FGD: Royal Rubbermatch

We’re down to the final five days of the 2013-14 season, and the Calgary Flames play their 80th contest tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Los Angeles Kings. It’s the fifth and final meeting between the clubs. The road team has won every single game.

The home side arrives back in Calgary after a pretty successful road trip, winning three of five and putting some drama into the playoff hopes of New Jersey and Tampa Bay. The Kings are a streaky team, having lost three of their last four games (and that stretch followed a six-game winning stretch). They’re being chased by the Minnesota Wild, and desperately need some points to cement their claim to the third seed in the Pacific Division. It’s ultimately a meaningless game, they’re being chased by Dallas and Phoenix, neither of which can catch ’em.

Tonight’s game is the last TSN broadcast for awhile. It kicks off at 8pm MT.

THE BOYS IN RED

Lines from practice, via many media types (and your pals at Daily Faceoff:

Byron – Cammalleri – Hudler
Glencross – Monahan – Colborne
Bouma – Stajan – McGrattan
Van Brabant – Galiardi – Westgarth

Brodie – Giordano
Butler – Russell
Billins – Cundari

Ramo

Stajan and Byron are back in after missing time dealing with personal matters, so Agostino and Hanowski sit. Also absent are Backlund, Wotherspoon, Smid, Wideman, Granlund and Jones.

The coaching staff continues to opt for line balance without so many guys; you could argue they have two second lines and two fourth lines. But given their balanced approach at spreading the workload over the past few games (perhaps in an attempt to evaluate the kids), a balanced line-up makes complete sense.

After winning his 16th game of the year in New Jersey, Karri Ramo gets his 35th start of the year. He’s been very good lately. Very good.

THE ROYAL VISITORS

Lines via Daily Faceoff

Gaborik – Kopitar – Williams
King – Carter – Toffoli
Pearson – Stoll – Brown
Clifford – Richards – Lewis

Martinez – Mitchell
Muzzin – Voynov
Campbell – Greene

Quick

The Kings need wins. Badly. They’ve lost three of four and in the process have tumbled from well ahead of Minnesota to tied with them, although that has zero playoff impact. But during a stretch where they should be playing strong playoff-style hockey against prospective playoff opponents, they’ve stumbled.

The Kings also have a mostly healthy roster, so it’s not like injuries can be leaned on as an excuse. They just don’t seem to have it right now, which is likely incredibly worrying for the team from Hollywood. Regehr and Doughty are nursing minor issues, so both are sitting tonight to get ready for the post-season.

SUM IT UP

The Flames and Kings battle for the season series and bragging rights, with the locals trying to win against the Kings on home ice, and the Kings trying to round back into playoff form against an opponent that’s been very good over the past two months.

Beware, though: it’s a late game, so grab some coffee or Red Bull on your way to the game.

  • MattyFranchise

    Minnesota is not in the Pacific Division, so they cannot replace the Kings for third seed in the division. The Wild have locked up the 1st wildcard spot and will be playing the winner of the Central Division, either St. Louis or Colorado. The Kings have clinched the 3rd spot in the Pacific Division and will play either San Jose or Anaheim.

    • MattyFranchise

      The second wild card team plays the division winner with the best record. It’s similar to 1 vs 8 and 2 vs 7 from previous seasons.

      St Louis and Anaheim are only a point apart right now so who Minnesota plays hasn’t been decided yet.

      If the playoffs started today Minnesota would play Anaheim and Dallas would play St Louis.

  • BitGeek

    Despite my desire to see the Flames draft a quality player, I’d love to see them sweep the last 3 games of the season.

    If they beat the King’s tonight, it will only be that much sweeter given that the Kings are a real threat to take the cup this year.

    Go Flames!

  • McRib

    If the Flames lose one of the final three games we have a 100% chance of drafting 5th. The Top. 5 prospects are significantly better than anyone behind them so for that reason I hope we lose tonight and secure either Leon Draisaitl or Michael Dal Colle.

    It look like Jonathan Quick is starting tonight, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

      • McRib

        Hahaha, Okay so if we win tonight we have an 83% chance of being in 5th after the draft lottery. Does anyone know if New Jerseys odds get eliminated or dispersed to other teams from the draft lottery?

        • gotommygo

          “Okay so if we win tonight we have an 83% chance of being in 5th after the draft lottery. Does anyone know if New Jerseys odds get eliminated or dispersed to other teams from the draft lottery?”

          I think that if we end up 5th last that actually means we have a an 8.1% chance of picking 1st overall, 68.7% chance of picking 5th overall, and a 23.2% chance of picking 6th overall (if a team lower than us wins the lottery).

          Good question about New Jersey’s odds — not sure how that affects it. Maybe they get relegated to 14th place and everyone above them gets bumped up?

          • MWflames

            Pretty sure that NJ will remain in the draft position that they finish in for the purposes of the lottery, so that the percentages remain the same. After the lottery has concluded and all positions are finalized, NJ will be bumped to 30th and everybody else will be moved up accordingly.

          • supra steve

            The laws of probability don’t apply in situations like this; it it Murphy’s law that rules:

            Either the Canucks, Leafs or Oilers will be picking first this year…..count on it.

            WW

          • gotommygo

            “The laws of probability don’t apply in situations like this; it it Murphy’s law that rules:
            Either the Canucks, Leafs or Oilers will be picking first this year…..count on it. WW”

            Sigh. You’re probably right. Most likely Edmonton. At least if it’s the Oilers we won’t pick sixth.

  • MacInnis & Gunn

    I’m pretty sure we are going to finish in the 5 spot. Islanders have to win at least 2/3 and we have to go 0/3 to finish up for anything to be different. They do have Buffalo and New Jersey left though!

    • supra steve

      By my count, the Isles need to gain at least 3 more points in the standings than the Flames, in the final 3 games, if the Flames are to finish in 27th place. A two point Isles gain ties the Flames, but I believe that the Flames win (lose) the tie breaker, regulation wins, in the case of a tie.

      So the Flames don’t HAVE to go 0-3, but even if the Flames do lose the final three, the Isles will still need 3 of a possible 6 points to pull past the Flames.

      I don’t think that is likely to occur.

    • EugeneV

      Pipe dream: (like a NFL draft type thing)
      I would try to trade the # 1 to Buff and move down to the #2 and either the right to the conditional NYI first that Buffalo owns or the rights to Buffalos 2015 first rounder.

      So either:

      To Buffalo: #1 overall + ????
      To Calgary: #2 overall, 2014 or 2015 NYI 1st rnd or Buffalo 2015 1st rnd

      Obviously only works if Buff want a specific player.

      I wouldn’t pick a Dman at #1 though if we won the lottery. Go with the center every time, so either Reinhart or Bennett.

  • supra steve

    “Tonight’s game is the last TSN broadcast for awhile.”

    You can say that again…how many of the TSN guys are going to go over to Sportsnet? What’s the over-under?

  • While unlikely, we could still finish 4th.

    I don’t see us beating the Kings tonight, the Jets suck so we can probably win that one, and I think the Canucks will come out with something to prove.

    The Islanders have played well as of late, I wouldn’t rule them out from beating a MTL team who will be resting for the playoffs, along with 2 horrible teams in NJ & BUF.

  • aloudoun

    Im hoping for at least 4 or 5 draft spot.

    Any thoughts about the Flames going after Evander Kane in the off season? Seems to be as good as traded away from Winnipeg.

  • EugeneV

    I was just looking at the 1989 draft and saw that we picked a defenseman named Veli-Pekka Kautonen out of Finland 50th overall. (never played in NHL)

    3 picks later at 53rd Detroit picked some defenseman out of Sweden named Nicklas Lidstrom who some of you MAY have heard of.

    sigh…

  • EugeneV

    Ortio named to AHL all rookie team. I wonder how close Granlund would have been he finished the season.

    Hobey Baker award tomorrow.

    Someone mentioned on another post that Hartely has been rolling four lines or at least he did in the last three road games. Looking at this lineup I expect much the same but it leads me to ponder will he be able to convince himself to do so next year with all potential he will have in the fall; I hope so.

    Canucks name Linden president; it will be interesting to see who they hire as GM and their hockey guy.

  • beloch

    As horrifying as it may be, Gillis is probably now penciled onto the bottom of Burke’s potential GM list. He did oversee several good years for the Canucks, including one trip to the Cup finals (and several first-round choke-outs). However, the core was already there when he arrived. He did assemble a competent supporting cast, but his regime was also marked by some pretty outrageous examples of incompetence. A year ago, the Canucks had two elite starting goal-tenders. Now, they have Eddie Lack. How did they get here from there to here? Bad contracts. Bad trades. Bad blood. You name it. Add bad drafting into the mix and the future is looking a tad bleak for the Canucks.

    I’m against hiring Gillis. Would anyone care to offer a rebuttal and perhaps make me change my mind?

    • mattyc

      Devil’s Advocate: Gillis is forward thinking in some aspects:

      – He is open to maximizing contract value by taking long-term deals etc.

      – He respects analytics, and the canucks were definitely drinking the corsi-sauce acquiring players.

      – Edler, Erhoff, Hamhuis, Roy (was a good bet),

      – Encouraging unique zone start usage that maximized skillsets (Malhotra vs. Sedins)

      Note: these are all reasons I think he doesn’t really mesh with and old school guy like Burke.

      Bottom line though: Gillis isn’t great – but it could be worse…

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Where do you get your information that Gillis is probably pencilled onto Burke’s potential GM list? Do you make this stuff up to get reaction? hahah!

  • Brent G.

    A little off topic but I’m not terribly informed on this so I was hoping someone can clarify something for me …

    I appreciate who Trevor Linden was to the Canucks but has he done anything close to have warranted that position? He has no experience. This wreaks of Edmonton 2.0

    • piscera.infada

      “I appreciate who Trevor Linden was to the Canucks but has he done anything close to have warranted that position? He has no experience. This wreaks of Edmonton 2.0”

      I wouldn’t go that far, but I’d be worried as all hell if I was a Canucks fan with how much power the Aquilini’s seem to be wielding in regard to the running of that team. Sure, they own it, that’s their prerogative, but they seem to have their hands in all aspects of the day-to-day. It kind of reminds me of good ol’ Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys – please, God, let that be what this turns in to.

    • EugeneV

      Are you retarded??? He might go the wrong way and score on the Flame net! No, he would probably miss the net by 12.5 feet, and crash head first into the boards, and blame it on a rut in the ice!!!!! I want the Flames to win too much for that to ever happen!!! Seriuosly!!!

  • BitGeek

    How sweet was that?!! I’m sorry, I know the draft pick is important, but I can’t help but enjoy it when the team wins. The look on Sutter’s face was priceless too!

  • cgyokgn

    All Ramo. We had no business winning this game but it looks like we’ve found our starting goalie for next year. It seems that his injury ended up being a positive thing; since that time he’s been excellent and also figured out the shootout.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    How many times were the Flames victimized by lesser lights in the past? It is so easy to get behind this team.

    Even Ray Ferarro was on the bandwagon tonight. He’s never been kind to the Flames.