FGD: Flames Host Fins

After a day off on Sunday, your Calgary Flames (29-35-7, 65 points, 26th overall) are back in action tonight (7pm MT; Sportsnet) as they host the San Jose Sharks (46-18-8, 100 points, 3rd overall).

The Flames are a confident bunch after a Jekyll and Hyde weekend – with a somewhat sloppy 6-5 loss to Nashville followed by a 8-1 whuppin’ of the Edmonton Oilers. Despite the lop-sided score, the Flames corrected a lot of the little things they did wrong against Nashville, and they’ll need to be sharp against a Sharks club that’s hoping to smooth out its game as it heads towards the post-season.

The Sharks can clinch a playoff berth with a victory tonight.

THE HOME SIDE

No changes in the line-up from Saturday night (via Daily Faceoff):

Cammalleri – Backlund – Byron
Glencross – Stajan – Hudler
Agostino – Monahan – Colborne
Westgarth – Bouma – McGrattan

Brodie – Giordano
Butler – Russell
Smid – Wotherspoon

Ramo

Calgary’s scored more goals than any other team since the trade deadline.

I know. I’m scared, too. And it’s been the team’s best players chipping in, including Paul Byron. This means that they’re able to give their bottom-six players more time as the game progresses. Edmonton’s collapse allowed Bob Hartley to roll four lines, and then focus on the bottom-six for the late stages of the game.

The big question is: can the Flames do the same thing against a GOOD team? They came out of the gate well against the Anaheim Ducks awhile ago, so that may be the template.

But lordy, please don’t hope for them to score seven goals again.

Keep an eye on Calgary’s special teams. They’ve allowed just 3 power-play goals against since the trade deadline and have scored 8 themselves.

THE SHARKS

San Jose’s lines, via Daily Faceoff!

Pavelski – Thornton – Burns
Marleau – Couture – Nieto
Wingels – Sheppard – Havlat
Brown – Desjardins – Burish

Vlasic – Demers
Hannan – Boyle
Irwin – Braun

Stalock

Not a lot new can be said about the Sharks. They’re pretty good and they should be close to fully healthy by the playoffs, so pity the poor suckers that get to face them. They’re also on a roll lately, having lost once in regulation (to Florida) and once in extra time (to Washington) in their last nine games.

Deep team. Scoring depth. Good mix of old players and young players.

The Sharks have scored 3 power-play goals and allowed 3 power-play goals in their last nine games. Special teams may play a factor tonight.

SUM IT UP

Calgary has been pretty good of late. They’ve gotten healthier. Their recalls have contributed well. They’ve beaten some good teams and haven’t been embarrassed. In a season where the club has been trying to lay a foundation for the future, tonight’s another chance for them to prove that their rebuild may be able to progress faster than anybody anticipated.

Or at the very least, they can make the Sharks wait for another day to clinch a playoff spot.

  • T&A4Flames

    “The big question is: can the Flames do the same thing against a GOOD team? They came out of the gate well against the Anaheim Ducks awhile ago, so that may be the template.”

    Should of said “…an NHL team.”

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        I’m so torn with this team. If all things remain equal, could we expect similar yet more consistent results next year? Is this just averaging out the low points of the season and the Flames are not as good as they seem right now?

        What direction does Burke take this team in the off-season? Does he go after free-agents? Does this recent run and the team unity we hear so much about make Calgary a more attractive destination for UFA’s than was previously expected? Could we actually turn this thing around in 2 – 3 years in stead of the 4 – 5 many of us have come to expect?

        I’m so pleased with how this team is playing and how the rebuild is shaping up so far.

    • MWflames

      Flames have been competitive for the most part since 04 even though drafting around 15th overall each year. The playoffs were always in range other than last year.
      As well the Flames never finished 30, 29, 29 and have had all those 1st overalls with no sign of improvement!

      Honest answer.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        How does “always in the range” make it any better? At the end of the day if you don’t make the playoffs you don’t make it. The only difference is being an average team missing the playoffs gives you a lower draft pick. It’s better to miss the playoffs terribly then to come close. Except in the oilers case they just need to win more games. Losing has become acceptable for too many years now.

        • P. Ennis

          You are correct, PE. The NHL/PA have bargained a deal that ostensibly addresses league parity, but actually incentivizes lousy teams to strive to be more lousy. The Oilers franchise has embraced that incentive whole hog. Good for them.

          The odd thing of it all is that those are the preserves of management and ownership. As a fan – or better yet, a paying customer – being “always in the range” makes attending games into March/April a whole lot more interesting and fun. That’s the difference.

          So… yeah. There’s that.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          Well your initial statement stated from 2006. I do believe the Flames won the division in 2006 & in 2007 & 2008 they were in the playoffs, for 1 round anyway. From 2009 until 2011 they were a bubble team, which meant the Flames had meaningful games until the end of March & April. Last year Flames tied the worst place a Flames team ever finished & tied the highest draft pick in franchise history. So what`s your point. Only 1 team can win the cup. 29 cant. So what is your point. Honest question. Lose bad rather than lose trying to win. Maybe that`s the problem in Edmonton.

    • mk

      They’ve tied a record for winning margin against their most hated rivals, who were supposed to be miles better than them this year.

      Including ’05-’06, the Flames have gone 34-18 against the Oilers.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Difficult question as the two teams current status took two different routes. The Oilers tanked and ended up getting great draft picks 4 years in a row. The Flames chose not to do the major rebuild but struggled during the same period. How the two teams got here is irrelevant. The only question is where they’re at and where they’re going. The Oilers draft record is brutal. They have chosen the “obvious” picks but haven’t given any thought on creating the right balance. So they’ve ended up with high skilled, small and fragile forward group, lacking a power forward, and any semblance of defence or goaltending. The Flames have drafted better, seem to have a decent balance of forwards, defence and goaltending (although they could use some pieces) and are very well coached. I had to chuckle on Saturday night reading the 400 comments on the Flame/Oiler game about which team was better. At the end of the day, both have been out of the playoffs for months. Who is the better team to watch? The Flames. Who puts in an effort game in and game out? The Flames. Who respects their fans and play for them every home game? The Flames.

  • MWflames

    Just in case you have not heard the new Flames “goal – a – 2014” song as a result of Saturday’s 8-1 Oiler spanking….

    http//www.sportsnet.ca/960/on-demand/

  • BurningSensation

    Im a die hard Flames fan and like everyone else really excited at the team performance and the young talent in the system. BUT I am tempering my excitement somewhat because this team has had no playoff pressure since the trade deadline. One might ask where were the veterans when the games were on the line?

    No doubt the sign of a pro athlete is not only his skill set but his ability to perform under pressure. This team went through some long winless streaks and the veterans were no where to be seen. We are a bottom 5 team and in the process of a rebuild.

    As a Flames fan I am satisfied at the amount of progress made and anticipate more improvement once Burke gets to work!

    • BurningSensation

      “One might ask where were the veterans when the games were on the line?”

      As I recall they were injured.

      Stajan, Cammalleri, Gio, Hudler, etc. All of them got dinged up at one time or another, and in December (when we couldn’t score to save our life) our D corps was AHL level.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          You did ask where all the vets were. While, it’s not acceptable to blame injuries exclusively for a lack of success, it’s hard to place the blame on veterans when they are not in the line up to lead the way. BS didn’t even list Glencross or Wideman.

  • Nighteyes

    San Jose has been in six consecutive one goal games (4-1-1) and Calgary hasn’t lost by more than one goal (7-0-5) since they dropped a 2-0 decision to the Kings in LA back on February 27, 2014.

    Somehow I still can’t take the +1.5 pucks and back the Flames. Should be a good contest though.

  • T&A4Flames

    Off topic and I’m sure I’m saying something most have thought about already. But a big difference between us and the Oilers and one more reason we will have a quicker and more stable rebuild is because of our success in the later rounds of the draft. Beyond 1st overalls, the Oilers haven’t had to many wins in the 2nd 3rd and later rounds.

    Look at some of our success stories even just this year. Ortio (6th), Wotherspoon and Granlund (2nd), Bouma (3rd). TJB was 4th. We’ve had one draft where we picked high. We should be years behind the Oilers.

    Even when guys like mentioned above graduate, there will still be guys like Knight, Arnold, Klimchuk, Poirier, Gaudreau, Sven, Reinhart and on and on to continue developing and keep the system strong at all levels.

  • P. Ennis

    Dear Walter White/Private Eye/related trolls,

    1) I don’t think anyone that posts on here is disillusioned enough to say the flames are even remotely good, nor have i ever heard anyone on here saying that we were, or any other homer flames fan comments ala hfboards.

    2) I can barely manage to type my name or my email address everytime just to post something here, so the fact that you have gone through the trouble to use a proxy IP, or even worse literally using different computers is absolutely mind boggling.

    Time to take a long hard look at your life…

    EW

  • mk

    I’m always surprised at how quickly the Oilers dump useful-but-not-elite players (Omark). It might help them – some could turn into gems too. Oh well.

    How’s the Sharks-Flames game going (for those of us not able to watch)?

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Anyone else feel like this team has an ‘it’ factor? Hate to keep bringing up the 04′ Cup run but the way this team is built I think if they were in the playoffs they would have the best shot of pulling an upset.

    They’ve got a mix of young kids, veterans, tough guys. I don’t think any of the top teams would want to face the Flames in the first round.

  • Bring Back Brathwaite

    can’t watch the game tonight, but looking at box score, Agostino seems to be getting some moderate time out there. How does he look? Out of place or like someone who could be a decent NHLer?

    • FirearmSizzly

      Definitely! And after the 7-2 Anaheim game where we completely scorched and BBQ-ed the ducks, they’re definitely going to bring their A-game against us come around, but we’ll be ready for ’em. 😉

      I’m expecting a good game.