Arguably Calgary’s most one-sided loss of the year was October 24 in Dallas, featuring three goals against in 61 seconds in a game where the team looked pretty decent, then awful, then couldn’t claw back. The Stars (9-7-2) make their first trek to Calgary this season, and the Flames (6-9-3) definitely have nightmarish visions of that awful second-period stretch in Dallas floating in their heads.
The Stars are on a bit of a roll, having won four of their last five and earning points in five of their last six games. The Flames are on the flip-side of that, having just one win and three points in their last seven games, and a 2-7-1 record in 10 games without captain Mark Giordano. The records suggest an outcome, but the Flames are definitely motivated to provide a different one.
The puck drops at 7pm on Sportsnet Flames, Fan 960 and all over the Twitters.
Via DailyFaceoff, suggested Flames lines:
Galiardi – Stajan – Jones
Cammalleri – Colborne – Stempniak
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Jackman – Backlund – McGrattan
Butler – Brodie
Russell – Wideman
O’Brien – Smid
Lance Bouma and Derek Smith cycle out of the line-up in favour of Tim Jackman, playing his 400th career game on his birthday, and Shane O’Brien. Reto Berra, fresh off being perhaps the only Flames player to play three periods against San Jose, gets the start once again. It’ll be Berra’s fifth start – he’s 1-2-1 with a 3.24 goals against average and .900 save percentage.
The Flames slow starts have been the talk of the Saddledome for the last few days, with them following the Flames back from their road trip. Whatever the reason, they desperately need to score first, as they probably don’t have too many more miraculous third period comebacks left in the tank.
And yes, this means that Backlund will start the game with Jackman and McGrattan. He’ll also take key defensive zone and penalty-kill face-offs and probably be thrown into the top nine rotation in the third period, or if somebody in the top nine under-performs.
Dallas is riding high, coming into town after laying a 3-0 drubbing on the Edmonton Oilers. Via DailyFaceoff, potential lines.
(Jamie) Benn – Seguin – Nichushkin
Chiasson – Eakin – Cole
Horcoff – Fiddler – Peverley
Roussel – Morin – Garbutt
Dillon – Robidas
Goligoski – Daley
(Jordie) Benn – Gonchar
Dallas didn’t have a full skate, so we’re all guessing that (a) lines aren’t changed from last night and (b) Lehtonen starts because he didn’t really have to do much “goaltending” last night. That said, Dan Ellis could slot in based on the back-to-backs and the travel.
After a slowish start out of the gates, the Stars have been cooking. Valeri Nichushkin has been pretty damn good after having some struggles to begin the year, and the Dallas coaching staff has figured out a nice balance of older and younger players throughout their line-up. That said, their bottom-six isn’t amazing, but their top six is dynamic enough to make up for it.
SUM IT UP
The Flames want a mulligan for Tuesday’s awful first 40 minutes and for the 61-second stretch in Dallas that cost them that game. They’ll be motivated and energized right out of the gate. Dallas will be confident after beating the Oilers up north last night, but potentially tired due to the game and the travel.
This is a winnable game for the Flames if they can execute their game-plan. Whether they do or not will be a test of this club’s character and resolve.