Just 24 hours after losing a heart-breaker to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Calgary Flames bring their 5-11-1 record to the Verizon Center when they face the Washington Capitals (11-4-0).
The Flames are trying to get some points on this road trip, after losing each of the first two games of the trip. They still have games against Washington and Chicago left on the trip. The good news is that just like the Flames, the Capitals played last night (in a different city) and are flying back to D.C. for the game. The bad news is that the Capitals have been playing pretty well, and the Flames haven’t.
Puck drop is just after 5pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Last night’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Presumably since Karri Ramo started last night, Joni Ortio starts tonight. Of course, Bob Hartley hadn’t made a decision as of last night, so maybe Ramo goes again. If Ramo does play tonight, in the second half of a back-to-back on the road, its basically the white flag being flown on Ortio’s career here. This is the exact situation you’d want to play your back-up in, and they risk burning Ramo out if he’s trotted out there too often. (He’s been good, mind you, but this is the perfect situation to rest him to keep him fresh for Chicago on Sunday.) Anyway, Ramo’s 3-6-0 with a 3.54 goals against average and .888 save percentage in 9 games. Ortio’s 0-2-0 with a 4.27 goals against and .868 save percentage in 4 appearances.
Presumably we see some line shuffling at some point, and perhaps some line-up changes. The Flames are carrying three extra, healthy bodies right now in the form of Deryk Engelland, Brandon Bollig and Mason Raymond. The Flames could definitely use Raymond’s speed and Engelland’s physical presence tonight, but who knows what ends up happening.
Ramo vs Capitals.. Engelland for Smid and Bollig replaces Jooris vs WSH.. #Flames
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) November 13, 2015
Special teams continue to destroy the Flames right now. Their power-play has generated eight goals this season. Their penalty kill has allowed 13 goals. They can’t get the “next goal” that they desperately need on their power-play more often than not, and they frequently give up a back-breaking goal on the PK – case in point, last night’s Tampa Bay game-winner by Steven Stamkos.
Like so many parts of Calgary’s game, their special teams need to be better right now.
Last night’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Since Braden Holtby started last night in Philadelphia, presumably Philipp Grubauer starts tonight (though like with Calgary, Holtby could do both games of this back-to-back). Holtby is 9-4-0 with a 2.01 goals against average and .919 save percentage, while Grubauer is 2-0-0 with a 2.43 goals against and a .900 save percentage.
With how Calgary’s been playing in their own end, the Washington Capitals are a dangerous, dangerous opponent. The Flames have to limit their chances, avoid taking penalties, and hope to heck that Alex Ovechkin and his crew are a bit tuckered out from beating Philadelphia last night.
WHEN LAST WE MET
This is the second of two meetings this season between Calgary and Washington. The Capitals took their first meeting this season decisively by a 6-2 score back on October 20.
If you have TSN2, Boston University (Brandon Hickey) plays Providence College (Mark Jankowski and John Gilmour) at 4pm MT. If you’re in town, the Calgary Hitmen host the Kootenay Ice at 7pm MT. Charlottetown visits Acadie-Bathurst.
And down on the farm, the Stockton Heat try to get back in the win column when they face the San Antonio Rampage beginning at 6:30pm MT.
SUM IT UP
If they weren’t in it already, the Flames have to be in desperation mode tonight – and probably for the remainder of the season, as well. However they need to play to do so, they need wins very, very badly. And perhaps a time machine, so they can go back and win some of the 11 games they’ve already lost.