Yeah, you were expecting hockey weren’t ya? Well, we have diverse tastes here at FN
The Devils are in town so buckle up guys, we are in for an old fashioned 1-2-2 showdown. I swear, the Devils are a time-capsule of a team. The players may change, the Niedermayers come and go, but this team is still the ’94 Devils. It’s eerie.
The Flames have an excellent opportunity to go 4-1 on this homestand, finishing the five game stretch tonight against the New Jersey Devils. The visitors are fresh from a 2-0 win-by-submission of our hapless provincial rivals and enter this game with a record of 9-9-2 (of course they are .500).
There are quite a few interesting storylines tonight with the season debut of Corban Knight, the return of Mike Cammalleri, and the fact that the Devils lineup is guaranteed to make you say “huh. so that’s where he ended up!” Read all about it after the jump
THE FIGHTIN’ FLAMES
Wow, that roster feels like a very, very long time ago doesn’t it? Who could forget that dominant line of Kotalik, Langkow, and Higgins? Here is the roster for tonight thanks to our friends at DailyFaceoff.com
Tonight marks the 2014-15 debut of Corban Knight after he was recalled yesterday at the expense of Max Reinhart. I didn’t think Reinhart played particularly badly but he didn’t exactly force the coaching staff’s hand into keeping him up either. Knight is playing on a line with Ferland (who has looked very strong in his first couple games in the NHL) and Bollig (who is well, Bollig). Knight has a real opportunity here to show that he can be a reliable bottom-sixer and he’s coming off of some very strong play in the AHL. Should be interesting to see how he does.
There is some uncertainty about whether it will be Baertschi or Setoguchi on the wing with Jooris and Bouma tonight as apparently Hartley was ambivalent about starting Sven in the morning skate. It’s no mystery as to who is the preferred option for the vast majority of Flames fans though Sven has had some pretty serious slip-ups in the past couple games. However, I cannot imagine what Setoguchi offers the Flames at this point above Baertschi in either zone so here’s hoping Sven continues to see ice time and makes the most of it.
Kris Russell is back in the lineup tonight after missing some action with a lower-body injury. This means that tonight we will once again be familiarized with the house of horrors that is the Smid-Engelland pairing. Those two together are frighteningly horrendous but I am not exactly breaking any news here.
On a brighter note, Dennis Wideman is the greatest scorer since Paul Coffey and you heard it here first FN faithful. I have known it all along. Never doubted him for a second.
Karri Ramo gets the start in net tonight and looked real solid in his last outing against Ottawa. It looks like Hartley is going back to the tandem for the next little while, which I think is a wise decision as Jonas Hiller has, predictably, started to return to mortality numbers-wise over his last few starts.
Here is the Devils’ lineup, again courtesy of our brosefs at DailyFaceoff.com
I don’t think there is any secret to the type of game that New Jersey likes to play. Anyone who has watched this team play since the mid-90s knows what to expect, a defensively responsible, bore-you-into-submission 2-1 victory type of team. The Devils played this way last night against the Oilers and simply waited for a particularly blatant turnover and cashed in, twice.
I realize now that because of all this preamble about how defensively responsible and well, boring, New Jersey is that tonight will be 7-6 with two line-brawls.
Tonight marks the return of Mike Cammalleri to the Dome after signing with the Devils in the offseason as a free-agent. Cammalleri is playing on a pretty good top line with Zajac and the unicorn blood hoarding Jaromir Jagr.
More importantly, are we in for RUSSELL V. CAMMALLERI II?!?!? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW!
Up front, the Devils are the very essence of a B- NHL lineup (though I should be mindful of glass houses when you consider the roster the Flames have been icing recently). There are a lot of spare parts like Havlat, Ruutu, and Bernier among their forwards and even just looking at the lineup makes you want to yawn.
However, the Devils quietly have one of the best young defensive corps in the NHL, headlined by Gelinas and Severson. Adam Larsson has struggled to find his game at the NHL level but if he ever lives up to his draft stock, the Devils could be a force to be reckoned with on the back end.
Scott Clemmensen gets the start tonight for the first time in approximately 71 months. Clemmensen is, at his most essential, in his very marrow, an NHL backup goalie. If he was to be boiled into broth, he would be the second best broth you tasted that day…okay that one didn’t work very well but I think you get the point.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?
The Flames lost a tight game to the Hawks in their last outing and haven’t lost back to back games in regulation this season. There aren’t any easy games for the Flames this year but I would posit that this game is certainly winnable.
The Devils played last night and the Flames are at home, plus it will be the backup goalie. If the Flames are serious about making some noise this season, then this game is one they are going to need.
Puck drops at 8pm MT on HNIC