Okay, you’ve had time to digest the Kevin Poulin acquisition and I know we are all a little fired up about it. I am too. I think it’s definitely safe to say that from here on out, the Flames problems in net are solved and brighter days are ahead. Or perhaps not. Either way, it’s gonna be winter soon and death comes to us all!
On a terrifying note, the Flames better bring their A+ game tonight because, despite their mediocre record to start, the Lightning are very dangerous team. I think we can all agree if the Flames play like they did against Florida, this one might get ugly.
There were some changes from that game against the panthers, let’s check it out after the jump!
THE FIGHTIN’ FLAMES
I vividly remember this game. Back when teams scored goals. LIKE MEN.
Here is a look at the Flames’ roster tonight with a few minor changes from what was largely a hockey-tastrophe against Florida. Big thanks, as always, to Daily Faceoff for just being themselves. Which is great.
Tonight, the Flames are parking Brandon Bollig and Josh Jooris in the press box, which are two reasonable choices as long as two forwards have to sit. I’m a fan of Jooris but frankly I’m not sure what choice Hartley has anymore.
I think you have to play Raymond and hope he can put the puck in the net at some point even though Jooris has proven himself to be a useful bottom-six player throughout this season and last. Basically, there’s just too much dead weight at the moment. Also, I mentioned this on twitter a couple days ago, doesn’t Jooris remind you of Shean Donovan?
Unlike Jiri Hudler, David Jones is off to a pretty good start in his contract season, a fact that may come in handy if the Flames are attempting to fetch something for him in February. I like Jones and I think the Flames do too, but if a team is willing to part with a reasonable asset for him, I don’t think the Flames would hesitate to move him when the time comes. In the meantime, he’ll continue playing with Stajan and Colborne on what should be a reasonably effective 3rd/4th/WhoEvenKnowsAnymore line.
On the back end, Bob Hartley must have read and loved our piece on Deryk Engelland from earlier this morning so much that he decided to play Smid tonight to preserve him for tomorrow night’s game! How thoughtful! A pairing of Smid and Wideman is assembled for tonight in what I can only guess is an attempt to incrementally boost NHL goal scoring.
In net is the much-maligned Karri Ramo. I feel for this guy. Every time it looks like he is starting to turn a corner, he has a stinker of a game. Not that he was solely to blame against Florida but he certainly didn’t win the Flames that game. Tonight, Ramo is going to be facing some pretty damn good shooters from Tampa and I would bet that he’s going to have to be real good if the Flames want a prayer.
THOSE CUP STEALIN’ JERKS
I did not know Rob Ramage was an original Tampa Bay Lightning?! That’s pretty cool I suppose. What is cooler is that amazing guitar lick playing throughout the whole intro. Anyways, here is the Tampa lineup tonight thanks to our buds at Daily Faceoff:
First of all, yikes. That is a ton of skill up front for the Lightning. Even their fourth line, which lists natural centremen and sasquatch man Brian Boyle as a winger, has the ability to skate and score. The Flames cannot get into a run-and-gun style of game tonight, though it feels like I have been saying that for the past 12 seasons in a row.
On defence, the Bolts are pretty stacked too with Stralman and Hedman rivaling any top-pairing in the NHL at the moment. With Coburn and Sustr, the Lightning also have some serious size as well to go with a shooter like Jason Garrison.
In net for the Lightning is Ben Bishop who has boasted a .920 SV% through 13 games this season. Despite the relatively strong save percentage, Bishop is 5-7-1 this season. Man, what the Flames wouldn’t give for .920 goaltending…
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL
Even with all the star-power up front for Tampa, the Lightning haven’t exactly been tearing the cover off the ball to start this season. Shockingly (GET IT?!), the Lightning have struggled to score goals this season, in fact, the offensive Titans known as the Calgary Flames have actually out-scored the Lightning so far this season (yeah, okay, it’s only by one goal but with one fewer game too!).
That being said, the Lightning have been a top-ten team in terms of goals allowed while the Flames sit, you guessed it, dead last in the NHL averaging 3.9 per game. Ouch. Let’s hope that the Flames are not the tonic to the Lightning’s goal scoring struggles so far this season and here’s hoping Ramo can spurn the team that drafted him.
Also, just a helpful hint for all readers, don’t search Flames-Lightning on Youtube unless you have a paper bag, tub of ice cream, and a picture of Oleg Saprykin handy to get you through it. Just don’t. Puck drops at 5:30 tonight on SNET West.