FGD: Beantown Battle

Pic Via Beetlebrox

For the second consecutive Tuesday, the Flames will take on the Bruins (22-9-2) and this time, thanks to more casualties from the flu and Bob Hartley’s crazed worldview, the roster looks as though it will be held together with duct tape. 

The last time that the Flames visited Boston, it was uh, not pretty. Leland Irving started that game and was chased in what became an absolute thrashing. The game finished 9-0 and Chris Butler and Jay Bouwmeester were a combined -12. Yowza. No wonder Jarome was hesitant to head there at the deadline.

So far, the Flames have played very well on this road trip, taking three out of a possible four in a back to back stretch against Buffalo and New York. However, this week’s competition will be exceedingly tough for the Flames with dates against Boston, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, so it could be a bumpy week folks. 

THE FLAMES 

Word out of Boston is that the flu has depleted the already damaged Flames roster by claiming Mike Cammalleri and possibly Lee Stempniak as well. Well, apparently Stempniak is a healthy scratch and not a victim of the great influenza epidemic of 2013. This is frankly a mind-boggling decision. Stempniak has been one of the most consistent performers for the Flames all season long even though he has struggled to score in the past few games.  

In their last six road games, the Flames have a rather impressive 4-1-1 record, largely thanks to their vastly improved defensive play. The Flames will need to be strong defensively again tonight if they want a prayer of beating this Boston team in their barn.

The Line rushes this morning were as follows:

  •  Hudler – Stajan – Galiaridi
  • Glencross – Monahan – D. Jones
  • Byron – Backlund – B. Jones
  • Bouma – Colborne – McGrattan
  • Russell – Brodie
  • Giordano – Smid
  • O’Brien – Butler
  • Berra

Cammalleri didn’t even leave the hotel for the morning skate so I would think that he is very questionable to play tonight, though I suppose crazier things have happened, including Jiri Hudler scoring an OT winner despite being flu-stricken as well. That means that both David Jones and T.J Galiardi will draw back into the lineup tonight which is a pretty significant downgrade from Stempniak and Cammalleri.

Joe Colborne has been seeing fourth-line minutes for the past few games, giving Backlund an opportunity to play more minutes with slightly better linemates. Backlund’s play, and subsequently his offensive production, has greatly improved since moving up in the lineup.  

Despite a good stretch of games from Ramo, Berra gets the start tonight and has a chance to erase the two softies he allowed in the third against Boston last week. I have no problem with Berra getting the start tonight, though I think that Ramo has essentially proven that he should be given the starter’s role. Hopefully Berra can re-kindle the magic that he conjured during his first NHL win in Chicago.

BEANTOWN

pic via Slidingsideways

The Bruins are looking to beat the Flames for the fifth straight time and improve upon their 13-3-2 record at home. In their last game, the Bruins were humiliated 6-2 in Vancouver and Jarome Iginla re-assembled his finger after a fight because he is a man.

Here is the roster courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com:

  • Lucic – Krejci – Iginla
  • Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
  • Soderberg – Spooner- Fraser
  • Johnson – Campbell – Caron
  • Chara – Boychuk 
  • Seidenberg – Krug
  • Bartkowski – Miller
  • Rask

The bottom six of the Bruins roster, with the exception of Gregory Campbell, is pretty young at the moment with the Thornton mega-suspension and the injury to Loui Eriksson. The Bruins do boast one of the best first line’s in the NHL and have the best faceoff man on the planet with Patrice Bergeron.

In the last meeting against the Flames, Bergeron ate Backlund’s lunch for him, beating him in every single one of their eight faceoffs. Bergeron is really good, and the Flames (who are not alone in this respect) simply do not have a centreman who can compete with him in the circle.

The Bruins have been getting great production from Reilly Smith, whom was acquired from the Dallas Stars in the Jagr trade. Smith has 23 points in 33 games so far this season and has provided the Bruins with much needed secondary scoring, especially in the wake of the Eriksson injury.

The Bruins are a big, strong team who can punch you in the face and score six goals in a game as well. The Flames had success for the first two periods of last Tuesday’s game, forcing the Bruins to chip and chase and denying the Bruins clean entries for the most part.

However, the Flames could not hold on in the third (shockingly) and the Bruins scored two quick goals and that was it. Calgary will need a complete 60 of defensively strong, and basically boring, hockey to have a chance in this one.  

IN SUMMARY

This Bruins tilt won’t have the emotional impact of last Tuesday’s Iggypalooza but hopefully the Flames can come into a really tough building and prove that they can compete with Boston again.

This game was going to be tough but without Cammalleri and possibly Stempniak, the Flames are going to be seriously out-gunned. The Flames will have to try to drag Boston into the mud this game and frustrate them in the same way that they did for 40 minutes last Tuesday. 

Puck drop is at 5p.m MT on SNET West.

  • CDB

    Another idiotic decision by Bob. Probably trying to play to his new bosses good books. Burke has shown an affinity towards moronic coaching. See Wilson, Ron and Randy “my toast is stuck” Carlyle.

    • mattyc

      Wilson was a coach who tracked stats even during the game via computer to help guide him to getting favorable match ups. I would think this site would love him. Carlyle has been to the play offs in 6 of his 8 coaching years including winning a cup.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Starting Berra, scratching Stempniak….. against BOSTON!

    Is this incompetence or tank job? Ownership has got a list of “guaranteed losses” on the schedule and the boys have won a few of those, “so Hartley, we need to lose this one, but we can’t make it look too obvious.”

    Surely this is not happening as it goes against everything the org has said, but it makes you wonder. Jeesh.

    • Burnward

      Berra gets the start because Ramo is not capable of stopping a beach ball in shootouts! Last time I checked there is what you call shoot outs in the NHL and if you can’t play in the NHL shoot outs then your an incompetent goaltender.

      As far as Berra is concerned he has yet to demonstrate that he is capable of making the big saves late in the game to preserve a win. This also makes him an incompetent goaltender.

      Berra + Ramo = high draft choice. Also these characters are gonzo soon as Burke can trade for high caliber goalies. Ortio and Gillies are many years away before they are legit contenders.

      In the meantime we need to suck it up and remind ourselves this is a rebuild year and next year will have new coaches and new players to cheer for!

      • RexLibris

        “if you can’t play in the NHL shoot outs then your an incompetent goaltender.”

        so Kiprusoff was incompetent then, eh? Good to know.

        Ramo is not incompetent. Perhaps below average, but the shootout is NOT the test for ANYTHING.

  • Its definately surprising but outside of Hudler, Monahan and Stajan I can’t think of anyone in the forward ranks who has been consistent enough to not be considered a healthy scratch every now and then.

    I feel like Hudler and Monahan (along with Colborne, Bouma and probably McGrattan) are the only forwards, currently with the team, that are safe from trade.

    • Monahan has been getting absolutely creamed since he came back from injury from a possession perspective. Ultra protected by coaching and yet giving up the lion’s share of shots and chances.

      It’s so bad that it makes me think he’s still hurt. I’m going to share his results in my next random thoughts post.

      • Nick24

        Ya I think he might still be a bit injured but he is still producing offense..

        Also, even though he is getting good zone starts I’m sure opposing coach’s view Glencross-Monahan-Hudler as our top line. Therefore they are likely facing top defensive checking units which is hurting their possession numbers.

  • The Flames seem to be playing really well in terms of goals against average. Unfortunately, the team cannot hang on to their leads; but penalty killing efforts and scoring on man advantage is conspicuous. The upcoming games may be challenging; but the Flames have done well with elite teams in the past.

  • RKD

    Maybe Burke told Hartley to scratch Stempniak. Maybe Burke is going to use him as trade bait. If this don’t make sense from coaching decision, it probably means it came from Burke.

    • Stempniak’s +/- is a product of bad bounces. The SV% with him on the ice this year at 5on5 is .844…which is worse than most goaltending at 5on4. That’s bad luck. It won’t last.

      Stempniak is amongst the team leaders in shots on goal the last 5 games. He plays the toughest compeititon on the club with Matt Stajan and most nights they hold their own. In counting scoring chances I find a lot of them come off of Stempniak’s stick many nights.