FGD: You Can Do It!

Christian Roatis
January 11 2014 03:50PM

                                                 image: memecrunch   

When an NHL team is struggling in every capacity imaginable, there's no better time to snap out of it, than when matched up against one of the leagues elite teams. Last night, in a village about 3 hours up the QE2, was Exhibit A. The Edmonton Oilers and their dynamic group of underachievers snapped out of a funk that saw them lose 5 of their last 6 games, against the Eastern Conference powerhouse, and Sidney Crosby lead, Pittsburgh Penguins last night. They made dramatic comebacks from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to emerge victorious, 4-3 in extra time. The Oilers. The Edmonton Oilers. The team backstopped by Devan Dubnyk beat the Pittsburgh Penguins!

Now that, is what the Flames should be focusing on, coming into tonight. Not the fact that Penguins are probably pissed off and motivated to avenge an embarrassing defeat to the worst team in Alberta, when they face the second worst team in Alberta. No, not that. The focus should be on the fact, that if the Oilers can do it, so can they!*

* scoring goals is a pre-requisite for winning

The Team That Can Do It!

  • Cammalleri - Backlund - Stempniak
  • Byron - Monahan - Hudler
  • Galiardi - Stajan - Bouma
  • Westgarth - Colborne - McGrattan
  • Brodie - Giordano
  • Smid - Wideman
  • Butler - O'Brien
  • Berra

The forward group, which has been so effective of late, naturally stays the same as last game - the one where they were shut out 5-zip. You can't really blame Hartley though, it's not like he has a lot to work with. I would still like to see a Cammalleri-Monahan-Hudler line, as I think that could muster up some solid scoring chances, but nonetheless this line-up is about as good as it gets given the resources they have. That's a sad thing to say.

Anyways, Monahan has been better of late in my opinion, I even saw him throw a bodycheck the other night, which was nice. At this point, he's probably one of the teams best offensive options along with his linemate, Jiri Hudler. It never ceases to amaze me how Hudler has played this year. There haven't been too many off nights or dips in his production which, considering the team he plays for, is extremely impressive. The top unit is probably the only one that looks somewhat decent on paper, but on the ice haven't brought much. Stempniak is ice cold while Cammalleri has been playing like a Katy Perry song (link Hot and Cold). Mikael Backlund's progression this season amidst all the disaster has been very encouraging. His confidence is up and the numbers are slowly starting to come up, as well. In fact, he's on pace for a career year!

The defence has been a little shady of late and absence of Kris Russell is clearly being felt, but nonetheless the boys on the blueline have been Calgary's strength this year. Giordano and Brodie have been very solid night in and night out and when it's all said and done, this rebuild and the high level of competition that he faces will only benefit TJ Brodie in the long run. Wideman's return has added a much missed dimension on a misfiring powerplay and his pairing with Smid hasn't been all that bad, although the weren't great against the Blues the other night. Once Russell returns, that Top 4 on the blueline will actually look real solid. The third pairing tonight is uh, well, rebuild friendly.

Berra will get the start tonight because Ramo allowed five goals against the Blues. Ramo got the start against the Blues because Berra allowed six goals against the Coyotes. Basically, the goaltending isn't going all that great either. Berra was spectacular in his debut against the likes of Toews, Kane and Hossa and will need to be equally as impressive against the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Neal if the Flames have a prayer in this game.

The Team They Need To Do It Against

  • Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Brian Gibbons
  • Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
  • Tanner Glass - Brandon Sutter - Taylor Pyatt
  • Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Deryk Engelland
  • Rob Scuderi - Kris Letang
  • Robert Bortuzzo - Brooks Orpik
  • Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen
  • Fluery

At first glance, one notices Brian Gibbons beside the two Canadian Olympians, Crosby and Kunitz. Well, the 25 year old got the call up in light of the Pascal Dupuis injury and from what I understand has mostly played on the top unit. He has six points in 12 games this year. Aside from Gibbons, the entire top 6 of the Pens is lethal, with legitimate scoring threats in abundance. The third unit is designed to annihilate opponents with behemoths Tanner Glass and Taylor Pyatt winging Brandon Sutter. They also present a scoring threat however with both Pyatt and Sutter possessing decent skill and the entire line offers a relentless work ethic. The fourth line is probably put together for Salary Cap reasons.

On defence, a solid mix of youth and veteran presence make them equally as dangerous. Letang is viable to score every time he's out there, with his partner Scuderi taking care of business in his own zone has one of the best stay at home defensemen in the league. Bortuzzo and Orpik are both big, hard to play against blueliners who will pound the Flames into the ice at every opportunity and the third pairing features a guy who the Flames could've drafted but Jankowski is better, obviously.

Jeff Zatkoff played last night in Edmonton so it'll probably be MA Fluery in tonight for the bird who can't fly. Someone should tell him this is a playoff game so the Flames have a better chance of scoring!

Sum It Up

Is there a chance the Flames come away victorious in this one? Yes. Is it a good one? No. It's more than likely that this game will be more fuel for Lambert's negativity fire, than for my positivity one (which is more of smoulder than anything that this point). The Penguins are really good and the Flames are really not. Those are facts, but the Oilers proved last night that facts can be meaningless sometimes, sparking a little bit of hope for the home side tonight. If Berra can put on his best Kiprusoff impersonation and the Flames actually score once or twice, they stand a chance. They proved a couple weeks ago that they can hang with the Penguins, but then again, that was back when they could score.  

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Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
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#51 prendrefeu
January 11 2014, 10:05PM
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@piscera.infada

I hope you're right. Like I wrote, it's an irrational fear... Man I hope you're right.

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#52 Burnward
January 11 2014, 10:10PM
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@prendrefeu

I heard a comet may strike the Earth and kill us all.

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#53 Burnward
January 11 2014, 10:15PM
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Bortuzzo. Assclown.

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#54 Burnward
January 11 2014, 10:17PM
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Cammi. Assclown.

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#55 piscera.infada
January 11 2014, 10:17PM
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Is Monahan actually 8 for 8 on faceoffs tonight? That's something.

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#56 Parallex
January 11 2014, 10:21PM
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Burnward wrote:

Cammi. Assclown.

No kiddin' geez it's rare to see that complete a lack of self-control.

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#57 Burnward
January 11 2014, 10:21PM
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MICKIS. NOT ASSCLOWN!!!!

WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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#58 Burnward
January 11 2014, 10:22PM
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Let's go boys!!!

196 minutes 15 seconds. Insane.

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#59 Walter White
January 11 2014, 10:32PM
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A couple of bad goals against and some bad puck luck was the difference.....

Other than that we were in this one...

WW

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#60 beloch
January 11 2014, 10:33PM
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Well, at least Backs got a sweet goal and they kept it a close game right down to the buzzer. I'm starting to think the new alternate sweaters were dyed using a rare flower harvested from an indian burial ground though.

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#61 Walter White
January 11 2014, 10:36PM
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Burnward wrote:

Let's go boys!!!

196 minutes 15 seconds. Insane.

I'm not sure what all the fuss was all about earlier this year about picking a goal song....

WW

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#62 Kent Wilson
January 11 2014, 10:39PM
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Flames played pretty well. Backlund with an incredible game.

Maybe this turns things around a bit.

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#63 beloch
January 11 2014, 10:41PM
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@Walter White

I'm starting to think it should have been "At Last".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZXvLsltu2A

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#64 RKD
January 11 2014, 10:41PM
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The Flames score a goal, Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. Glad it was Backs too.

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#65 Walter White
January 11 2014, 10:45PM
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beloch wrote:

I'm starting to think it should have been "At Last".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZXvLsltu2A

No need to worry about paying out a fortune in royalties....

WW

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#66 the forgotten man
January 11 2014, 10:47PM
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the forgotten man wrote:

Is it too late to ask Santa for a goal?

Thanks Santa.

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#67 red deer
January 11 2014, 11:35PM
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Red Deer Oil wrote:

You pukes in " we wanne be" town just can't refrain from slamming the Oilers can you. Is it deep down inside you know their current state will turn around and when it does your pathetic excuse for a hockey club will be what is typically found on on toilet paper ? Yes, the Oilers have issues, but i assure you the talent is there and that is what scares you. You have none - zero - not the slightest of hope. Monahan ? Yeah , he is good but thats all you have besides arrogance for no reason.

So shut your pie hole Flamers and Flamers Media buffoons, you have nothing to slam Edmonton or the Oilers about. You my friends are a hair away from being the , yes THE doormats with no future. Your coach is soon to be gone as well. Look in the mirror Calgary and tell me what you really see. And save the slamming of the City of Edmonton, I've lived in Calgary, it really is not all that you think it is. Wanna Be's , you just can't figure it out can you. Pathetic.

Enjoy an Angry Penguins Team tonight you sad sack doormats.

PS - Go back to Atlanta where you belong.

why don't you go back to your Oiler loving blog dueshbag !! Flames will rebuild in half the time its taken the Oilers. You are pathetic. The Oilers have and continue to be doormats for almost a decade. As far as cities are concerned Edmonton is a dump. Your team is probably a lot like you. Overrated and undersized.

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#68 Burnward
January 11 2014, 11:52PM
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red deer wrote:

why don't you go back to your Oiler loving blog dueshbag !! Flames will rebuild in half the time its taken the Oilers. You are pathetic. The Oilers have and continue to be doormats for almost a decade. As far as cities are concerned Edmonton is a dump. Your team is probably a lot like you. Overrated and undersized.

I bet these guys can find a barn.

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#69 red deer
January 11 2014, 11:57PM
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Burnward wrote:

I bet these guys can find a barn.

Nice to see you have Wifi in yours you Deuch

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#70 Derzie
January 12 2014, 12:14AM
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"deush" "deuch" :-)

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#71 Burnward
January 12 2014, 01:08AM
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@red deer

Was referencing the Lowe/Burke..."Find a barn in Red Deer..." thing.

Figured between you and Red Deer Oil you could suss one out.

Relax brah.

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#72 Burnward
January 12 2014, 01:11AM
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@Derzie

I've always gone with "douche."

For freshness and spelling.

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