FGD #9: Barclays Debut In Brooklyn (5pm MT, SNW)

After last night’s 4-1 loss in Manhattan to the New York Rangers, the Calgary Flames remain in the Empire State – and in New York City – as they cross the East River for their second game in as many nights. This time, the Flames (2-6-0) face off against another tough opponent in the form of the New York Islanders (5-2-1) in their first meeting at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

With just four of a possible 16 points through the first eight games of their season, the Flames absolutely, positively need some points. And if they can’t get points, they absolutely need to have a solid 60 minutes of hockey that they can use as a base to build upon growing forward.

The action gets going just after 5pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Here are your lines from last night, via Daily Faceoff:

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The “big news” is that nine games into the season, we finally see the first start of the campaign for Joni Ortio. In terms of other roster changes, there’s a chance we see Mason Raymond or Jakub Nakladal slot in just to shake things up and give Bob Hartley different options in the back-end of a back-to-back.

The key thing for the Flames? Get up early, and figure out ways to off-set their iffy defensive play at even-strength – such as actually burying their chances and taking advantage of whatever power-play opportunities they get. If nothing else, ideally they can get back to playing a structurally-sound, low-risk hockey game tonight in Brooklyn.

THE ISLANDERS

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Most likely the Flames will be up against Jaroslav Halak this evening.

What can be said about the New York Islanders? They’re deep and they’re young and they’re talented. They can roll three lines of pretty damn strong forwards (their fourth line is where they start to drop off), and their power-play is scary-stacked. And their defensive group is a really nice mix of young studs and wily veterans.

The Islanders may be what the Flames want to be when they grow up. They play a fast, challenging game for opposition defenders. They’re not the most physical team in the league, but they’ll skate opponents into the ground and just wear them down. They’re a team that can be beaten – I’m pretty sure playing a tight-checking style would wear ’em down eventually – but the Flames are going to have to be really good to match them, especially on the back-end of a back-to-back.

WHEN LAST WE MET

The Flames lost twice to the Islanders last season, both by identical 2-1 scores.

All-time, the Flames have played the Islanders 110 times. They’re 44-45-20-1, just a smidge below .500.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary NY Islanders
Wins 2 5
Power Play 14.3% 23.8%
Penalty Kill 80.0% 90.3%
Corsi Close 45.8% 46.3%
Faceoffs 47.0% 53.2%

SUM IT UP

If the Calgary Flames have aspirations of being a playoff team, they need to get points as soon as humanly possible. Sure, the situation isn’t ideal – the second half of a back-to-back on the road against a pretty good opponent in the form of the Islanders. But if they’re going to be waiting for easy opportunities to get two points, they’re going to be waiting a long time.

By hook or crook, they’ve got to start catching up with the rest of the Western Conference.

  • Derzie

    That was painful. This team is broken. One can only look to the additions and subtractions to see that something fundamental has changed in the room. Who is it? Brodie or Hamilton? Bouma or Frolik? Paul Byron? Ortio? Trophies go to the head of Hartley? This is not the same team at all. Going to be a long season. We will pick high, that’s for sure.

  • TRAIN#97

    Wow, this team is incredibly bad. Ortio is clearly not the answer, Ramo is unwanted by the entire league and Hiller….. Well Hiller makes the other two look competent. Brodie should be back soon though…..

  • MontanaMan

    With the exception of Hamilton and Frolik, what the heck has changed in regards to player personnel? It is the same group as last year and a 2-7 record. Make some changes, any changes. I also agree with McRib, play Nakladal, call up Kulak, Hamilton needs a press box visit.

    • TRAIN#97

      I absolutely agree with you. I would rather see some of the young guys and have Dougie sit for a few games. I’ve watched 6 Flames games this year and I’m honestly not sure what I expected out of him, but it sure as heck wasn’t what I’ve been seeing.

      I’d be lying if I said I followed him closely in Boston, but don’t recall long stretches of him being one of the biggest liabilities out there.

      Initially thought maybe a period of acclimation to accommodate a difference between east to west style of play, but after the last 2 games in NY, I’m scratching my head.

  • Rock

    Painful to watch. It might be a matter of me having too high expectations after the team overachieved last year. Progression is not always a straight line. The good thing is that I can distance myself from suffering night in and night out instead of watching the spectacle unfold throughout the year with occasional updates on the George Forman Grill arena (Calgary Next).

  • everton fc

    Honestly, short of calling up a few kids and waiving a few vets, which isn’t going to happen, they simply have to play and be coached through it. Why a team that can’t score leaves guys that might be able to score in the press box is bizarre(Raymond & Nakladal will forver give more offence than Smid/Engelland/Bollig). Engelland was good with Kulak. Hamilton’s been good with no one. Ditto Russell. No one expected this, from these two.

    I’m starting to sour on Backlund, though I find myself wondering how he’d do w/Gaudreau and Hudler. But a realistic look at the roster does have shades of “expansion” on it.

    We’re in a rebuild. Let the rebuild continue. Ortio will figure it out w/more practice reps, me thinks. Hopefully that stops a bit of the bleeding.

    Hopefully.

    • TRAIN#97

      Yes they still are in a rebuild but after making the playoffs last year the problem is that everyone expected them to be contenders this year, especially after they got Hamilton.

  • TRAIN#97

    I was just reading the best stories and worst of the NHL this year. If you take into consideration the contract and the big news around the Hamilton trade, Hamilton’s play might be the biggest single disappointment of the year so far!
    If not , name a player that has underachieved more than Hamilton?