FGD: TRAP GAME

It’s the first of back-to-backs for the Flames with Tomorrow’s game against Comeau and Co. in Pittsburgh. Man, that’s gonna be such a great game, I can’t wait to see all those stars play against the Flames. Wow, I wonder if the Flames will be able to skate with them (I’m pretty sure 50% of of d corps cannot btw). Yeah, Pittsburgh is sure gonna be a fun one. 

Wait, who are they playing tonight,,,? Buffalo?! Oh no. 

As the Rt. Hon. Ackbar so presciently observed. This is indeed a trap.

THE FIGHTIN’ FLAMES

Check out Butler on that first goal. Talk about foreshadowing..

There was a few changes in the Flames lineup from the team that dropped Tuesday’s game to Toronto and it seems like lately Hartley likes to scramble his lines close to game-time. That being said, here’s how the roster looks as of this morning on DailyFaceoff.com:

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CGYWIND

The Flames have played two pretty solid games in their last two outings but have lost them both. Most recently, the Flames dropped a 4-1 decision to the Leafs in a game where they certainly deserved better than the scoreline indicated. Matt Stajan is a healthy scratch tonight after he played his first game TWO GAMES back from injury. Not exactly sure why Stajan is being sat but Kristen Odland’s story from this afternoon had Hartley saying that the players shouldn’t be mad when they’re scratched but mad when they play. Not sure that makes a lot of sense but either way, Stajan’s out for tonight.

Earlier this morning, the Flames returned Michael Ferland back to Adirondack after exactly 10 games with the Flames. Overall, I think Ferland is exceptionally close to being a full-time NHLer as near the end of his stint he began to demonstrate his physicality as well as his above average puck skills. I think it’s a safe bet that Ferland will be back in Calgary at some point this season, perhaps as soon as the next injury.

The reason for Ferland’s demotion is the return of Joe Colborne, slotting into the lineup tonight on an intriguing line with Paul Byron and Sean Monahan. It would appear that Granlund’s play at centre has merited Colborne returning, at least temporarily, as a winger. During Colborne’s time as a Flame, he has shown that he can be a pretty effective winger and a lousy centreman so I would hope that Hartley may be abandoning the Colborne experiment at centre very soon. Colborne and Monahan have looked good together for stretches of games this season so it is no surprise to see them on the same line again as well.

Colborne also brings his shootout prowess back to the lineup tonight and you can take a look at some of his shootout success in this video with music that sounds like it’s from a German clothing store:

 

Diaz returns to the lineup tonight, this time for Smid. While I have been a pretty enthusiastic supporter of Diaz playing rather than one of the two disaster twins, Diaz had a pretty horrific game the last time he was in the lineup so perhaps that faith was misplaced. 

I understand it must be tough to be in the pressbox for large stretches and then thrown into game action and he is almost always paired with one of Smid or Engelland when he does play which is no easy task either. However, if Diaz wants a shot at another contract with the Flames or any other NHL team, he will have to start demonstrating that he can out play two of the worst regular dmen in the NHL.

Karri Ramo gets the start in net tonight looking for his ninth win of the season. Ramo is entering tonight’s game with a SV% of .917 and has generally looked quite solid this season. Hiller will start tomorrow against Pittsburgh and the Flames are currently in the enviable position of having two very capable starting goalies that they can put into either spot and feel confident. Brian Boucher didn’t exactly instill the same sort of trust. 

THE ZEMGUS GIRGEN and SONS

Here is Buffalo’s roster thanks to our dear, dear friends at Daily Faceoff:

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As you may or may not know, the Flames will be in the presence of greatness this evening. Yes, it isn’t every game that you get a chance to play against one of the games best and tonight the Flames will be in tough against Latvia’s favourite son, Zemgus Girgenasnnennnesnnsons. I will spare Flames fans the pain and indignity of re-hashing how and where he was drafted because I am not a merchant of misery. However, it is worth noting that Girgensons is having a pretty good season, with 14 points in 24 games. It’s going to be fun to watch him at the all-star game alongside Arturs Irbe. Just kidding, no one watches the all-star game.

The Sabres have some good young defensemen in Zadorov and Ristolainen and some questionable ones well, everywhere else. Tyler Myers is one of the NHL’s greatest mysteries with his name in trade rumours seemingly every week of every season. Josh Gorges will always have a soft spot in my heart for spurning the Leafs but he’s a pretty pedestrian dman, certainly not worthy of a top-pairing. It is a tough one, but I think the Flames may have the better group of six tonight and that is solely based on the fact that Brodano are so mind-blowingly good. 

You may also notice that Cody Hodgson is a healthy scratch tonight, much to the delight of a gaggle of Canucks fans. However, they are stuck with Zach Kassian and I am 46% sure he cannot read.

The Sabres looked like they were on a one-way path to McDavidom earlier this season. Don’t look now but the Sabres are 7-3-0 in their last 10 and three points clear of the Hurricanes and the black holes for 30th overall. Enroth gets the start in net tonight as well for the streaking Sabres who will look to move within three points of the Ottawa Senators. Tough times in the O dot…  

The Sabres are looking good lately and it’s all thanks to Latvia. That’s what I have learned today.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?

“It’s a living” – T.J Brodie

This is a pretty important game for the Flames in the respect that they really, really, need to have it if they are going to continue to hang with the big boys of the Western Conference. The Flames have dropped two-straight in regulation for the first time this season and need to stop the skid now because the schedule gets a lot tougher for the rest of this road trip. 

The Sharks are breathing down the Flames’ neck and tonight the Flames make up their game at hand on them. This is a game the Flames should win and that is something that I think will scare a lot of Flames fans.

The puck drops at 5pm MT on SNET Flames.