FGD #12: Halloween Howler

It’s Halloween and the Calgary Flames hit the ice for their sixth home game and an encounter they hope will be anything but scary. On their Road Trip of Doom (on which they went 4-2-0), the locals managed to beat Nashville – a good team – on Nashville’s home ice via a great 60-minute effort and some timely stops from their goaltender.

Tonight, they hope to do the same against a Predators club (6-1-2) that’s been playing extremely well of late and has just a single regulation loss. And is probably still made about one of the few blemishes on their record being from the boys in red.

Puck drops at 7pm MT (as per tradition on weekdays) and is on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

You may need a program to keep track of all the movement in and out of the Flames line-up tonight. The locals (5-4-2) have made it through their first 11 games a shade over the .500 mark, despite having just awful possession numbers. That luck will be tested tonight.

Lines, via our main pals at Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.27.54 AM

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Jonas Hiller gets the start in net – his seventh this season and second in a row – while Karri Ramo backs him up.

Lots of changes since the Montreal game. Four bodies in (Michael Ferland, Markus Granlund, Brian McGrattan and Devin Setoguchi), four bodies out (Joe Colborne, Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund and Josh Jooris). Ferland and Granlund are making their season debuts – Ferland his NHL bow – while Setoguchi plays his first game since October 19 and McGrattan since October 17.

Coach Hartley continues his “pairs” in terms of forward assignments: Bollig stays with Bouma, Gaudreau stays with Byron and Ferland sticks with his AHL running mate Granlund for his first NHL game. The big question here is “Who gets the tough minutes?” It’s probably the Monahan line, which will be a very interesting test for the 20-year-old center.

Speaking of centers, career face-offs taken among Calgary’s centers tonight: Monahan (1223), Byron (142), Bouma (119) and Granlund (54). If there’s a storyline to follow tonight, watch to see if this group gets behind the eight-ball in terms of their face-off totals.

THE PREDATORS

So, Nashville’s pretty good. They’re embarking on the second game of a western road swing and are fresh off beating Edmonton like a drum (4-1) on Wednesday night.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.35.07 AM

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Presumably Pekka RInne gets the start, with Carter Hutton backing up.

If there’s one thing Nashville has, it’s depth. They can roll four lines and three defensive pairings quite effectively, and when you can do that, it gives you the chance to really ride your key players when it’s crunch time. Unfortunately that depth hasn’t translated into a lot of offensive depth – only 10 guys have goals through 9 games, compared to Calgary getting goals from 13 different sources in 11 – but with their possession numbers as good as they are (Corsi Close north of 51%), these guys are bound to get some bounces sooner or later.

And heck, they have lost once in regulation through their first nine games. That’s very impressive. Presuming this group can continue to gel and implement Peter Laviolette’s systems, they’ll only get more dangerous as the season wears on.

SUM IT UP

Tonight’s the first time the Calgary Flames are meeting up with a team they’ve already played this season – for the curious, it’ll happen in each of their next four games. They managed to beat Nashville last time out based on a complete 60-minute game, some key goaltending and some bounces.

With an injury-depleted line-up – especially at center – they’ll need a lot of hard work and a few bounces to have that happen again tonight.

But hey, crazy things tend to happen on Halloween – and Hiller’s starting – so I wouldn’t rule it out.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    So, a depleted roster, the Flames answered. It begs the question: What would happen to the Oilers if they lost three centers in one game?

    Oiler depth?

    Now that’s funny.

  • beloch

    That elbow on Ferland was just ugly to watch. Here’s hoping he’s okay! He just got up here damnit!

    As for the game… The Flames played better than anyone had a reason to expect. They weren’t dominant (the fancy stats are actually a bit ugly), but the Preds aren’t exactly pushovers. Monahan had a great game and, in addition to potting a goal, was one of the best possession forwards tonight. Gaudreau just seems to get better every game. Another 2 points on the way to the Calder!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    McGratton=pouzie

    Bollig=pouzie

    Engel land=pouzie

    This game was s disgrace.

    I would rather lose by 4 goals than send the message that we are soft.

    The problem is that Hartley will do anything for a win to save his job ; while we need to tank.

    WW

    • SavardianSpinorama

      Oh my gawd, so you are “one with Ryan Lambert” and his Kreskin glasses?

      We “need” to tank?

      That’s what Oilers’ fans thought, also.

      Where did that get them?

      They haven’t got a center (centre!!!!!!!!!!!) nor a defenseman to save their lives.

      Thanks Walter, if you are going to complain the Flames need to tank while at the same time complaining about poor puck possession players like Grats, you’re a hypocrite.

      If you want the Flames to tank, don’t complain about, “truculence.” Just shut up and deal with it.

    • mk

      While my mind tells me that a high draft pick is very useful for acquiring top talent, I just can’t cheer for a team to lose. I will always be happy for a Flames win and sad at their losses. GFG!

      Perpetual suckage does not guarantee later success. At some point, teams have to build instead of rebuilding.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    What an awesome game. Gotta love how they work hard. I can’t believe all this tanking talk. Learning how to win is invaluable. The flames are advancing their prospects WHILE winning. If you’re plan is to tank for the next big superstar in the draft you’ll always be losing. At what point do you stop playing for the draft and start playing for the cup. I’d rather always be playing for the Stan Lee cup.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    I have come to the conclusion that neither WW nor Lambert have ever played hockey.

    Hockey players don’t think it’s “okay to lose.”

    Loser dorks think it’s okay to lose.

    Did you play hockey Walter?

    If so, what would your response have been if a coach patted you on the head and said. “Hey son, it’s okay if you don’t try your hardest and the other team makes you look like a fool and laughs at you because we are trying to get a better player who will replace you next year? Thanks, Walt, you’re a real trooper.”

    • piscera.infada

      Sorry, not “hockey players”. “Athletes”. “Successful humans”.

      I agree, The whole “tanking” argument is anti-progress on every conceivable level. If it occurs (out of necessity), you have to address it, so it doesn’t happen again. Being “okay” with anything contra-success however, isn’t natural (whatever the “reward” is at the end).

      • SavardianSpinorama

        Yes, you are right.

        To that, I will reply, I don’t care if the Flames finish last, providing the teams’ management isn’t setting things up to lose, like Buffalo or Carolina has.

        I don’t know why so many people are on Burke’s and Treliving’s case. I think they’ve done a decent (though hardly perfect) job. Feaster got us a whole lot of question marks for Iginla and Bouwmeester. Last I looked, anyone the team got back in those trades isn’t even close to being a roster player here.

        But, so what?

        Let’s move on, deal with what we have, and cheer the team on. While I think the Oilers have some great pieces and some great talent, hands-down the Flames are an easier team to cheer for and they are a better team, regardless of where these teams end up in the standngs at the end of the year. For what it’s worth, if the Oilers finish behind Calgary again this year, that’s not on Bob Hartley (as per WW). It’s on Kevin Lowe.

        • Kevin R

          I gotta say, by God you are right. & it kind of pppppp’s me right off that you trade a power forward, consistent 30 goals & a top 2 D man & you have absolutely nothing to show in your lineup going into the 2nd season after the trade. I love some of the things Feaster has done for this organization but I am so thankful he is not there anymore. We can only pray that Porrier & Klimchuk make impacts into our lineup & level the optics of these trades.

          WW please stop on this trash Mcgrats & Bollig & Bouma, quite frankly I like how Bouma & Bollig have played this year & what they bring to the team. You ask what these “goons” bring to the team. Well they are giving a young rebuilding team space for their up & coming skilled players room to play & we have a pretty decent record & tied with the “LA Kings & San Jose Sharks going into November” McGratts hasn’t played much so really, how are we even having him in this convo. Your argument is contradictory because you do say you want to tank & the players that in your eyes will get the job done you want jettisoned out. I don’t understand your thinking here. Sorry buddy, but you do provide a comic relief & entertainment value to this site, similar to Lamberts “Art of War”mission to troll from within to generate discussion & reaction & posts. Keep making me smile my friend.

          P.s. Check out other game hi lights & you will see cheap shots & mega injuries on other teams & we haven’t seen any Death Wish retribution from players of their teams either.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    The Flames beat Nashville on the 31st.The Oilers had Halloween off.Players had the opportunity to dress up and go door to door.
    Most of the Oilers had a wonderful time!

    Those who bought hockey uniforms were well received.
    The players hoped that pretending to be a real player on Halloween would be benifical for the real thing?

    This will make the Oilers a “scary” club.
    At least until Christmas!

  • SavardianSpinorama

    Apparently the Oilers are superior to the Flames!

    Isn’t it strange how the Flames manage to compete?

    The Oilers are superior in giving excuse talks after most games.

    This ‘Superiority’ will get better.

    Excuse Perfection is an Art!

    • RedMan

      You gotta love the Oiler’s Nation survey question which is in itself such an indication of their universal insecurity:

      “…Having a better team than Calgary but still being below them in the standings.”

      Such delusions – the Flames have bested them for so many years that it’s funny, but in their minds, they are still better even though they finish below then every year, and have a horrendous record against their arch-rival.