FGD: Looking for a Deal in Disneyland

The day after American Thanksgiving is best known as Black Friday, a day where bargain-hunters wake up early to hunt for deals. The Calgary Flames (8-12-4) are no different, as they’re up early in Orange County for a 2pm MT matinee date with the Anaheim Ducks (17-7-3), and it’s not even the earliest hockey game of the day. It’s on Sportsnet’s various media properties. The Flames’ bad record in the Honda Center is the stuff of legend, as they haven’t won in 17 visits to Anaheim. The last visit preceded their run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004.

Moreover, the Flames are suddenly mired in a streak of bad luck, both on the ice and off. Blown leads, bad starts and a rash of injuries have left Calgary reeling. A win in Anaheim would go a long way towards keeping morale on an upward tick.

THE LINE-UP

Max Reinhart and Paul Byron joined the team in the last 24 hours, as T.J. Galiardi, Sean Monahan and Denis Wideman are on the shelf. With a lack of full line rushes due to injuries and the schedule, here’s my guess.

Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
Baertschi – Backlund – Hudler
Bouma – Colborne – D. Jones
Reinhart – B. Jones – McGrattan/Byron

Russell – Brodie
Butler – Smid
Breen/O’Brien – Smith

Berra
Ramo

Five regulars are out for Calgary (Galiardi, Glencross, Monahan, Giordano, Wideman) and I’d expect Byron to play one of the next two games, so he’ll probably sit to get acclimatized with his teammates before playing. As mentioned before, the Flames never, ever win in Anaheim.

Ever.

They’re also a not-great road team in general, with a 4-7-1 record (worst in the West) away from home. The line-up is also super-depleted, most notably their defense, which wasn’t great shakes to begin with. If you took the blueline group of a team expected to flirt with 30th place and then took away two of the three best players from that group, well, it’d look like this one.

Optimism: the penalty-kill’s been pretty good over the last stretch.

THE OPPOSITION

After filling up on turkey yesterday, the Ducks hope to fill up on the Flames today. Lines from Daily Faceoff:

Penner – Getzlaf – Perry
Palmieri – Perreault – Selanne
Cogliano – Koivu – Winnik
Beleskey – Bonino – Jackman

Fowler – Lovejoy
Yonkman – Vatanen
Fistric – Lindholm

Hiller
Andersen

Like Calgary, five regulars are out (Allen, Souray, Silferberg, Beauchemin, Sbisa, Fasth), but the Ducks have more depth and have been more or less fine lately. They host in a bit of a “slide” (by their standards), having gone .500 over their last 10 and struggling to score a lot.

Saku Koivu is a game-time decision due to an injury he’s recovering from, but he’s expected to play. He adds a bit more firepower to a group that boasts size, speed, talent, and Tim Jackman – traded to the Ducks last week. Perhaps we see a Jackman/McGrattan face-punching battle?

SUM IT UP

The odds are stacked against the Flames: afternoon game, on the road, in Anaheim, against a team hoping to get back on track, with a line-up that’s even more depleted by injuries than beforehand. This 36 hours will definitely test Calgary’s mental fortitude. The upside is that very few on-lookers expect the Flames to win given the circumstances, so there’s no better time than right now for this group to buckle down, dig in and shock the world with a pair of good performances in SoCal.

And there would be no better way to start that than with a win against the Ducks today.

  • thymebalm

    I’m so glad Backlund is getting quality minutes with Monahan out… oh wait… he’s at 7:52 through two periods.. He’ll be lucky to break 11 minutes this game.

  • RedMan

    Did I hear that right? Did Rob Kerr actually say that Calgary has only drawn three PP opportunities over the last 3 games? I wonder if they will ever get a PP on this mini road trip.

  • Johnnydapunk

    As I have written before here that I’m an Oil fan but also a huge fan of Berra so I don’t come here to be a dick or anything of the sort.

    I’m watching the game and I think the biggest mistake the Flames made was bringing Berra up so quickly before he got some serious time in North America. The decent euro goalies usually spend a season or two in the minors before coming up so they can get used to the style of play and rink at a slower speed.

    I can only guess as I have only been half paying attention to the Flames goaltending situation and it seemed like the management was more pissed off with MacDonald as he didn’t come to camp in the best shape despite having the number one job to lose and now being in a position where unless they wish to lose Berra or even find someone to take the weirdly high paying contract for Rämö (though looking at his KHL numbers, I can now see why he is being paid so much ) the Flames are stuck with the decision they have made since Berra will improve, and Rämö should as well eventually.

    All I can suggest is just enjoy the season as much as you can and try to be patient with your goaltending as it will get better with time.

  • MichaelD

    PP Assholeheim-4 Calgary – 0 (par for the course)

    No fights by McGrattan

    How much icetime did Backs end up with?

    Berra out of position again and again and Ortio is 9-0-1

    What the hell was that on the 5th goal? Simmer called it “indecision.”

    Why hasn’t Ben Street gotten a callup? When he was still up at the show, he was blocking shots, killing penalties effectively, solid on the forecheck, and generating the odd quality scoring chance.

    And lastly, let’s swap Hartley for Troy G. Ward

    Please, do something. I know that this is year 1 of the rebuild and injuries are hitting the Flames hard, but, can they at least try and give the illusion that they are competing?

  • MichaelD

    PP Assholeheim-4 Calgary – 0 (par for the course)

    No fights by McGrattan

    How much icetime did Backs end up with?

    Berra out of position again and again and Ortio is 9-0-1

    What the hell was that on the 5th goal? Simmer called it “indecision.”

    Why hasn’t Ben Street gotten a callup? When he was still up at the show, he was blocking shots, killing penalties effectively, solid on the forecheck, and generating the odd quality scoring chance.

    And lastly, let’s swap Hartley for Troy G. Ward

    Please, do something. I know that this is year 1 of the rebuild and injuries are hitting the Flames hard, but, can they at least try and give the illusion that they are competing?

  • MichaelD

    PP Anaheim-4 Calgary – 0 (par for the course)

    No fights by McGrattan

    How much icetime did Backs end up with?

    Berra out of position again and again and Ortio is 9-0-1

    What the hell was that on the 5th goal? Simmer called it “indecision.”

    Why hasn’t Ben Street gotten a callup? When he was still up at the show, he was blocking shots, killing penalties effectively, solid on the forecheck, and generating the odd quality scoring chance.

    And lastly, let’s swap Hartley for Troy G. Ward

    Please, do something. I know that this is year 1 of the rebuild and injuries are hitting the Flames hard, but, can they at least try and give the illusion that they are competing?