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