The thing I like about the new Sportsnet TV deal is because of the rights agreements, we have precious few games this season at weird and wacky times. However, today is an exception.
I say “today” because the Flames visit the Florida Panthers at 1pm MT this afternoon. It’s on Sportsnet West (and Sportsnet 960 The Fan), as this game isn’t part of the fancy national package. For a game featuring last season’s #27 and #30 teams in the NHL, I can’t say I disagree with the logic.
The Flames (8-5-2) are off one of the rare occasions where out-working the opposition (in Tampa Bay) didn’t allow them to overcome the talent disparity. But the team worked hard and had a solid 60 minutes, they just got out-played by a deeper, better team.
An effort like they had on Thursday against the Florida Panthers (4-3-4) will probably result in another two points for the visitors. (And since it’s in Florida, there’s probably going to be dozens of people in the arena. Dozens!)
Lines, via our chums at Daily Faceoff (and via our traveling media pals in Sunrise, FL):
The BIG NEWS is that Karri Ramo has been handed the proverbial goaltending ball. He’s been off for two weeks while Jonas Hiller has been the go-to guy, but now he’s back in-between the pipes. And to be honest, Florida and Carolina are two great opponents for him to face first to get his mojo back.
Ladislav Smid slots back in for Raphael Diaz after missing a game nursing some bumps and bruises. Diaz and Brian McGrattan are your healthy scratches, while (deep breath) Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Michael Ferland, Joe Colborne, Mason Raymond and Matt Stajan are on the injured list.
Lines via Daily Faceoff!
Aaron Ekblad, he of “Play bad for Ekblad” fame, anchors a defensive group that’s beginning to resemble that of an NHL team. The forward group also has some interesting names for prospect honks, including Huberdeau, Barkov and Trocheck.
The Panthers have exceeded expectations this year, mostly because everyone – as with the Flames – expected them to be dirt-worst. But the Panthers have trouble scoring and haven’t gotten an offensive push from any group like Calgary has. To be blunt, the Panthers are Calgary, except with no Giordano and Brodie to anchor them.
Goaltending? About the same. Roberto Luongo is off tonight, while Al Montoya gets the start (per Roger Millions). David Bolland and Brandon Pirri remain out of the line-up.
SUM IT UP
It’s afternoon hockey, which just feels strange. But at least once the game’s over, you still have the entire night to do stuff.
And for the Flames, an afternoon game against these opponents is an excellent chance to get back to their winning ways.