Is Weiss playing tonight? Good work Montreal, you’re just like us now
— Ol’ Flooby (@bookofloob) February 4, 2014
The Calgary Flames visit La Belle Provence tonight for another instalment of the classic Flames rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens. The teams have met once this year (Calgary won), as well as in two Stanley Cup Finals series (they split them) and a Heritage Classic (Calgary won).
In terms of direct connections, Flames coach Bob Hartley was also interviewing for the Montreal vacancy when he was hired here, and Mike Cammalleri used to play in Montreal. Habs forwards Rene Bourque and Brandon Prust used to be Flames. So much history! And the games between the two clubs are generally spirited affairs, a rarity for clubs that so infrequently play each other.
Tonight’s edition of the Battle of Teams Whose Logos Look Similar If You Squint kicks off at 5:30pm MT on Sportsnet.
The Flames lost Karri Ramo to injury, so tonight’s your first chance to see 22-year-old Joni Ortio working the gate. There’s a good chance he’ll play on the trip, especially when you consider the Flames have used both goalies in three of their last four games. He’ll wear #37 for the visitors tonight.
Lines! Care of DailyFaceoff.
Hudler – Backlund – Stempniak
Bouma – Stajan – Jones
Cammalleri – Monahan – Colborne
Westgarth – Galiardi – McGrattan
Giordano – Brodie
Russell – Butler
Wideman – Smid
Shock of shocks, the Flames have won five straight and have played well in their last dozen games. The only “significant” roster swap is Chris Breen heading to the sidelines for a recovered Kris Russell.
The Flames are in danger of moving up in the standings once again, as they’re just a point behind the lowly New York Islanders heading into tonight. This week’s road trip could be crucial to the Flames finishing bottom-four or bottom-five in the NHL. All kidding aside, it’s nice to see the team’s hard work rewarded.
Lines, per DailyFaceoff:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Briere – Plekanec – Gionta
Bourque – Eller – Prust
Bournival – White – Weise
Gorges – Subban
Markov – Emelin
Beaulieu – Murray
Montreal’s in a wild-card playoff spot out East, but they’re 3-6-1 in their last 10 and have tumbled down the standings a bit. They’ve won just twice since mid-January.
Carey Price starts in net, hoping to get something going before the Olympics. Dale Wiese I believe is making his Habs debut, and is probably just happy to get away from John Tortorella.
The X-Factor tonight might be the loud, partisan Montreal crowd. Bell Centre is one of the loudest buildings in the league, and the presence of Mike Cammalleri may make them a bit more rowdy than usual. Calgary’s used to playing in a loud barn sometimes, but Montreal is on a whole other level.
SUM IT UP
It’s game 56 of the rebuild and the Calgary Flames have some momentum. With just three games left until the Olympic break, let’s hope they can keep things rolling along.