FGD: A Visit from Nashville

It’ll be Western Night at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight as the Flames host the Nashville Predators. Expect cowboy hats, Taylor Swift and a very tight-checking defensive game. Game-time is 7pm and you can tune in on Sportsnet West or Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames (10-11-4) are attempting to extend their home winning streak to six games and to return to the .500 mark. The Predators (11-10-6) sit just four points up on Calgary and the Flames have two games in hand, so this is a huge opportunity for the Flames to become relevant again in the playoff picture. The Preds got stomped last night in Vancouver, losing 7-4…so, yes it’s another opponent on the 2nd night of a B2B.

THE LINE-UP

As per usual, the Flames had an optional skate prior to tonight’s game. Many players didn’t suit up, although Sportsnet’s Roger Millions tweeted that no line-up changes were expected from the group that beat Detroit on Wednesday night.

  • Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla
  • Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
  • Comeau – Backlund – Hudler
  • McGrattan – Begin – Jackman
  • Brodie – Bouwmeester
  • Giordano – Wideman
  • Smith – Butler
  • Kiprusoff

There’s no guarantee that Roman Cervenka doesn’t slot back in, but there doesn’t seem to be anybody that obviously drops out of the line-up.

The Flames will be trying to play a complete game. Most of the wins on their home streak have come via strong third period efforts, but the team has to find a way to put their mark on a game prior to the third period. The lucked out against Detroit after being handily outshot for the first two frames.

Calgary’s second line continues to drive the bus offensively, contributing three even-strength goals against Detroit. Stajan and Stempniak have been the team’s most consistent players this season, with Glencross (and Bouwmeester) slightly behind.

THE OPPOSITION

Nashville didn’t skate this morning after their game in Vancouver, so all we can do is guess what their line-up will be. Here’s roughly what their lines were at the end of last night’s contest.

  • Halischuk – Legwand – Boychuk
  • Yip – Smith – Erat
  • Spaling – Fisher – Clune
  • Kostitsyn – Butler – Bourque
  • Weber – Josi
  • Ellis – Hannan
  • Klein – Bartley
  • Rinne

Rinne will start for the Preds. Scratches against Vancouver were Jonathan Blum and Chris Mueller. Paul Gaustad is out with an upper body injury. Colin Wilson and Patrich Hornqvist are also hurt.

The Preds are not an offensively-oriented team, as evidenced by them scoring seven fewer goals than Calgary in two more games (and that rather unappealing depth chart above). Heck, their leading scorer – Colin Wilson – has 19 points, comparable with four Flames (Tanguay, Iginla, Cammalleri and Stempniak) that have roughly that many points in fewer games.

That said, the Preds are much better defensively than Calgary, mostly because they have enjoy consistently good goaltending from Pekka Rinne and can turn the neutral zone into a quagmire.

SUM IT UP

The Flames have a winnable game in front of them and the chance to get back to .500, but they desperately need to be better in the first two periods than they were against Detroit. Nashville is a very hard team to catch up to once they get a lead and they play a strong, stifling defensive game.

Calgary was good enough to beat Detroit on Wednesday, but they’ll need to play a better, more complete 60-minute game to repeat that result tonight against the Predators.

PS – Kent has 4 tickets to the HItmen gamr tomorrow night whic he can’t use as well as a parking pass to get in. Section 119, row 12. First person to emal him (kent.wilson@gmail.com) gets them.

 

  • Big Ell

    “The Predators ain’t goin anywhere,” said Kerr. God I hate Rob Kerr. They replaced a toilet full of Peter Loubardias with a steaming pile of Rob Kerr. And Charlie Dimmer jesus. I never use the Calgary feed on Game Center. Terry Crisp eats Simmer’s lunch, Terry the lisp Crisp.

    Nice hat trick Glenncross!

  • I’ve noticed that Calgary has been really lucky with getting several games at home with teams playing on their second night of a back to back. Does anyone have numbers on the home games played by a team facing a road team on the second of a back to back?

  • So looks like we are due for a nice little win streak here. For a minute I had this delusional idea that we could still trade Iggy & see if we could get Dallas to give us a 2nd for Cerevenka & let Rajan Stajan lead us to the playoffs. Kinda rebuild & be competitive at the same time. My God, Feaster was right!!

    Then I woke up.

  • To be honest I’m not sure what to think this year regarding trade speculation. On one hand I believe management will keep Iggy as he’s made them a boat load of money. On the other hand where there have been so many scouts visiting from all the teams in speculation, I’d like to think something is up. My other thought is that maybe, just maybe iggy and management have a mutual agreement to not say a word and a decision has already been made. If he goes anywhere I am leaning on the Sutter- iggy thing. We better be getting more than Bernier though! What if management has a deal in place worked out with iggy so he is a rental and comes back because of trade upgrades ? Too many scenarios! We could have a solid future with the likes of kipper iggy and jaybo traded. Remember Darryl loves jaybo too! I’m more inclined to think kipper goes nowhere but if he went anywhere it would be Toronto. Good fit. GlennX is our next captain if all three are gone. Just make a decision already Flames. We’re out in 4 either way if we get into the dance so none of these decisions have a bearing on anything! As a fan I’d love to watch a young , more competitive team with a future! This draft is deep and we should make hey now. All about the future as the present is more of the same!