FGD #9: Winless Canes Blow Into Town (7pm MT, SN Flames)

After suffering a defeat at the hands of the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning, the Calgary Flames (4-3-1) are still looking for their first home win of the 2014-15 season. They get a golden opportunity tonight as the winless Carolina Hurricanes (0-3-2) are visiting.

The puck drops on the second game of this current five-game homestand at 7pm MT, with the game available for your listening pleasure on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and for viewing on Sportsnet Flames.

THE FLAMES

After a disappointing late-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night, the Flames are looking for more goals. I mean, Karri Ramo was very good yet still didn’t get the Flames the two points because he didn’t get a lot of run support, as they say.

As such, the lines have been shuffled a bit. Lines from morning skate (via Daily Faceoff):

Colborne – Monahan – Hudler
Gaudreau – Backlund – Raymond
Glencross – Stajan – Byron
Bollig – Bouma – Jooris

Giordano – Brodie
Russell – Wideman
Smid – Engelland

Hiller
Ramo

Jonas Hiller gets his turn in the rotation. In addition, Colborne moves to the wing from center (and Bouma moves to center from the wing, it seems). The Glencross line should probably get the tough minutes tonight, though against the Hurricanes, I guess that term is relative.

Setoguchi (illness), McGrattan (healthy), Diaz (healthy) and Jones (lower body) sit, though Bob Hartley indicated today after morning skate that Jones will likely return on this homestand. That means somebody has to head to the farm (or the IR) before then.

THE CANES

Because I loved the Whalers I’ve always had a soft spot for the Carolina Hurricanes, especially after they squashed Edmonton’s Stanley Cup dreams in 2006. But they haven’t been great over the recent past, with a few bottom-end finishes and some struggles. They’re winless this year, and have missed both Staals as well as Jeff Skinner. Skinner’s back in their line-up, but it’s still a thin group.

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Tlusty – Nash – Semin
Skinner – Rask – Lindholm
Terry – McClement – Boychuk
Brown – Sutter – Malone

Sekera – Faulk
Harrison – Gleason
Hainsey – Murphy

Ward
Khudobin

Cam Ward gets the start. He may be the most expensive back-up goalie in the NHL. And that defensive group is pretty thin.

SUM IT UP

One team will pop a goose egg tonight: either Calgary gets its first home win or Carolina gets its first win (of any kind). Otherwise, this is a battle between two scrappy teams that don’t have a lot of star players, but do have a lot of pride and will to win.

And neither group is expected to get many Ws this season, so expect this one to be fairly hotly contested.

  • everton fc

    This 4th line of Bollig/Bouma/Jooris could turn into one of the great surprises of the season.

    I only heard the first two periods on THE FAN. How did the Backlund line look?

  • beloch

    One of the really annoying characteristics of Flames teams from a few years ago was their inability to keep the foot on the gas when they were in the lead. They’d come out, play a great period or two, earn a lead, and then piss it away with poor play. It’s great to see this team put in three solid periods while leading all the way.

    Last year and early this season, another thing that has frustrated me was how absolutely horrendous the fourth line has been. They were typically so bad that they could only be played in the offensive zone. So Backlund, Giordano, Brodie, etc. would put in great shifts taking the play from the Flames end to the opponents end. Then the fourth line would get pushed back to the Flames end in mere seconds and the higher lines would have to start from their own end all over again. One weak line can destroy the hard work the rest of the team puts in. Tonight, the Bollig-Bouma-Jooris line was not a liability at all. They kept the ‘canes hemmed in their own end for more than one shift. I really hope Jooris stays up and McGrattan stays in the press box. A functional fourth line would be a huge boon to the Flames.

    It’s also great to see Colborne and Monahan rewarded. If these guys continue to produce points it will really help fill in the void left by Cammalleri. Gaudreau didn’t get a point tonight, but he was playing through the pain of a strain incurred during his assist against Tampa Bay. He made some smart plays and didn’t look out of place playing beside Backlund. Given time, I think he’s going to be a great possession player.

  • everton fc

    Colborne and Byron are two others who are, thankfully, proving this fan wrong. Both have been brilliant thus far.

    Hartley’s done a good job with this group. He knows how to get them back on the tracks, most nights.

  • everton fc

    Joe Colborne looking like a real player. I’m not expecting him to keep up the 8 pts in 9 games pace. But his 2 points tonight weren’t just throwaway second assists – Monahan looks better with Colborne, and on a shift-to-shift basis Joe’s a presence on the ice.