FGD: The Avengers

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.

THE LINE-UP

Via DailyFaceoff, suggested Flames lines:

Galiardi – Stajan – Jones
Cammalleri – Colborne – Stempniak
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Jackman – Backlund – McGrattan

Butler – Brodie
Russell – Wideman
O’Brien – Smid

Berra
Ramo

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.

THE OPPOSITION

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

Lehtonen
Ellis

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.

  • please cancel acct

    When you look at the Flames Depth and the line up compared to teams like the Sharks and ST. Louis, it is obviously we are going to lose a lot of games this year. It won’t be until we get Gaudreau and Gilles and a few other of our more talented prospects into the lineup that we will have a better chance of winning.

  • please cancel acct

    While I agree I hope that we don’t revert back to spending all of our time on Jackman and McGratton shouldn’t be dressed… Dancing bear etc…etc…

    Yes they get killed. No it doesn’t really make much sense to keep dressing both of them. I hope that it changes too. Backlund should play more. Lets move on.. (not that these aren’t valid points just a bit tired of rehashing them…)

  • please cancel acct

    I just wish I could see this as our lineup:

    Glencross-Stajan-Jones

    Cammalleri-Colborne-Stempniak

    Baertschi-Monahan-Hudler

    Bouma-Backlund-Galiardi

    Brodie-Gio

    Russell-Wideman

    Smid-Butler

    Berra

    But good call playing a guy on his bday in Jackman and I have no problem shuffling Smith out. I noticed on a few occasions last game where he would poke at the puck and it would end up in a dangerous area instead of corralling it and trying something else….

    • Feaster Famine

      I’d move Backlund and Hudler to the second line, drop Stempniak to the third, and slot Colborne in as the number 4 center. Either way though, this would be a line up you could rotate all four lines pretty equally without too much trouble at all.
      Then again, I’ve never won a Stanley Cup as a coac so whatever. Anywho, I just hope they put forth a better effort tonight.

      • Feaster Famine

        I’ve just resided to the fact that Backlund is bound to slot it below the other 3 centers currently on our club. If I could choose I would do the same thing.