– pic via deviantART
The Flames’ recent success – or lack thereof – in Anaheim can be simply
described with one acronym. LOL. Loss on Loss…or Laugh Out Loud, depending on
how annoying you are.
Since January 19th, wait for it, 2004(!!) the Calgary
Flames’ haven’t been able to “put it in the win column” against the
Anaheim Ducks in their home rink, and have been accumulating LOL with each
visit to the city that isn’t Los
Angeles but pretty much is but technically isn’t (I
mean come on, they share a baseball team!).
In fact, the last time the Flames won in Anaheim, the Ducks weren’t even known as the
Ducks, rather as the Mighty Ducks of
Anaheim. Well, even though they haven’t been Mighty for some time now, their
mastery of the Flames at the pond is unparalleled.
For a while now, every meeting between the Ducks and Flames
in Orange County is met with the “Is This The
Game Calgary Snaps The Streak?” articles and then followed with the
“Nope” articles. This is another one of those lead up articles. We’re
hoping for a different follow up, though.
The Team Accumulating LOL
Lines via our friends at DailyFaceoff.
Outside of Devon Setoguchi being swapped for Brandon Bollig,
this is the same group of 12 that shaved years off your life with that
incredible comeback just 3 nights ago against the Devils, and why shouldn’t it
The Devils game wasn’t perfect – far from it – but they
found a way to get it done and in the end, two points is two points.
The center depth still looks like it’s straight from the
AHL, and I suppose it is, but has certainly held its own so far.
Sean Monahan, with each passing day, looks destined for
greatness as he tackles the toughest competition the opposition can muster and
not only keep his head above water, but be productive while doing so. He’ll
likely see a healthy diet of Ryan Getzalf and his accomplices, tonight. Seeing Bouma
get rewarded for his great play with a spot on the Flames’ top unit is just
another example of the “earned not given” mentality. I’d have loved
to see Baertschi get a shot there, but he hasn’t exactly earned it.
Josh Jooris has quickly become Bob Hartley’s second
favourite shutdown man, taking crucial defensive zone faceoffs and being
trusted to play in critical situations at critical times, recently. He’ll
likely be fed a steady diet of Ryan Kesler, tonight, and it’ll be interesting
to see how he fares against one of the NHL’s best two-way centerman.
Getting an extra day of rest should also be beneficial and
ensure fresh legs for a forward group that relies on its speed. Take a good
look at this lineup because according to the radio voice of the Calgary Flames,
Derek Wills, it appears this group is going to be getting healthier soon, and
in rapid succession, so changes are coming
Kris Russell’s foot/ankle continues to give him some trouble
so he may not play tonight, so Rapha Diaz may draw in, in his place. If Russell does
play however, then one of the hottest two defense pairings in the league will be
intact as the Flames attempt to stop accumulating LOL in Anaheim.
Saying Gio and Brodie have been spectacular would even be
bordering on an understatement and we thank the heavens his eye is ok and is
sporting a visor now.
Russell and Wideman have been surprisingly good, and only in
the “clapping screamers from the point” category. They both have been
solid in their own end and both make excellent breakout passes. It’s been
pleasant to see Wideman rebound from his apathetic (or just pathetic) start.
We’re not going to talk about Smid and Engellend.
Also, Jonas Hiller gets the start in net so he’ll get a shot
at beating his former team for a second straight time, and snap the ugliest
losing streak the Flames have had to date. I’m sure he’ll be wired for this
The Team Handing Out
Having already seen them once this year, the Flames are well
aware of what this Ducks team can bring. An excellent blend of youth and
experience, the entire roster is saturated in skill.
Like mentioned before, the Top 6 will likely be seeing a lot
of Monahan and Jooris tonight, but Boudreau holds the advantage of last change
and will likely put the Flames in a number of uncomfortable situations. It’ll
be interesting to see how they cope with that.
Also, former Flame Rene Bourque is likely to make his Ducks
debut, so we’ll get to see how he doesn’t really care in California, too!
The casual fan may look at this defence core and actually
LOL, but don’t be fooled by the relatively unknown names, this is a very good,
young group of blueliners.
Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register was on Sportsnet
960 yesterday talking about just that and how Josh Manson, in particular, has
burst onto the scene and has been establishing himself as a everyday NHLer.
The entire group is extremely mobile and move the puck up
the world beaters at forward real quickly, so the Flames will need to be wary
of their oppositions transition game in this one. They also love shooting the
puck, so the usual black and blue legs will be on display in the Flames locker
Freddy Andersen is expected to start and he’ll be looking
for some revenge from 7 days ago. A motivated Andersen should also be a
concern, as all the young goaltender has done to this point in his career, is
win. He has a 29-7-4 all-time record as an NHLer. Decent.
Like every game this season, the Flames have proven they
have a shot at emerging victorious, regardless of what has happened beforehand,
or even in the first 40 minutes, but they’ll without a doubt be in tough
The Ducks are not only playing in Calgary’s LOL capital, but they haven’t been
playing they’re best hockey of late and squandered a two goal lead a week ago
to this very Flames team. They’ll be motivated to right that wrong and have all
the personnel to do so.
There’s not telling what will result from tonight’s clash in
Orange County, but one thing is for certain:
the Flames will make it entertaining, one way or another. The game goes 8pm MST on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Flames.