FGD #10: Brodie Returns (5:30pm MT, SN1)

After nine games of the 2015-16 schedule, the Calgary Flames are in trouble. They’re looking for some rhythm, some rhyme, and to figure out what the heck has happened to their meat-grinder of a game.

Tonight, they get a golden opportunity for a course correction in Ottawa against the Senators. The Flames (2-7-0) haven’t been great, but the Senators (3-3-2) are hardly a world-beater and are on a losing streak. And given their injury-ravaged state, there’s no better time than the present for the Flames to take advantage of a diminished foe.

And thankfully, tonight’s (probably) the long-awaited return of T.J. Brodie to the Flames line-up!

Puck drops just after 5:30pm MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines from the morning skate via Daily Faceoff:

 Joe ColborneSean MonahanJiri Hudler
Johnny GaudreauSam BennettMichael Frolik
Mason RaymondMikael BacklundDavid Jones
Brandon Bollig(DEREK GRANT)Josh Jooris

Mark GiordanoT.J. Brodie
Kris RussellDennis Wideman
Deryk EngellandDougie Hamilton

After Joni Ortio’s loss in Brooklyn, Jonas Hiller starts tonight in Ottawa. It’ll be his sixth start and seventh appearance. He’s 2-3-0 with a 3.52 goals against average, .872 save percentage and .888 even-strength save percentage.

The Flames will get a boost tonight in the form of the return of T.J. Brodie, who is a game-time decision officially! He’s missed the first nine games (and the majority of pre-season) with a broken bone in his hand, but the upside is his cardio should be good and he’s been skating with the team. His return bumps Ladislav Smid to the press box, where he’ll join Jakub Nakladal and Matt Stajan tonight. To make room on the roster, Micheal Ferland gets bumped to the injured reserve (retroactive to last weekend), where he joins Lance Bouma.

Through nine games, what have the Flames done well? The polite answer is “not much with consistency.” The hope is they’ll take tonight as an opportunity to push the pace against a depleted Senators team, wear them down with cycling, skating and some hitting, and then take advantage of whatever odd-man or special teams opportunities they’re afforded. You generate chances and induce penalties by working harder than the other team for 60 minutes. We’ve only really seen that against Detroit so far.

THE SENATORS

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.03.18 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.03.28 PM

Craig Anderson starts for Ottawa. He’s 3-2-1 with a 2.61 goals against average, .918 save percentage and .929 even-strength save percentage. He’s off to a very strong start for the Sens.

Ottawa is presently without Clarke McArthur, Curtis Lazar and Mike Hoffman, which has depleted their forward ranks a bit. Be honest: when you skimmed Ottawa’s lines, you had to run to HockeyDB to find out who a bunch of the players were. Shane Prince? Max McCormack? Ottawa’s stretched a little bit, but they’re still a talented team with a deep defensive group and some really good goaltending. That’s the key: if the Senators can get enough run support, they’re good enough on the back end to squeeze out their opposition.

For the Flames to have success against Ottawa, they’ll need to get to Craig Anderson early and get the Senators feeling uneasy about their defensive schemes. With the way Calgary’s been playing this season, though, that’s easier said than done.

WHEN LAST WE MET

The Flames took three of a possible four points from Ottawa last season. They beat them 4-2 in November at the Saddledome, then lost 5-4 in a shootout in early March in Ottawa.

Overall, the Flames are 17-12-4-2 against Ottawa all-time.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Ottawa
Wins 2 3
Power Play 12.5% 19.2%
Penalty Kill 78.6% 78.8%
Corsi Close 45.6% 50.8%
Faceoffs 47.0% 52.3%

SUM IT UP

The Calgary Flames desperately need wins, by hook or crook. They need to beg, borrow or steal points in the standings. They’re falling behind the pack, and time may be running out.

  • cgyokgn

    Hmm, not the best effort by Monny. Well, gotta give them credit for tying up in the 4th (even though they gave up two goals earlier). I saw a lot of effort even though defensively, there’s still work to be done. Ortio was good too.

  • TRAIN#97

    Ortio stops all 5 shots but you can’t win when Hillier only stops 14/18. Maybe a trade would help?

    Trash away if you like but there is gonna be a trade in Calgary soon whether its defense or goaltending.

    • MontanaMan

      Weak goals are killers for teams especially those as fragile as Calgary. They’re doubling the Sens in shots and your tender can’t come up with a big save. Frustrating.

    • Derzie

      No one wants garbage. Wanting to trade someone at this stage of the season generally means they are useless. Only way is to get garbage coming back and that helps no one.

  • ville de champignons

    Kind of surprised Bennett wasn’t higher in the rotation for the shoot out. A single point is not enough but this team is gonna win some games when the D comes around.

  • RKD

    A totally different team with Brodie, even though they lost they got a point which is more than they were getting in the other games. Finally they score some goals, about time too. Sure nice to see Bennett get his first, he’s working his butt out there without getting rewarded.

    • Derzie

      Yes we need points.

      The math is already getting hard… Crazy how much a bad start hurts. (I’m aware this is not perfect math but it conveys the point)

      If you think the playoff bubble was around 43-45 wins last year.

      As of today we need at least 41 wins in the last 70 games. Yikes. Every game we lose now makes that number more daunting.

      These moral victories are great and all, but this team needs points ASAP. If we lose to Montreal, the Oiler game could virtually be a must win on October 31.

      If we lose to MTL and EDM we’d have to win AT LEAST 41 of our last 68 games which would basically be the rate that the presidents trophy was won at last year. So we’d have to hope that after 12 games this team suddenly becomes THE #1 BEST in the league, just to be in the bubble talk. Ugh.

  • piscera.infada

    That game was a massacre at 5v5. Too bad it didn’t end that way on the scoresheet. This is one of the few games this season where I will call out the goaltending. The colour commentator (don’t know who it was) said it well with something to the effect of: the team’s 2-7 right now, yes there are defensive breakdowns, but you have to save at least one of those. For example, look at some of the save Anderson made. The goalie doesn’t have to be perfect, but they have to be able to make a save a crucial point in the game.

    The Flames outplayed the Senators for long stretches of the game, that game should have never went to overtime. I really hope Bob gives one goalie a chance to run with the ball. Hopefully they got the offense going, got some confidence, and come home ready for a very tough test against the Canadiens.

  • Derzie

    Hartley is doing his level best to hinder this team right now. Things that need to stop immediately: rotating goalies (start Ortio and stick with it), favoring old guys (why is Nakladal sitting & Kulak in Stockton), favoring old tough guys (why are Bollig & Smid starting), using low lights in 3 on 3 (Sam Bennett & JG on the bench and you play Kris Russell and the like?). Let the boys play.

  • Rock

    Saturday night hope it will be toss your blue jersey night in Edmonton now that the flames are scoring. Battle to see who stays in the basement. Desperation was there tonight they played a lot better