January 16 2014 02:55PM
Tonight, after a brief two game road trip out east that saw the team travel roughly 8,000 km in three days, the Calgary Flames (16-25-6) return home for one game against the Winnipeg Jets (20-23-5) before going out on another two-game road trip. Puck drops at 7 pm MT on Sportsnet West.
In their last game, the Flames lost their eighth game in ten games, going down 4-2 to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. These stretches are expected from a team penciled in to finish in the bottom 3 at the start of the season.
The Jets, much better than the Flames on paper, haven't been much better than the Flames statistically. They are three games under .500 on the year and are 4-6-0 in their last ten. The problems have been ample for the Jets this year. Ryan Lambert talked about this at great length recently.
For me, the conference move this year might be the biggest issue. Moving from the horrible Southeast division of the subpar Eastern conference to the newly formed Central Division of the Western Conference has really hurt their bid for decency and a playoff appearance.
Rather than facing Florida, Tampa and Carolina multiple times a year, the Jets now find themselves in a conference with Chicago, St. Louis, Colorado and Minnesota. As a result, the Jets currently sit 12th in the West. The Jets, in an attempt to curb part of the storm, rid themselves of head coach Claude Noel and put Paul Maurice in his place late last week. However, regardless of the coaching change, they'll probably still finish no higher than 11th in the West. It's a tough conference.
The Flames and Jets met once already this year, out in Winnipeg. The game was entertaining and was mostly a back and forth affair. The Flames eventually skated away victorious, winning 5-4 in the shootout.
Let's get to the line-ups!
- Hudler - Backlund - Galiardi
- Bouma - Stajan - Stempniak
- Colborne - Monahan - Byron
- Westgarth - Street - McGrattan
- Brodie - Giordano
- Smid - Butler
- Wideman - O'Brien
Backs is now on a back-to-back-to-back goal scoring streak (I'm going to keep on adding a back to it until he stops his streak). Amazing stuff on his end. Every line he's played with recently has looked the best by a large margin. I'm not sure what got into his coffee but I like it.
Looking at the third line, I'm curious how Baertschi would be doing currently on a no pressure spot on the third line with Monahan and the speedster, Byron. Colborne's been ok but Sven really brought some vision at times and I would like to see him back up in the near future. Although, as I write that I check Sven's stats in Abby and they have been very underwhelming.
Wideman is being deployed on the 3rd pairing with Shane O'Brien currently. That's...well... that's interesting. I figure he'd run a little bit more favorable than Smid and/or Butler but Hartley must see something. Can't wait for Russell to come back, that is for sure.
- Ladd - Little - Frolik
- Thorburn - Scheifele - Wheeler
- Setoguchi - Jokinen - Byfuglien
- Wright - O'Dell - Peluso
- Bogosian - Enstrom
- Stuart - Trouba
- Pardy - Ellerby
That's a different line-up than I was expecting. Evander Kane is out with a hand inury, rumor has it he tried to hold too many stacks of $100 bills this time around and seriously sprained something. Byfuglien is doing the Brent Burns and playing forward rather than defense currently. That third line is an intriguing one to me and I'm curious how it looks.
Pavelec I imagine will get the pipes.
SUM IT UP
Tonight's match-up features the 12th and 13th best teams in the Western Conference. Two teams that are in desperate need of a win. Perhaps the Jets more so as, on paper, they're expected to win more than they do. But this is a Flames blog damn it and the Flames' wins is all we care about. Who cares if those Jets fans want to see their team in the playoffs? It won't happen this year so let's do it Flames. Let's obtain victory.
The two teams combined for eight goals last time out in a good old game of river hockey. Fingers crossed for another one of those beauties.