FGD: Back To Basics

After picking up a win at MTS Centre, the Calgary Flames (7-11-3) return home to kick off a three-game homestand against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The puck drops at 8pm MT on Sportsnet West and Fan 960, probably due to wacky TSN rules or something. It’s a Wednesday game, so I assumed it was a TSN game, but I was wrong. It’s on Sportsnet West, coincidentally after a Subway Super Series game featuring Russia (and Flames prospect Rushan Rafikov) and the QMJHL (featuring Flames prospect Emile Poirier).

After a great October, the Flames kicked off November with a few uneven (and a few plain ugly) games. The club won a track meet on Monday night against another team with at-times wonky defensive zone play. They’ll face another tonight in Columbus, who they beat in Ohio in the second game of the regular season. Hopefully the team can play a more consistent 60 minutes.

THE LINE-UP

From our pals at Daily Faceoff…

Cammalleri (A) – Stajan (A) – Stempniak (A)
Baertschi – Monahan – Hudler
Galiardi – Colborne – Jones
Bouma – Backlund – McGrattan

Russell – Brodie
Butler – Wideman
Smid – O’Brien

Berra
Ramo

The Flames return home from Winnipeg with two points, so they hope to continue their moderate success as they embark upon a three game homestand featuring the Jacket, lowly Florida, four days off, and then a visit from the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Outside of bumping Backlund, who struggled in Winnipeg, to the fourth line, not many changes. Jackman and Smith sit again, while Reto Berra makes his eighth start. Fun fact, if he goes the distance tonight, he’ll match Karri Ramo’s minutes-played so far this season, which may be the point of starting him again. That and he was pretty solid in Winnipeg in the win, particularly in the shootout.

THE OPPOSITION

Daily Faceoff has lines for Columbus…

Foligno – Johansen – Umberger
Jenner – Anisimov – Atkinson
MacKenzie – Letestu – Comeau
Skille – Chaput – Boll

Johnson – Tyutin
Murray – Wisniewski
Nikitin – Savard

Bobrovsky
McElhinney

The Jackets were embarrassed by the lowly Edmonton Oilers last night up in Rexall, setting up the rarest of things this NHL season – a meeting between teams that have lost to Edmonton. Nobody looked particularly good for Columbus last night, so not many changes. Every single player was minus-1 (Savard and Nikitin were minus-2 each) and Bobrovsky got lit up for four goals, so going back with the same line-up (aside from Jack Skille subbing in for Brandon Dubinsky) gives everyone a mulligan.

The Jackets haven’t been terrible this season, with a 7-11-3 start that’s identical to Calgary’s, but the move East hasn’t helped them much and the fact that they occupy the basement in the putrid Metropolitan Division probably doesn’t sit well with them. The thought is that the one-sided drubbing from the Oilers may serve as a wake-up call, so expect them to come out strong from the get-go.

Columbus is without Nathan Horton, Marian Gaborik and Matt Calvert, who are on the IR, and will be without Brandon Dubinsky. Compared to the group Calgary beat in early October, the Jackets are thinner and more beaten up.

SUM IT UP

The Flames face off against an opponent they’ve already beaten on the road. This time they’ll have last change and have the benefit of being rested, particularly compared to their opponents. There should be no excuses for a flat game for the home side.