff spot. Yeesh.

Los Angeles suffered through some tough percentages to start the season, particularly thanks to Jon Quick's uncharacteristic struggles. However, LA seems to be shaking off the doldrums recently, going 7-3-0 in their last 10. With the best underlying numbers by far in the NHL, the Kings are still a juggernaut. Once they get a stretch of consistently good goaltending or shooting results, they'll find themselves on the of the Western standings.

The Flames, on the other hand, are still trying to figure things out. Calgary has suffered through similarly poor goaltending to start the year but aren't quite as good as controlling play as the Kings, so the result has been Calgary sinking into the West's basement once again. The probably deserved a better fate versus the Ducks last night, but the club is well beyond the time where shoulda's and moral victories are worth a damn. If they lose again tonight, Calgary will have to go 15-5-3 in the final 25 games to have realistic a shot at the post-season.

The Line-up

Big news today is the return of Mikael Backlund to the active roster and the demotion of Sven Baertschi. Backlund was excellent to start the year and is probably the Flames best possession forward, so his return is a big deal.

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

  • Giordano - Bouwmeester
  • Wideman - Butler
  • Brodie - Smith

  • Kiprusoff

Lines for today haven't been officially revealed, so I'm guessing. Stajan's trio actually had a storng evening in Anaheim and have been Hartley's go-to option for touch match-ups recently, so I assume they stay together. This would bump Hartley's favorite son BLake Comeau to the 4th line, which is probably where he belongs (although he had a decent game last night, truth be told).

Iginla has been playing with the czechs recently and the line has been sheltered more often than not. They have created their chances as a result, although they were also the trio that gave up the most chances against in Anaheim. There's a chance Backlund might actually be re-united with Hulder and Cervenka given how that line was performing right before Backlund's injury, but it's impossible to know for sure.

On the back-end, I expect no change. Giordano has struggled a bit lately, moreso because every single obvious mistake he makes seems to inexorbaly end up in the back of the Flames net. That's combination of bad performance and bad luck and I assume things will turn around for him down the road. Butler has played a lot recently and while he hasn't been obviously bad or anything, like Comeau, I'm not quite sure what the bench boss has seen in his game that has resulted in the bump i ice and responsibility.

As for Baertschi, I am not too broken up about the kid going back to Abbotsford. He has had a few flashes here and there, but has mostly struggled to keep his head above water in the bigs, even with favorable circumstances. He's not quite there yet so the org might as well let him play a bunch for the Heat so he can better find his pro legs.

The Opposition

Kings are three lines strong, with heavy hitters spread concentrated inside their top-6. And to think they got Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson. I'm guessing the Flyers would kinda like to have at least one of Carter or Richards back in their line-up right about now.

  • Williams - Kopitar - Brown
  • Penner - Carter - Richards
  • Lewis - Stoll - King
  • Clifford - Fraser - Nolan

  • Scuderi - Voynov
  • Doughty - Muzzin
  • Martinez - Ellerby

  • Quick

With Mitchell and Greene out injured, the Kings blueline is less impressive than it would be otherwise. That said, sophomore Slava Voynov is established himself as a legit top-4 option this year, significantly reducing the impact those injuries would have had otherwise.

Sum It Up

It's already crunch time for the Flames. Tonight most people won't be putting dollars on the Flames to win, but they have to start surprising some folks if they want to reach the post-season. Backlund's return helps, but the team needs someone like Kipper or Iginla to go on a major run, starting tonight.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#2 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 10:04PM
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Whatever good Hartley is doing is overwhelmed with his Comeau love affair...like mixing 8 scoops of vanilla ice cream with one scoop of dogs&$t...all you taste is the dogs$$t.

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#4 Franko J
March 09 2013, 11:11PM
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After last night's game and tonight's game can this finally be the beginning of the end for this group of players with the Flames? Please Flames ownership and management I plead with you to end this misery of a team and start doing something. I beg do anything instead of us Flames fans continually having to watch this heartless, unskilled, and boring team. I really believed even after six or seven games into this season win or lose this team would be at the very least entertaining and enthusiastic to watch play. This team is very overmatched and plays very uninspired hockey. While many might disagree with me but I firmly believe this team perhaps is the worst in the league right now. With three weeks to the deadline I hope the Flames management and ownership can finally realize that this current group of players are just not good enough to even compete in this league.

Please end this misery!!!

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#5 schevvy
March 09 2013, 03:26PM
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Kipper's gonna have to stand on his head tonight if they want to win. I don't see it. 5-2 LA.

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#6 RexLibris
March 09 2013, 03:32PM
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Saw the headline and thought: probably a good idea.

I look forward to seeing Backlund back. I've always liked him, even though he plays for the wrong team. ;-)

Maybe I'm wrong, but this game seems winnable for the Flames, given how they have played of late.

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#7 schevvy
March 09 2013, 03:38PM
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@RexLibris

Wait..Rex has a better feeling about this game than I do? Something's wrong here.

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#8 the forgotten man
March 09 2013, 04:19PM
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Why good drafting wins championships... 1984 Calgary draft picks included Gary Roberts, Paul Ranheim, Jiri Hrdina, Brett Hull and Gary Suter. Basically a quarter of any top tier NHL squad in one draft year. Astounding.

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#9 seve927
March 09 2013, 04:30PM
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I was thinking that percentages would work to their favour last night, but since it didn't happen, I'm allowing for at least the possiblity of the seemingly impossible tonight! I don't know if it's the actual matchup, or just timing, but the Kings look far more dominant against the Flames than against any other teams (Oilers, somebody else) I've seen them play.

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#10 seve927
March 09 2013, 04:52PM
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For anyone interested, the Boston College game is available online tonight (5:00) at http://www.nsnsports.net/uvm.

Since I know some people are interested in prospect updates, here's what I know so far this weekend: Ramo and Omsk are down 0-2 in their series and been outscored 8-0, Ramo with with 28 and 18 (not sure, but something like that) saves.

Granlund had a goal this morning in an HIFK win.

Arnold and Gaudreau teamed up for 1 goal in BC's 4-4 tie.

Jankowski had 1 assist and was mentioned as having another nice setup which resulted in a post. Gillies 31 save 3-0 shutout.

Gordon had 2 assists.

Elson, a goal in a 4-2 win.

Brossoit had 23 saves in a 3-2 shootout win in Brandon.

Kulak had nothing (-2). Ferland didn't play.

Heat won 4-2 in Toronto this afternoon, Aliu 1G, 1A, Jones 1G. Taylor got the win.

Ramage 2 assists in a 4-2 win for Wisconsin

Deblouw overtime goal in MSU's playoff game 1 win in Alaska

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#11 schevvy
March 09 2013, 04:54PM
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Gillies has been phenominal this year. Hope he can keep it up.

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#12 seve927
March 09 2013, 06:37PM
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Johnny G cleanly beats the D on a 1 on 2, and then the goalie for his 4th point of the night. 5-0 BC.

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#13 exsanguinator
March 09 2013, 06:59PM
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Calgary better win this one. We're friggin tied with Columbus now.

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#14 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 07:08PM
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exsanguinator wrote:

Calgary better win this one. We're friggin tied with Columbus now.

ya but flames got games in hand, however colombus has 3 picks in the first round come draft day

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#15 seve927
March 09 2013, 07:38PM
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Arnold ends up with 2G, 2A. Gaudreau 2 and 3.

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#16 Jeff In Lethbridge
March 09 2013, 07:48PM
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I love my flames, but for whatever reason, they are what they are. a lot of potential it seems with the ocasional dash of stunning awesomeness, but injuries, nights off, and they are not going to make the playoffs, AND not going to get a top 5 pic. The only question that remains now, is, will they trade our aging heros for picks or wont they? after losing these 2 in Los Angeles, we will need this answer right away.

PS i apologize for poor spelling/punctuation... im on my phone writing this

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#17 maimster
March 09 2013, 07:58PM
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Nice seeing Backlund in the warmup. Kings look great in purple. Hope the home crowd isn't going crazy a minute in, like last night.

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#18 Colin.S
March 09 2013, 08:06PM
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If GlennX's leg isn't broke, there better be a ****ing massive trade he's involved in for him to not be on the ice.

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#19 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 08:19PM
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"And to think they got Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson."

The last one side trade that was that bad saw James Neal stolen for Goligoski. Maybe one day Feaster could pull off a miracle like that. Dare to dream.

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#20 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 08:25PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

"And to think they got Jeff Carter for Jack Johnson."

The last one side trade that was that bad saw James Neal stolen for Goligoski. Maybe one day Feaster could pull off a miracle like that. Dare to dream.

don't drink the koolaid.

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#22 Baalzamon
March 09 2013, 08:28PM
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Colin.S wrote:

If GlennX's leg isn't broke, there better be a ****ing massive trade he's involved in for him to not be on the ice.

Obviously, they don't want Comeau languishing on the 4th line.

Because. You know. That would be bad. Apparently.

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#23 thymebalm
March 09 2013, 08:28PM
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Actually, they've since changed Johnny Hockey to 2-4-6 and +5.

Back in the lead as the undisputed hobey baker candidate, I do believe.

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#25 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 08:32PM
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A personal moratorium on Comeau bashing until he falls down for no apparent reason. He's been pretty good for the last 2 games and maybe, just maybe he turning things around. I can't see it happening, but maybe.

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#26 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 08:34PM
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is it me or is kelly hrudey a bumbling idiot with a microphone in his hand

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#27 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 08:36PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Glencross out, meaning we get to see more of top-6 Comeau! Yay!

thats as appealing as having chinese root canal without the freezin

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#29 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 08:37PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

is it me or is kelly hrudey a bumbling idiot with a microphone in his hand

No that would be Charlie Simmer.

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#30 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 08:42PM
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AHHHHHH!

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#32 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 08:45PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

No that would be Charlie Simmer.

hrudey aint too far behind

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#33 Colin.S
March 09 2013, 08:46PM
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LOL THIS CBC CREW!!! Why do we get such garbage announcing.

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#34 Colin.S
March 09 2013, 08:47PM
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So random unexplained penalties then?

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#37 Colin.S
March 09 2013, 08:57PM
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Does anyone else think we should get more bench shots of Hartley?

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#38 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 08:58PM
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Another textbook PP.

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#39 Colin.S
March 09 2013, 08:58PM
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Our PP goal wasn't as nice as the Kings but still good cycle on the puck results in a nice goal.

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#40 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 08:58PM
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Cammmalleri from Wideman and Iginla.

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#42 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 09:05PM
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as taxpayers we should be houndin the harper regime to get some talent on hnic these guys are brutual

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#43 negrilcowboy
March 09 2013, 09:06PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Man, the Kings are just so overwhelming at ES.

the flames are underwhelming

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#44 RexLibris
March 09 2013, 09:07PM
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Hey guys, just wanted to pass along a quick memorandum from Oilers fans: for the remainder of the season, all Oilers games that have not yet been played will heretofore be referred to as a "loss-in-hand". Other teams will continue to use the traditional reference as it applies.

Thank you. Good night and good luck.

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#45 thymebalm
March 09 2013, 09:16PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Hey guys, just wanted to pass along a quick memorandum from Oilers fans: for the remainder of the season, all Oilers games that have not yet been played will heretofore be referred to as a "loss-in-hand". Other teams will continue to use the traditional reference as it applies.

Thank you. Good night and good luck.

May as well be a blanket term for albertans. Like how is some places they call pop 'soda'.

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#46 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 09:18PM
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Ugh. I'd pull Kiprusoff right now to boot the team in the ass.

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#47 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 09:19PM
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Too bad, the Flames are playing well and are just being beat by a much bigger and better team.

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#48 ChinookArch
March 09 2013, 09:20PM
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Nice goal.

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#49 Ryan Pike
March 09 2013, 09:21PM
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Flames goals:
-Cammalleri (PP) (Wideman, Iginla)
-Tanguay (ES) (Giordano, Stajan)

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#50 thymebalm
March 09 2013, 09:21PM
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The goals tonight have been just beauties by the Flames.

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