FGD: Flames Take Broadway

pic via Krandolph

I think I speak for all Flames fans when I say that we all knew the Chris Butler/Paul Byron connection was deadly. It was just a matter of time. 

As a result, the Flames are entering tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak with a pair of OT wins against Carolina and Buffalo while the Rangers are currently on their longest home losing streak at MSG in 20 years.

Inexplicably, the Rangers and Flames are one point apart in the standings. That is, well, crazytown. The Rangers showed signs of recovery after a miserable start but are 3-6-1 in their last ten and are a shocking 5-9-1 at home. Yikes.

THE FLAMES LINEUP

Here is the lineup as of this afternoon from Dailyfaceoff.com:

  • Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
  • Glencross – Monahan – Hudler
  • Byron – Backlund – B.Jones
  • Bouma – Colborne – McGrattan
  • Smid – Giordano
  • Butler – O’Brien
  • Russell – Brodie
  • Ramo

This game is a little bit strange as there is no morning skate so the exact line picture is a little foggy. Hartley said this morning that Blair Jones would draw into the lineup this evening though it is uncertain, at the time I am writing this, who would be sitting. It looks as though it will be a clean Jones swap, with Blair subbing in for David. D.Jones has been struggling lately to generate offense and his general slowness has been already well-documented this season. T.J Galiardi will also sit out again tonight as well though Byron is playing well enough to justify Galiardi’s absence.

We were treated to Monahan’s surprise return yesterday afternoon though he looked a little lost and his line was largely stuck in mud the entire game. Frankly, Glencross and Hudler didn’t look too good either as Glencross looks to be struggling to find his stride again as well. Hopefully Monahan and Glencross can both shake off some of the rust and take advantage of the cushy zone-starts their line was enjoying.

It`s hard not to feel good for the lovable little Paul Byron who now has four points in his last two games, including scoring or assisting on every goal the Flames have score in the past two games. On both of the overtime winners that he assisted, Byron has looked poised with the puck and used his speed to create space in the offensive zone. He is also no longer spending his precious minutes with McGrattan which will surely help him get better looks as well. 

Karri Ramo gets a second consecutive start tonight and has posted a SV% north of .950 in four of his last five starts. That is awesome. Tonight will be a tougher test than Buffalo for him as he will be facing an ornery Ranger squad with some very good talent up front.

THE BLUE-SHIRTS

– Pic via Hakan Dahlstrom

Here is the Rangers’ roster courtesy of of dear friends at Daily Faceoff

  • Kreider – Stepan – Nash
  • Richards- Brassard – Zuccarello
  • Hagelin – Boyle – Pyatt
  • Pouliot – Moore – Dorsett
  • Allen – del Zotto
  • Girardi – McDonagh
  • Moore – McIlrath
  • Lundqvist

Clearly this roster is underachieving right now but their back-end is looking rather thin, especially after losing Marc Staal, again. The bottom-six of their roster is also kinda, meh, so it looks as though the Rangers will sink or swim with their top guys. So far this season, it’s been a lot more sinking. 

Simply put, the Rangers can’t seem to score. They are third last in league scoring with 11 goals less than the Flames despite averaging 3.6 more shots than Calgary per game. Clearly, the Rangers are not as bad as their record  but hopefully they don’t figure that out tonight.

The Flames will see fashionista/guitar hero/goalie Henrik Lundqvist in net tonight who has been struggling to erase an awful start to the season. He currently has a record of 9-14, a GAA of 2.7 and a .910 sv %. Not exactly sparkling numbers for the freshly extended keeper. 

IN SUMMARY

This will be a tough one for the Flames. Well, they are all tough for the Flames but the Rangers should be approaching desperation for some wins at home and they will likely see the Flames as a must-win on their schedule.

The Flames will need another solid outing from Ramo if they want to make it three in a row and start this road swing off with back-to-back wins. Puck drop is an early one, 5pm MST on SNET1.

  • Burkie looked around and saw that the flames were in cap heaven, had one of the hardest working teams in the NHL, the best minor league team and blue chip prospects in junior and college and thought this is good. Then, fans started to notice that Jay Feaster was largely responsible for this (remember what dutter left) and this was not good for Burkie, so he canned Jay, messed up his hair to look like this was a tough decision and fired Jay. Now Burkie can sit back and take all the credit. This is exactly how the corporate world works.
    OK Burkie, time to shut up and put up.

    • jonahgo

      You get the tar and I will get the feathers. He should get the rest of the season and if we aren’t in we should start the deal. (Feaster has had 8 months and 40 some games since he was allowed to officially start the rebuild, thats all BB should get)

    • Burnward

      I couldn’t agree more with your view. People tend to forget how dismal the state of the Flames was last year, and for Burke to can Feaster was a gutless move. Now its a dream senerio for another GM to swoop in and take whatever credit is left after Burke gets his fill.

    • Burnward

      Wow, you are a glass half full kinda guy. I would say burkie is looking around and see’s a team at the bottom of the standings, with only a couple quality nhlers, one being a ufa this summer. One blue chip prospect (Monahan) and really nothing else exciting. Also, in review of Feaster, he realized he traded Robyn regehr for nothing, almost lost his first round pick last year in the ror debacle, got not even close to what he should of for iginla and boumeester and his team has steadily fallen in the standings since he took over. Firing Feaster is the best move I have seen in years.

      • jonahgo

        A little clarification on Gussey’s comments. The Flames are at the bottom due to the rebuild (gone are Iggy, Bouwmeester and Kipper). I believe that they have more than a couple quality NHL’ers (Gio, Wideman, Brodie, Hudler, Cammy). Aren’t Poirier, Gaudreau, Gillies and possibly Klimchuk blue chippers.
        I agree that Jay should have waited til the trade deadline for Bouwmeester, ROR could have been as bad as it gets, Regehr was not so great but remember the cap situation and Iggy should have been gone 2 years earlier if ownership would have allowed it.

        • jonahgo

          I think that the Jankowski draft was also a factor against Jay. Not saying I agree but I think that Burke views this as a big failure. Would be helpful if Sieloff was healthy and having a good year but he has been a non factor also. Likely viewed as too big a gamble given the state of the club at the time of the draft. Many on here (not me) said so at the time, and it appears that they may be correct.

          I am curious Kent’s thoughts on the firing of Feaster and the demotion of Sven.

          Also.. Happy Birthday Kent! (hopefully Ryan’s twitter comment is correct)

  • I have suggested numerous times on FN that D. Jones should be one of the buy-outs in the off season. Many GM wanna bees suggested that we need the Jones contract to ensure the minimum base. That of course is poor management and ensures failure!

    D. Jones and O’Brien were the cost of being able to offload the Tanguay contract which was ridiculous as well. Buy-out both of these clowns and sign some credible free agents to ensure your base is kept rather than keep keep 2 overpaid players that are not contributing to the rebuild!

  • FlamesRule

    I wouldn’t be opposed to letting Ortio play in Abby all season. He has a chance to win down there. He is dominating down there so it is good for his development.

    I also wouldn’t be opposed to giving him a taste of the NHL at the tail end of the season to let him learn what he needs to adjust in the offseason in order to make an NHL impact next season.

    Either way I don’t think there is a rush to get him up to the Flames. We should properly evaluate the two guys we have up here and let Ortio build confidence.

    He won’t go back to Finland. Granlund is his good friend and is here and he is succeeding so it would be counter productive to leave. They both have a chance to make the team next year. Let them win this year in the A and bring that winning experience with them. This is why it will be good for Sven to go down too.

    We should stop worrying about our prospects wanting out. They have a greater opportunity here than most anywhere else. They might have to pay their dues in the AHL but that is never a bad thing.

    Side note: Given Galiardi and D. Jones struggles will they be here next season?

    They are bigger and grittier but have trouble generating offence consistently.

  • The Last Big Bear

    This is the second game under Burke’s management, so it’s time to set the tone of the new regime and have a bench brawl. Or a line brawl at the very least.

    I want to see Ramo and his big dirty flow lay a savage beat-down on pretty boy Henrik.

    #gritchart

    • More to the point, I think the Flames HAVE to give Ortio a look at some point. To show that they’re, you know, paying attention to the fact that he’s the only goalie in the system who has successfully relegated MacDonald to backup duties.

      If they don’t, he might decide there are greener pastures elsewhere and force a trade, or else sign with HIFK again.