17 goals against in three games isn’t sitting well with the Calgary Flames. So, the team has made a few changes in advance of Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (7:30 pm, TSN and The FAN 960), the second meeting between the teams this year. David Moss makes his Flames debut, with a number of shuffles to the lines.
It’s F’in Game Day as the Flames look to snap a two game losing skid, coming off Saturday’s 7-2 debacle against the Washington Capitals. Calgary fell 4-2 in Detroit back on October 21st, a game where Calgary got off to a good start, but couldn’t hold off the hard charging Wings.
As mentioned, David Moss returns to the lineup, and will skate on a line with Mikael Backlund and Rene Bourque, which could be viewed as the second or third line in this case. The return of Moss sends Stefan Meyer to the press box, and brings about a number of tweaks to Calgary’s combinations.
Alex Tanguay-Matt Stajan-Jarome Iginla
Rene Bourque-Mikael Backlund-David Moss
Niklas Hagman-Olli Jokinen-Brendan Morrison
Curtis Glencross-Craig Conroy-Tim Jackman
Jay Bouwmeester-Robyn Regehr
Mark Giordano-Ian White
Cory Sarich-Brendan Mikkelson
The addition of Morrison to Jokinen’s unit could be interesting, with Morrison showing a keen ability to distribute the puck early on this season. To this point, Jokinen and his linemates have been the main unit matched up against top opposition lines…we’ll see if the swap of Bourque for Morrison changes that tactic.
It’s too bad for Glencross, who had been one of Calgary’s most consistent forwards, as he is demoted to fourth line duty. Regardless of how much his unit is utilized, there’s no question it’ll be viewed as the bottom trio, which likely means his ice time will be decreased. I had advocated a combo of Glencross-Moss-Morrison as I felt they could really do damage, but that’s not the direction the coaching staff has gone.
It’s important to point out that Head Coach Brent Sutter hinted that these line combinations may not be a permanent thing, saying it is something they’ve done for this game against Detroit, and they’ll see what fits going forward.
Detroit enters action tonight 6-2-1, placing them fourth in the Central Divison. Kent’s Red Wings preview is already up on the site, and offers a good look at some of their finer points. They’re coming off a 5-2 win over Nashville on Saturday night, and are boasting some fairly impressive numbers thus far. Henrik Zetterberg leads the team in scoring with 12 points, while both Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk have 11 points in nine games.
The Wings do make one change, as Jonathan Ericsson returns to the lineup, which means a bit of a shuffle in their defensive pairings. Ericsson has missed eight games with back spasms.
Pavel Datsyuk-Henrik Zetterberg-Tomas Holmstrom
Johan Franzen-Valtteri Filppula-Todd Bertuzzi
Justin Abdelkader-Mike Modano-Dan Cleary
Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Patrick Eaves
Niklas Lidstrom-Jonathan Ericsson
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Jakum Kindl-Ruslan Salei
Howard gets the start in net with Joey MacDonald backing him up. Chris Osgood will sit out with a groin injury suffered in practice earlier this week.
Plain and simple, we’re trying to see if the Flames can play a full game of how they want to play hockey. The last time that happened, we were all raving at the type of hockey Calgary is able to play. We all remember that, right? Nine days ago? That win over the San Jose Sharks? It was pretty impressive, and even the most cynical of Flames fans were nodding their heads and saying "damn, they just won’t give up the puck." And then the Edmonton game. And then the Colorado game. And then Washington. And now we’re back to the same old story with this team, heading into a game…what team will show up? Until we are no longer asking that question, we won’t know what exactly this Calgary Flames team is.
Detroit won both games in Calgary last season, including a heart breaker later on in the season…the game that first sunk in, to me anyway, that the Flames may actually miss the postseason. Calgary hasn’t won at home over the Wings since March of 2009. The Flames hope to continue their trend of outshooting opponents, as they’ve done in ten games so far this season.