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

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.34.59 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.41.37 PM

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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!!!

    Why do calgary fans rip on the oilers? Like yeah, they are brutal but you guys have made it past the first round once in the last 20 years and have won one cup. I’m a nucks fan and at least I can call a spade a spade. Ever since the flames entered the league they have been pretty irrelevant. Johnny hockey is sick though.

        • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

          You can take your “relevance” and shove it up your pompous a$$. The flames will always be relevant to calgarians and people that can appreciate solid no quit hockey, win or lose. And I’m sorry but if I gotta trash my city to be relevant I’ll gladly shy away from the spotlight till my team wins the cup again. (Which is happening soon, so get your storm shutters ready mo fo cuz we’re taking you out on along the way!!!!!)

          • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

            Jooris is actually the best player on the Oilers …….all those first overall picks showed up by an Undrafted player …..

            Just like Giordano……

            Brodie and Gaudreau were 4th round picks: all are better than your first overall picks!!!!!!

            WW

          • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

            Sorry Robin; I thought you were an Oilers fan.

            I now realize you are a Canucks fan : I don’t get into arguments with fans of teams that have NEVER won the cup…..

            Out.

            WW

          • supra steve

            And that is your problem. You are under the impression that there is this clearly defined “board” to either follow, or to stray from.

            Your board differs from the board of the Flame scouting staff. How the heck could that happen?

            Do they not know about the grate Walter White?

          • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

            it’s funny you say that because we didn’t even have to draft josh jooris. Just signed him out of college. You see we have these things called scouts. It’s how you find awesome young players to take over your team when your vets can’t hack it anymore. Apparently your team has them too, but you’d never know given their horrendous record. The mind meld sisters won’t live forever homey, but I’m sure horvat and shchinkaruk will be there to pick up the slack when they finally croak. I hope so for the sake of your city’s infrastructure. (My granny lives out there)

    • Burnward

      Sorry, when we’re the canucks relevant? When they lost the cup and trashed their city? When mcgratten beat down your team and your psycho coach tried to storm the dressing room? I’m not sure Ryan Kesler or Roberto luongo seemed to think the nucks are too relevant prior to demanding they be traded.

      • Burnward

        When they made this little thing called the “playoffs”. I know you flames fans don’t know what that is. But it’s where you are actually competitive instead of finishing 16th-22nd every year.

  • 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

  • Burnward

    15 comments since 1:30 PM?? Can’t you flames fans read and write? I see Walter White is as annoying here as he is on Oilers Nation. You losers are so focused on making the playoffs you don’t realize that you will never win the cup. With another 1st overall pick we will be setting ourselves up for years of success. In the mean time you guys will make the playoffs but it will be one and done, hit the golf course again and again and again. Hahaha.

    • BurningSensation

      “With another 1st overall pick we will be setting ourselves up for years of success.”

      That’s what you guys said 5 years ago.

      And then again 4 years ago.

      And yet again three years ago.

      And here we are again.

      Edmonton, where failing hardest is equal to ‘winning’.

    • Cool Story, Brodie!!!

      Unfortunately I can’t post on Oiler nation anymore.

      I have just been banned too many times and lost interest.

      There is an interesting parallel process at work with the Oilers:

      1-Oilers rink: the most censored rink in the NHL.

      2-Oilers media: the most censored media in the NHL.

      3-Oilers nation: the most censored blog site in the NHL…….

      Oilers: the worst last 9 years in NHL history. No team has ever done worse.

      WW

  • cgyokgn

    Wow is Hrudey a bitter bitter man guess he must have HATED the days growing up and playing hockey in Edmonton get beat up too much as a Islander and a King,Enjoy Calgary Kelly you deserve each other

  • 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).

  • 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

  • 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

    • 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!!!

    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

  • RKD

    Glad Jooris is back in the lineup, hope Raymond responds to being sat like Wideman and Gaudreau did. He needs to get back to playing the way he was at the start of the year. Since he’s come back, he’s just going through the motions. You have to earn your spot on the team, regardless if you are a rookie or a veteran 30 year old player with term left on your deal.

  • 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.

  • 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!