The pre-season schedule for the Calgary Flames finally ends with a second game with the Winnipeg Jets tonight at the Saddledome.
The Flames sat their big guns on Thursday and lost 3-1. They played decently, but weren’t amazing in the second and third periods. Tonight, the Flames dress what’s basically their opening night roster against what’s basically the same Jets roster from Thursday. Want to see a reasonable facsimile of what the Flames are going to be? Tune in tonight.
It’s a 7pm MT start – a rarity for a Saturday game – on TSN3’s Centre Ice feed (Shaw channel 351 and check your local listings for Shaw) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Lines from morning skate:
Gaudreau – Monahan – Hudler
Bouma – Backlund – Frolik
Ferland – Bennett – Jooris
Bollig – Stajan – Jones
Giordano – Hamilton
Russell – Wideman
Kulak – Engelland
Ladislav Smid also skated with team this morning, but Brodie, Colborne and Byron did not. Drew Shore, who cleared waivers, was also not on the ice. Joni Ortio joined the practice group mid-way through.
Two interesting wrinkles: Karri Ramo gets the start and should likely play the full 60 minutes, and Brett Kulak – not Ryan Wilson – gets slotted in on the left side of Deryk Engelland. Hartley called it a “playoff game” for Kulak, but noted that getting his feet wet against the Jets late last season probably helps Kulak with the adjustment.
God, I hope their power-play is better tonight. Of all the things they’ve done this pre-season, their power-play hasn’t really gelled and this is their last tune-up game to get things working before live bullets begin flying on Wednesday. Let’s hope they can get it going.
The Jets had plane issues last night and flew in earlier today after having their morning skate in Winnipeg. Via Brian Munz of TSN 1290, here are projected lines:
Petan – Little – Wheeler
Perreault – Scheifele – Ehlers
Raffl – Burmistrov – Stafford
Thorburn – Copp – Peluso
Enstrom – Myers
Chiarot – Postma
Stuart – Trouba
After Michael Hutchinson went 60 minutes on Thursday, the expectation is we’ll have a full game from Ondrej Pavelec tonight. Aside from no Dustin Byfuglien and no Andrew Ladd, it’s basically the opening night Jets – and a very similar group to the team that the Flames lost to on Thursday.
There’s a trio of Flames-related junior games this evening:
- The Calgary Hitmen (Pavel Karnaukhov) visit the Moose Jaw Warriors.
- The Medicine Hat Tigers (Nick Schneider) visit the Prince Albert Raiders
- The Barrie Colts (Rasmus Andersson and Andrew Mangiapane) host the Kingston Frontenacs.
SUM IT UP
The overly-long pre-season is finally, mercifully over after tonight.
We’ll have the return of meaningful hockey starting on Wednesday.