The nice thing about Sunday is that it’s not Monday. The Flames had a case of the Mondays this past week against Phoenix, when they lost the world’s most unwatchable hockey game in convincing fashion, a 4-0 snoozefest against a Coyotes team that against all odds both still exists and performs decently enough to find themselves batting for a playoff spot. For obvious reasons, we are not going to talk about it anymore.
Instead, let’s talk about how Calgary finds themselves in similar territory as a good number of their opponents this year, in that they are playing in back to back nights after coming off a win against the Minnesota Wild last night. (The similar territory, of course, being the Scotiabank Saddledome, as usually the team playing back to back has to travel to Cowtown after bolting out of Edmonton as fast as they could, because how else do you leave Edmonton if you ever find yourself in the grim position of being there?
The big news, inexplicably, is that Steve Begin, Calgary Flames forward I guess, checks in for his 500th NHL game tonight, and while that’s a tidy little milestone for the 34 year old from Trois Rivieres, you’ll forgive Flames fans if they don’t intend to mark the achievement with any degree of pomp and circumstance.
What is more likely to put some pep in the C of Red’s spirit is the return of Roman Cervenka (THE CHERV!) after a one game absense. Cherv will replace Akim Aliu, who is out with a lower body injury, speculated to be a complete dearth of skating ability. As a result, Bob Hartley has assembled one sexy looking line that Flames fans have been salivating for all year by putting Roman on a line with Jiri Hudler and Sven Baertschi. Breathe that one in for a moment, folks.
Here’s how she breaks down (probably, courtesty of Roger Millions):
- Tanguay – Stajan – Iginla
- Baertschi – Cervenka – Hudler
- Glencross – Cammalleri – Stempniak
- Comeau – Begin – Jackman
- Bouwmeester – Giordano
- Wideman – Brodie
- Smith – Butler
Matty Franchise gets another crack at centering Tanguay and Iginla after potting a couple of monumentally important win securing goals last night. Stajan is playing some of his best stretches of puck since first donning the Flaming C, and we’d be good just to ride the wave rather than question it or wait for the other skate to drop. The Flames are taking this approach at the moment, and I say let them.
Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadu gets the nod between the pipes on back to back nights, as a rather solid performance against the Wild yesterday was enough to warrant another go at it this evening, which is, well, whatever I suppose. Sarich takes a ride on the pine, as does Anton Babchuk once again, which we can all agree is a relief.
Seriously though, guys, Sven – Cherv – Hudler. That line could be the business.
The Dirty Dogs
The Coyotes, after relinquishing what looked like a certain win against the Oilers, which must be embarrassing, and will look to find their way back into win column tonight. Which I think is a terrible idea and hope they decide against it. You’re not supposed to be successful, guys, do you realize who you are?
Projected Coyotes lineups, again per the legendary Roger Millions.
- Boedker – Vermette – Doan
- Moss – Gordon – Torres
- Sullivan – Lombardi – Korpikoski
- Bissonette – Chipchura – Johnson
(Rog accidentally named all the Flames D in the Phoenix slots, so let’s try and figure this out by how they usually stack up)
- Yandle – Klesla
- Ekman-Larsson – Michalek
- Summers – Rundblad
What can you say about Mike Smith that hasn’t already been said about Jonathan Quick last season? If the Flames are to have any success tonight, they’re going to have to get to Smith early. It’ll be a tough task as Smith has played some fine hockey of late, coupled with the Flames sudden inability to find the twine. (Obviously it’s a bit of a cop out to say that a key to the matchup for the Flames is to score goals, but it is, so let’s hope they do that)
Might want to watch out for stereo jerk in Shane Doan and Raffi Torres. Radim Vrbata might have the most points on the Coyotes, but those two are certainly the most offensive part of Phoenix’ makeup.
So I Guess What I’m Saying Is
Calgary hasn’t done a very good job of winning consecutive games this season (having only done it once this season), and it’s been frustrating watch the team throw up some duds after some of their more impressive wins this season. The inconsistency continues to divide the fanbase, as the blow it up camp would prefer the team continue to drop games in order to secure, oh, let’s say natural center Nathan MacKinnon, while those of us rational people who enjoy the spirit of competition would love to watch our charges string together some bonus W’s.
Time’s going to tell which bloc of fans gets their way.
In Other News
No, that’s about it. Go Flames!