FGD: Minus Two

The Calgary Flames play their second to last preseason game tonight when they welcome the New York Islanders to the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 pm, TSN and Sportsnet Radio FAN 960).  Calgary got some positive injury news yesterday, and as they move towards a healthier lineup, it looks to be pretty close to an NHL lineup tonight.

The Lineup

The Flames look to get back on the winning side of things after dropping their last three exhibition contests.  Tonight they’ll go with a fairly veteran lineup, with a couple players in there still fighting for a potential job.  The two guys in that category most right now are Roman Horak and Lance Bouma, who have both been solid in camp to this point, and who both have a very realistic shot to crack the opening day lineup.

A couple notes from the morning skate: Jarome Iginla didn’t skate once again, however there’s a chance he may be back on the ice tomorrow as he continues to recover from back spasms.  I’d be surprised if Iginla played a preseason game, but there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be in the lineup to start the regular season on October 8th.

Cory Sarich donned a regular practice jersey for the first time this morning, as he was a full participant in the skate.  He won’t play tonight, and may not play any preseason action either, but it’s very likely he’ll start the season.  That’s a good thing in my eyes, as Sarich is still an NHL defender, and can give you some value on your third pairing.  He was matched up with Jordan Henry today, and they will serve as the healthy blueline scratches.

Finally, Raitis Ivanans was back on the ice practicing with the team for the first time since November 2010, as major concussion issues have kept him on the sidelines for nearly a year.  He was the extra forward and won’t play tonight, but looks ready to return.  Here are lines and pairings tonight:

Lee Stempniak-Roman Horak-Alex Tanguay
Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-David Moss
Niklas Hagman-Paul Byron-Tom Kostopoulos
Lance Bouma-Matt Stajan-Guillaume Desbiens

Mark Giordano-Scott Hannan
Jay Bouwmeester-Chris Butler
Anton Babchuk-Derek Smith

Henrik Karlsson looks to get the start in net tonight after he played half of Sunday’s game at home to the Oilers.  Karlsson was pretty solid, however made one error playing the puck which ended up in the back of the net.

The Opponent

While the Flames go with a fairly veteran looking lineup, the New York Islanders go with a much less experienced group.  A couple interesting forwards to watch, including fifth overall pick Ryan Strome from Niagra of the Ontario Hockey League.  He’s still around in camp and could very likely start the regular season with the team after a 106 point season.  Kirill Kabanov will also play in this one, the Russian forward who many debated at last year’s draft in Los Angeles.  No lines as the Isles didn’t skate.

  • Blake Comeau
  • Justin DiBenedetto
  • Trevor Frischmon
  • Trevor Gillies
  • Michael Haley
  • Kirill Kabanov
  • Jay Pandolfo
  • Rhett Rakhashani
  • Marty Reasoner
  • Ryan Strome
  • David Ullstrom
  • Tim Wallace

The blueline has a couple guys with NHL experience, and one guy with significant NHL experience.  You’re going to love his Staios tonight, as Steve will suit up for New York as he continues his tryout with the team.  Apparently the Islanders came after him fairly heavily, as there is space available, so the former Flames blueliner has a chance to make the team.

  • Calvin de Haan
  • Matt Donovan
  • Milan Jurcina
  • Dylan Reese
  • Steve Staios
  • Ty Wishart

It looks like Evgeni Nabokov will get the start in net for the Islanders, as he’s decided to join the team after not reporting to them last year after being claimed off waivers.  Mikko Koskinen is the other goaltender with New York.

The Story

This is a game the Flames should win, as their lineup is far superior to the one being brought by the Isles.  On top of that, both the coach and the GM have openly challenged their team to show a little more in the intensity department.  I’d be a little disappointed if Calgary didn’t walk away with this one.