A busy Tuesday for the Calgary Flames as they get set for the Nashville Predators at the Bridgestone Arena (6 pm, Sportsnet Flames and The FAN 960). Rene Bourque returns to the lineup as the Flames go in search of their first consecutive wins of the season, and as mentioned previously on the site, the Flames have tinkered with their blueline as well.
It’s F‘in Game Day for the Flames, and here’s what you need to get you primed:
For Calgary, we know a few things. First, as you can see above, T.J. Brodie is no longer with the big club, he’s been assigned to Abbotsford of the American Hockey League. After an outstanding preseason, Brodie started the season with the Flames and played in the first three games before being sat as a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the Oilers. On one hand, you get it…if Brodie isn’t going to play, there’s no use in him being in the NHL. At his age, he needs to play, so you get it in that sense. But when you really think about it…from a strictly hockey standpoint, he’s certainly ahead of both Steve Staios and Adam Pardy on the depth chart. I think he gives you a better chance to win than those two guys at this point. But the Flames are going to start running into a body number crunch, and with Brodie not being waiver eligible, I guess he becomes the odd man out.
As for Brendan Mikkelson, he is claimed off waivers and joins the NHL roster. He’s a second round pick from 2005, as he went 31st overall to the Anaheim Ducks. He has 67 games of NHL experience and posted one assist in his five games with the Ducks this season.
Now, Rene Bourque also returns to the Flames lineup after missing two games with a speculated head injury. Bourque was back at practice yesterday, and was skating on a line with Curtis Glencross and Mikael Backlund this morning. Here are projected lines and pairings tonight:
Alex Tanguay-Matt Stajan-Jarome Iginla
Niklas Hagman-Olli Jokinen-Brendan Morrison
Curtis Glencross-Mikael Backlund-Rene Bourque
Craig Conroy-Stefan Meyer-Tim Jackman
Robyn Regehr-Ian White
Jay Bouwmeester-Steve Staios
Cory Sarich-Mark Giordano
Brett Sutter was the last man off the ice this morning, and he’ll most likely sit out tonight against Nashville.
The Preds enter unbeaten in regulation, with a 3-0-1 record. However, they haven’t had a ton of recent success when hosting Calgary, as the Flames took both games in Music City last season. Their November win was probably the best overall performance of the season, a 5-0 win that could have been even more lopsided. The Flames would take a 3-1 in Nashville in January as well, but lost both their home games against the Preds. Overall, Calgary is 9-13-1 in Tennessee.
Here are lines and pairings for the Preds:
Martin Erat-Colin Wilson-JP Dumont
Jordin Tootoo-David Legwand-Joel Ward
Steve Sullivan-Cal O’Reilly-Patric Hornqvist
Jamie Lundmark-Nick Spaling-Jerred Smithson
Shea Weber-Ryan Suter
Francis Bouillion-Kevin Klein
Shane O’Brien-Cody Franson
Rinne returns to the Predators lineup after missing three games. He suffered a lower body injury in the first game of the regular season. Barry Trotz doesn’t expect any rust from his netminder tonight, however.
So, one former Flames player will suit up tonight with Lundmark skating on the fourth line. However, no Matthew Lombardi, who currently sits on IR with a concussion.
The Flames look for consecutive wins for the first time this season and look to carry over momentum a whole lot better than they did after their last win. Calgary’s 3-1 win over the LA Kings was followed up by a brutal 3-0 loss at the hands of the Panthers. So, after a 5-3 win over the Oilers on Saturday, Calgary will try and keep things pointed in the right direction.
Calgary’s offensive work on Saturday was very impressive, as they generated 31 scoring chances and 46 shots on net and had contributions from virtually everyone on the ice. The opponent is a whole lot tougher tonight though, at least in my eyes. We all know what the Preds are about, and I really think they’ll play the Flames tough tonight. If the Flames can do the same things to generate they did against Edmonton, I think they’ll be rewarded though.
Tonight will be Mark Giordano’s 200th NHL game, and I think we can all agree, we’re happy they’ve all been with a Flaming C on his chest. The guy has turned into one of the cornerstones of the franchise, and his pending unrestricted free agency is one of the biggest ongoing storylines of this season. And we all hope he signs a new deal. Especially walkinvisible…she will blame me if he doesn’t.
Craig Conroy will pass Lanny McDonald for 16th on the Flames games played list, playing in 493rd game with the team while Miikka Kiprusoff will move into 26th on that same list. Miikka will pass Colin Patterson on that list.