Preseason Gameday Update – September 25th

WASHINGTON - MARCH 28: Mikka Kiprusoff #34 of the Calgary Flames rests during a break in the game against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on March 28, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames will play their third preseason game tonight at the Saddledome when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 pm, The Fan 960).  Calgary hasn’t played since Tuesday, when they took 3-2 and 3-1 wins against the Vancouver Canucks.  Tampa Bay is coming off a game Thursday in Edmonton, where they fell 5-2 to the Oilers.  A number of notes to set this game up.

After the Flames assigned 14 players to the Abbotsford Heat on Friday, it’s a much smaller group of players in camp.  After we saw everybody get into action with two games on Tuesday, names like Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Alex Tanguay, Robyn Regehr and Jay Bouwmeester will not play tonight.  Here are lines and pairings:

Rheault-Backlund-Bourque
Glencross-Moss-Kotalik
Cunning-Conroy-Sutter
Ivanans-Meyer-Nemisz

Pardy-Giordano
Sarich-Brodie
Kronwall-Baldwin

Miikka Kiprusoff will get the start, and Head Coach Brent Sutter says he’ll play at least two periods.  Matt Keetley will serve as the backup tonight.  Interesting to me is the fact that the coaching staff is continuing with the trio of Glencross, Moss and Kotalik.  They played together Tuesday, and they’ve been together all of camp…there’s a potential this could be something we see once the regular season starts in October.  The Conroy line was put together back at day one of camp as well.

Stefan Meyer makes his Flames debut.  I know a lot of Medicine Hat Tigers fans are very excited to see what he’s capable of, after a great junior career.  Both Brodie and Baldwin will be interesting to watch, and I think everyone is excited to see Brodie in NHL game action.  Expect him to get some significant powerplay time along with his regular even strength shift.

This will be a bit test for a Flames team without some of it’s high profile players.  The Lightning, who sat most of their big guns on Thursday, will roll out most of their top six tonight.  I think it’ll be a really good opportunity to see how players like Backlund, Moss and Bourque match up against some elite talent.

Also interesting to note, Flames forward Niklas Hagman sat out his fourth straight day of practice.  The Flames continue to call it maintenance, but it’s now leading many to raise a bit of an eyebrow.