FGD #61: The Devil You Know (5:30pm MT, SN West)

After a loss last night in the Big Apple, the Calgary Flames have trekked across the Hudson River into Newark, New Jersey, as they’ll face the New Jersey Devils tonight.

The Flames? They’re hoping to get back into a playoff spot with a win. The Devils? With some shoddy play by the Bruins of late – including blowing a 3-0 lead on the road to some Canadian team a few games back – the Devils have clawed back into a stone’s throw of the playoffs. It’s a battle of two teams desperate for playoff contention tonight at the Prudential Center!

The puck drops at 5:30pm MT and you can catch all the action on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Last night’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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Given that Karri Ramo started and lost last night, despite playing really well, you might expect we get Jonas Hiller in net tonight. But Ramo’s strong play is being rewarded – particularly that save on J.T. Miller, wowzers – and he gets another start tonight in Jersey.

Beyond that, the rosters aren’t changing. Both Matt Stajan and Mason Raymond are back in Calgary for the impending births of their respective children with their respective wives, so the only extra bodies Calgary is carrying are Corey Potter and Brandon Bollig. Bollig could slot in, but I think both Michael Ferland and Emile Poirier did enough to warrant another game. Apparently the coaching staff did, too.

The Flames really need to do more to generate chances and hopefully they can get a penalty call or two going their way, too. They played a dump and chase game for two periods last night, then got down a goal, and then didn’t make any adjustments. On the back end of a back-to-back against an underrated Devils team, they’ll need to be more responsive. Going into Long Island on Friday with zero points for the trip would be pretty close to a disaster.

THE DEVILS

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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I would suspect that Corey Schneider starts this evening. The Devils are basically the little engine that could of the NHL this season. They got off to a rough start and toiled in the bottom of the standings for awhile, but they’ve kept with it, didn’t make any panic moves, and now they’re creeping closer and closer to a playoff spot. Granted, i doubt they make it, but they’ve managed to claw their way back to respectability.

The Devils are a team with a strange construction, though. Everyone is either on the wrong side of 30, or pretty damn young. They don’t have a lot of bodies in that 25-30 age group, nor does it seem to be a big issue for their success. Plus, they have Jaromir Jagr, who is ageless and fantastic.

They’re a tough test for the Flames, and a completely different kind of challenge.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary New Jersey
Wins 32 25
Power Play 17.5% (20th) 19.5% (9th)
Penalty Kill 80.3% (21st) 79.8% (22nd)
Corsi 44.6% (28th) 47.2% (25th)
Corsi Close 45.8% (28th) 47.8% (23rd)
Faceoffs 47.9% (26th) 47.7% (27th)
PDO 101.4 (4th) 100.5 (12th)

THE DRIVE TO 95

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This is the only game this evening that impacts the playoff race. The Flames need 27 points in the remaining 22 games to hit 95 points. A win tonight vaults Calgary into the second wild-card spot, temporarily displacing the Wild (who would gain a game in hand).

SUM IT UP

Let’s not dress it up: The Flames have lost three in a row. They need a win to stay in the playoff race.

  • everton fc

    Did Gio get his bell rung? I didn’t see the game past the beginning of the 2nd. What happened?

    Look back at my first post on this thread – first one. I was hoping Glencross would score the game-winner for his swan song here. He did a Babe Ruth for me, hey?! Good for him.

    Felrand with 6 hits. Did he look good? How about Poirier??

    Ramo with superb back-to-back performances. He’s on a roll. I say ride him. Perhaps he’s re-signed? Perhaps he has a future here?? Love the fact we have so many tough decisions.

    Granlund seems horrific on face-offs. Monahan on pace for 30 goals. Who says we’re out of the playoff race! These are the type of wins team get when they are for real. And we are for real.

  • everton fc

    As for Gio… Not sure how you fill that hole. Brutal. But I bet the keep winning. I just have this feeling. Brodie will have to step up and lead.

    Maybe we move Raymond and Stajan and Glencross to backfill our defence?? I hope so. Who doesn’t??

    • prendrefeu

      Kids did alright. Avg’d 10 min icetime each.

      Poirier looked slightly better than previous game, but no shots. He’s still getting accustomed to the new situation it looks like, but he seemed to be getting back defensively a bit more than before. Also 2 takeaways, no giveaways, which is good, but no shots either. Passes were on target.

  • everton fc

    So did he get hit? Head injury?? Concussion??? I didn’t see that incident.

    Ferland seems like he may be ready to push Bollig to the press box. He’s quite an exciting prospect. Even when Stajan and Raymond come back (unless they are moved), why send Ferland back?

  • everton fc

    So if he can’t go next game:

    Brodie/Russell
    Wideman/Wotherpsoon? Potter?? Diaz???
    Engelland/Diaz? Potter?? Wotherspoon???

    Scary-thin on the backend. A trade for a defenceman seems imminent.

    • Rockmorton65

      What’s worse is that this has been a potential crippling situation for the last 60 odd games. I can’t believe that Treliving has been fine with a contingency plan of Diaz/Potter. Yikes.

      If there is no solid young defenceman heading our way in the next 6 days I will be furious

  • RKD

    Gio left the third period with an undisclosed injury, he did not return and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. Hope it isn’t anything serious, if we lose him that would seal our playoff fate.

  • Burnward

    Gioverine will be fine. (All the fingers crossed) Big effort in this one!!

    Interesting that they are at such a defined tier, seemingly, at the moment. These guys are in the midst of good and really good. Fun to watch, regardless. They best the teams they should, play those above them close.

    There’s no bull with this crew either. Defined roles, straight ahead. Just glad this is my team, no matter how the year ends.

    Feeling great tonight, fuelled by a few extra beers perhaps, but…that just helps the tongue loosen

    Oh, and Bennett returns in style to introduce us to what having a legit top prospect feels like.

    These are good times. Been too long coming, but this is the season that all of us have been waiting for.

    Playoffs or not, I gots hope. Feels damn good.

      • Burnward

        Cheers! Been an amazing year regardless of how she ends. I’m all in for this one, because I miss it.

        Just so proud of these kids (and Gio, Wides, Stajan, Jones) for giving us all they have. It’s all a guy can ask.

        I propped your prop of my comment. Is that against protocol?