(Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports)
The Calgary Flames have had a couple days of introspection after getting stomped by the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. Now, after finally ending the three-goalie experiment and shuffling around their line-up, the bring their 1-5-0 record back into action against the Detroit Red Wings (3-3-0), hoping to finally get a win at home.
At this point, they’d probably just settle for a consistent 60 minute effort. The puck drops tonight at 7pm MT on Sportsnet One (I believe with the regional crew of Ball and Hrudey) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Here are your updated projected lines for tonight via Daily Faceoff:
Jonas Hiller will make his fourth start of the season. He’s 1-2-0 thus far and generally hasn’t been terrible, but he also hasn’t stolen any games for the Flames either. He’ll be debuting a brand-new mask tonight, by the by. He’ll be backed-up by Joni Ortio, dressing for the first time all season. Your healthy scratches look to be the newly-recalled Jakub Nakladal and one of Brandon Bollig and Mason Raymond. Still on the injured list are T.J. Brodie and Lance Bouma.
After not changing much for the first several games of the season and getting poor results, the Flames have basically changed everything. That said, the forward lines look pretty strong – including a skilled and speedy top six – but that defensive group looks wonky, as I can’t tell you which is the top pairing. That said, take these lines with a grain of salt, as Bob Hartley has been known to hit shuffle mid-game if things aren’t working. It appears that the Monahan/Gaudreau/Hudler grouping will be reunited tonight, but it’s unclear if that’s to start or at some future point.
The most crucial thing? The Flames need to get pucks on the net, especially on the power-play. And to do that, they really need to get better (in a hurry) at gaining the zone, setting up their system, and getting some offense going.
Keep an eye on Johnny Gaudreau. When he gets his game going, the whole team seems to spark. Despite the Flames’ poor start, Gaudreau continues to rack up points – he’s got a goal and six assists through six games.
THE RED WINGS
Updated projected lines for the visitors via Daily Faceoff:
Jimmy Howard starts for the Red Wings, as he’s been alternating starts with young Petr Mrazek. The Red Wings are a pretty damn good young team, and they’ve stayed good and young by regularly rotating bodies in from their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. As such, they don’t need to take any big swings via free agency, and their team isn’t as prone to awful market luck as others might be. And consider that they’re missing Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, yet they still aren’t falling apart. And they’ll be without Brad Richards tonight, as well.
Keep an eye on Dylan Larkin, Detroit’s first rounder back in 2014. He’s young (barely 19), and he’s a point-per-game player. Yet another gem found by the Red Wings. He a dangerous player with some dangerous linemates.
WHEN LAST WE MET
The Flames and the Red Wings split their two meetings last season. The Wings beat Calgary 3-2 back in January, while the Flames thumped them 5-2 in March en route to a playoff spot.
All-time, the Flames are 67-66-16-5 against Detroit.
HOME ICE HERO
Every rink has a person whose hard work and selflessness keeps things going smoothly. Who’s yours? Nominate your Home Ice Hero
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SUM IT UP
The Flames are doing their best to remove distractions – particularly that gnarly three goalie debacle. Now things are hopefully getting settled down, and hopefully the Flames can respond to their first six (uneven) games with one more resembling the hard work, determination and structure we saw last season.