FGD #39: Closing Out 2014 (7:30pm MT, SN One)

The past year has been pretty good to the Calgary Flames, all things considered. The team’s rebuild progressed from its infancy to the point where the Flames played spoiler to playoff teams last season and went on a great run late in the season. Overall, the Flames enter tonight’s game against Edmonton, their final game of 2014, with a 41-35-4 record over the calendar year.

And yes, they still consider themselves to be rebuilding. They probably will until they make the playoffs, whenever that happens.

Tonight’s game is interested on a number of levels. Calgary (20-15-3 on the season) hosts their most bitter historical rival, the Oilers (8-22-7 on the season) for the second time in five days. It’s the annual New Year’s Eve game. Everyone will have the end of the calendar year looming around them. The Flames desperately want to bank some points as they creep towards a playoff spot. The Oilers just want to avoid starting another losing streak as they creep towards relevancy.

The puck drops at 7:30pm MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. It’s the late game of a double-header, following a Toronto/Boston game at 5pm on Sportsnet West. There’s a chance that if the first game runs long, the start of the Flames game could be delayed slightly on Sportsnet West, so beware. Or just stick to Sportsnet One, if you get both.

THE FLAMES

Lines for tonight, via our pals at Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.34.45 PM

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Jonas Hiller makes his 24th start of the season for the Flames. He’s 12-10-2 this season with a 2.29 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and a .934 even-strength save percentage. He’s been on a roll of late, so it makes sense to park Karri Ramo on the bench for another game.

Josh Jooris returns after missing a few with an upper-body injury, and he bumps Mason Raymond to the press box and Joe Colborne to the wing. Both are entirely logical, smart decisions given how well Jooris has played and how poorly Raymond has of late.

Mikael Backlund skated with the main group again and coach Hartley noted he was progressing well. Backlund, Ladislav Smid and Sam Bennett remain on the sidelines.

The Flames are 16-8-3 all-time in New Year’s Eve games, not that it means anything at all.

THE OILERS

Lines, via Daily Faceoff!

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Ben Scrivens starts tonight after back-stopping the Oilers to their SECOND WIN IN THEIR LAST 22 GAMES. It’s been a long year up north. Season-long, he’s got a 6-13-5 record with a 3.10 goals against average, .895 save percentage and .902 even-strength save percentage.

Yikes.

The Oilers have made a few roster changes since we last saw them, adding Derek Roy (via trade from Nashville) and Mark Fraser (off waivers). I don’t hate either addition, as they both provide the Oilers with some depth, though I question if Roy adds the same necessary (and missing) physical aspect to the team that Fraser does.

Edmonton’s blueline is still a chasm of dread, though. I’m not sure if their bad goaltending is a product of bad defensive play or the other way around, but the Oilers give up way too many goals.

ELSEWHERE

Also today, the Adirondack Flames (19-13-2) host the Toronto Marlies (13-15-4) in Glens Falls at 3:30pm MT. The Baby Flames continue to be bolstered by the strong play of goaltender Joni Ortio (15-7-1, 2.59 GAA, .915 SV%), and anchored by their top line of Sven Baertschi (11 points), Bill Arnold (17 points) and Emile Poirier (19 points).

OUTDOOR FUN

Tomorrow, the NHL presents its annual Winter Classic in Washington, DC, between the Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Many current Flames have outdoor experience: Jonas Hiller (2014 Stadium Series), Mark Giordano (2011 Heritage Classic), Dennis Wideman (2010 Winter Classic), Matt Stajan (2011 Heritage Classic), Curtis Glencross (2011 Heritage Classic), Mason Raymond (2014 Winter Classic), Jiri Hudler (2009 Winter Classic), Brandon Bollig (2014 Stadium Series) and Deryk Engelland (2014 Stadium Series) have all played in NHL outdoor games.

Rookies Johnny Gaudreau and Josh Jooris both played in the Frozen Fenway event back when they were in college.

SUM IT UP

It’s round three of the Battle of Alberta tonight! The Calgary Flames can cap off a very strong 2014 calendar year AND cement a win in the 2014-15 edition of the Battle of Alberta with a win tonight.

And the two points will go a long, long way towards helping them achieve their 2015 resolution of making a return to the Stanley Cup playoffs.



  • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

    Really: all those first overall picks for the Oilers and an undrafted player like Yooris ends it?????????!

    Tank for another first overall Edmonton…..

    WW

    • RKD

      That snapshot of McTavish drooling at the WJ game to-nite infuriated me.They should not be in the position to pull off another first overall.In fact they should be kicked out of the 1-5 position lottery altogether.

      They’ve set a whole new presidence for winning by tanking. Tanking is the polar opposite of sport.

  • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

    Oil actually looked solid tonight. Nelson is looking like the coach they actually need. He’s only been the head coach for 2 games but they played a much more structured game.

      • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

        I hope the flames finish 16-22nd like they do every year. Miss the playoffs every year and when they do make the playoffs ( went past the first round once in the last 20 years) they don’t do jack shit. As a Canucks fan I can honestly say the flames are just as lame as the oilers. If you were good you could rip on them but you’ve won one cup and you’ve been an irrelevant franchise since you entered the league.

  • mk

    GFG! While I believe Roy makes the Oilers marginally better, they still have an atrocious defense and ‘tender core (as you say). Close out the year with a win against our northern brethren!

  • SmellOfVictory

    I really expect the oil to come out hard against us. I think they will give us more of a challenge than most of us think. Flames still wins though 4-3

  • cgyokgn

    Our powerplay sucks. I don’t remember the last time we scored a powerplay goal. And when you don’t score on a 5 minute PP, well, something is wrong. Not only does it deflate your team, it gives the opposition a boost. I’m going to go get drunk and celebrate New Years, and pretend we aren’t losing to the Oilers. Go Flames, boo Edmonton, score more goals pls.

  • SmellOfVictory

    So sad to watch Demko play at the World Juniors!

    Not only did we pick a goalie at 34 when we should have picked a D; but we picked the WRONG goalie.

    So sad when BB and BT think they know better than anyone else ; no one had McDonald ranked over Demko, except those 2 idiots.

    WW

  • beloch

    Scrivens faced 39 shots last night. There’s no denying he’s hot, but playing a goalie in back to back games rarely works out well. Still, a tired but hot Scrivens might well be better than Fasth!

    New blood and a victory has the Oilers riding high, so they could easily become a handful if they get the first goal tonight. On the other hand, if the Flames can score early they’ll likely be able to stand back and watch the Oilers implode (again).

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Another day, another win for the Baby Flames over the Toronto Marlies…..Sven Baerschi sets up Billy Arnold for the OT winner! Reinhart and Knight with the other goals!

    GFG!!! The future does indeed look bright!

  • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

    Great game!!! Kudos to the oilers. They looked good tonight but loser points ain’t gonna cut it at this point. These comeback wins are just too exciting to watch. If we make the playoffs I see us going far

  • Burnward

    Went to the game tonight. McEichel ain’t that special in person. This generational talk seems like hyperbole to this guy. Great players, not even close to the best we’ve seen though.

    Eases my mind with the Oilers.