FGD 24: The city of brotherly love (5:30pm MT, SN West)


USATSI_9149975
(Eric Hartline / USA Today Sports)

We love HOME games; have Liquor Depot deliver in under an hour. Click, pick, sit back and watch the game.

Before the Calgary Flames left for their six game mega-trip, I had my doubts. I thought they would win three games, perhaps. With four games down, they’ve won three of them and they actually seem like they have momentum as they had into the final two games (on two consecutive nights, in two different states) of this trip. The Flames face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, a team that has the same number of points as they do. It’s a winnable game if they play the way they’ve played on this trip so far.

It’s a 5:30 p.m. MT start on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan! We know the Grey Cup is on at basically the exact same time. We’ll have a recap for you later tonight, so if you happen to only have one screen to watch the Stampeders on, we’ve got you covered.

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Matthew TkachukMikael BacklundMichael Frolik

Kris VersteegSean MonahanTroy Brouwer

Sam BennettMatt StajanAlex Chiasson
Micheal FerlandFreddie HamiltonGarnet Hathaway

Mark GiordanoDougie Hamilton

T.J. BrodieDennis Wideman
Brett KulakDeryk Engelland

Coming off his seventh win of the season, Chad Johnson makes his 12th start of this campaign – tying him with Brian Elliott for the most starts. Johnson is 7-3-1 with a 1.98 goals against average and .928 save percentage. He’s been good, is the long and the short of it.

Here’s the deal with the forwards for tonight: Kris Versteeg’s back in tonight. If nothing else changes, that means that Hunter Shinkaruk, Mark Jankowski and Jyrki Jokipakka are the healthy scratches for tonight. Since it’s a back-to-back situation, there’s a non-trivial chance that all three could play either tonight or against the Islanders tomorrow night. When asked this morning, Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan wouldn’t say whether Jankowski would play tonight or not, indicating that (a) he knows but doesn’t want to say or (b) he doesn’t know. There’s no morning skate today due to a ’76ers game at the same arena this afternoon, so all we can do is guess until the line-ups are finalized…but there’s a fairly decent chance that Jankowski ends up playing tonight or tomorrow (because otherwise there’s no point in plucking him from the AHL).

The Flames have defended well enough over the past several games. Their special teams have been actually pretty decent, particularly the penalty kill. Their goaltending has been rock-solid. They have a good shot at winning tonight.

THE FLYERS

Lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:

Brayden SchennClaude GirouxJakub Voracek
Travis KonecnyNick CousinsWayne Simmonds
Michael RafflPierre-Édouard BellemareMatt Read
Chris VandeVeldeScott LaughtonDale Weise

Andrew MacDonaldShayne Gostisbehere
Ivan ProvorovMark Streit
Michael Del ZottoRadko Gudas

Anthony Stolarz makes his NHL debut tonight. He was drafted in 2012, 23 spots after Jankowski, and has been almost-debuting for the past couple of seasons with the Flyers. He’s been good in the OHL and AHL thus far, we’ll see how he does tonight.

The Flyers have all kinds of interesting characters, including former Brandon Wheat Kings standout Ivan Provorov, former OHL star Travis Konecny, and the incomparable Shayne Gostisbehere. Remember Dale Weise? He had a hat trick against the Flames last season when he was with the Canadiens.

The Flyers haven’t been a world-beater this season and have struggled with consistency, but they’re not an easy out. They’re big, they’re fast, they’re young and they have a bunch of talented players on their roster. The Flames will need to play a smart game to grind out some points.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES FLYERS
Wins 10 9
Points 21 21
Power Play 9.3% 25.7%
Penalty Kill 75.3% 80.9%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 49.9% 52.0%

HISTORY LESSON

This round 115 in the never-ending battle between the Flames and the Flyers. The Flames have a 45-56-14 record. Last year, the two clubs split their two meetings. They’ll meet again in Calgary in mid-February.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Some Flyers follows for y’all tonight:

SUM IT UP

The Flames can guarantee that they had home with a winning record on this mega-trip with a victory tonight. Better yet, they can creep to just one game below the .500 mark (with a chance to even the ledger against the Islanders on Monday). If they play the way they’ve played throughout much of this trip, they have a decent shot at it.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    These Line combo’s are just a guess at best! Versteeg is IN and Janko will be a game time decision… Any Other guesses as to what the flames lines might look like? Pls Share!

    • Baalzamon

      I’d put Janko in in place of Hamilton. Just to see what would happen.

      Also, a fourth line of Ferland – Jankowski – Hathaway (assuming Ferland moves down to make space for Versteeg)?? That would be something.

      • Locker Room Talk

        I would definitely like to see Jankowski play tonight, and I think he’d get along great with Ferland. We like talking about pairs around here, right? It would be awesome if Ferly and Jank ended up having good chemistry.

  • piscera.infada

    I’d just like to say for the record: Go Stamps!!

    I know this is a hockey blog, and there’s a lot of general apathy towards the Stamps (and justifiably even more towards the CFL), but I think the city needs to take a moment to acknowledge how truly dominant that team has been this year. Finish it boys.

  • MontanaMan

    Games like this Johnson looks like a backup goalie and Kulak looks like an AHLer. Having said that, the rest of the team does as well. Bad weekend for Calgary teams…..

  • Tundradog

    I have bit my tongue for a few days as the Flames have won the last 2 on the road despite having horrible possession numbers – you know – the reason GG was hired and BH fired.

    Johnson steals 2 games, although they did have some solid moments against Boston earlier on.

    PP gets lucky against Columbus when, after a horrible zone entry, and a bad giveaway in the CBJ zone, Wideman makes a desperate poke check, preventing a 3 on 1 the other way. He would have been caught so out of place if CBJ had just tapped it out of their own zone. Leads to a rare PP goal, but a real good example of how to screw up a PP.

    Watching the games has told me that GG and the systems he has put in are awful. He and DC should both be let go based on the PP and PK alone. GG should have removed DC from his special teams responsibilities already.
    So over the past few days I start crunching stats and investigating GG before being hired. It is worse than I thought. I thought there were some positives to the possession numbers. What surprised me is that only Gio is excelling in reality under the new systems. I was shocked to find out that even Backlund and Frolik are not making strides. I can’t judge new players.
    I have now concluded that GG is not only a bad coach, but that he is doing harm to the young talent on the team.

      • DeadRedRedemption

        Your response comments after someone points out the failing of GG et al are formulaic.

        How about contributing and giving your opinion on what you think the coaching is doing right?

        • MontanaMan

          Unlike some hockey “experts” on this board, I choose not to judge a coach’s work on 1/4 of a season. I’m willing to be patient and make a judgment at the end of the year.

          • The GREAT WW

            I made judgement before the season started….and have been proven correct: this team has the talent to make the playoffs, but with this coaching crew we are bottom 5…

            WW

          • MontanaMan

            My judgment is out on GG but I’m willing to be patient. I’m not sure that I agree with you that this team has the talent to make the playoffs – I think there’s still a few missing pieces.

          • DeadRedRedemption

            Fair enough.

            How do you think he’s done so far? Can he turn this team around? How is he at managing his assets?

            Were you expecting to write off this year due to the coaching change? Some say the second 20 games is a better indicator of where a teams at; do you agree?

            None of us here are “experts”, but hearing contradictory opinions or entirely new ones makes this site more interesting than one or two line insults.

  • Tundradog

    I have bit my tongue for a few days as the Flames have won the last 2 on the road despite having horrible possession numbers – you know – the reason GG was hired and BH fired.

    Johnson steals 2 games, although they did have some solid moments against Boston earlier on.

    PP gets lucky against Columbus when, after a horrible zone entry, and a bad giveaway in the CBJ zone, Wideman makes a desperate poke check, preventing a 3 on 1 the other way. He would have been caught so out of place if CBJ had just tapped it out of their own zone. Leads to a rare PP goal, but a real good example of how to screw up a PP.

    Watching the games has told me that GG and the systems he has put in are awful. He and DC should both be let go based on the PP and PK alone. GG should have removed DC from his special teams responsibilities already.
    So over the past few days I start crunching stats and investigating GG before being hired. It is worse than I thought. I thought there were some positives to the possession numbers. What surprised me is that only Gio is excelling in reality under the new systems. I was shocked to find out that even Backlund and Frolik are not making strides. I can’t judge new players.
    I have now concluded that GG is not only a bad coach, but that he is doing harm to the young talent on the team.

    • Derzie

      Every trash of this is either an Oilers troll or someone who has no clue.Simple & plain. Keep the trashes coming. You are embarrassing in your blind love for the team. Can’t fix it if you don’t admit the problem.

  • cgyokgn

    Bad day to be a Calgary fan. Didn’t follow this game because I was watching the Grey Cup but can’t stand to watch the post-game celebrations.

    Anyway, from the score I see that all Calgary’s scoring was on special teams… weird. A PP goal and 2 SHGs!

  • Tundradog

    Lets say that you are the Flames Senior Management. You just fired Hartley. You state that “Puck Possession” is the main criteria that led you to fire Bob, with a sprinkling of special teams disappointment thrown in for good measure. Puck possession will be the main criteria for hiring a new coach.
    You interview several candidates, all claim they will improve puck possession. What is your next move to narrow down your short list to the one candidate that can deliver?

    How about checking the stats, namely PUCK POSSESSION, to see if what the candidates claim they can deliver has actually been delivered in the past. This is the equivalent of checking references, is it not?
    Here are the possession and goals against stats for all of the 5 years GG has coached in the NHL, plus the stats for the year prior to his hiring and the year after his leaving.

    Team/Season Position CF% Rank CF% GF/60 GA/60

    Dallas 10/11 Pre GG 24 47.98% 2.25 2.23
    Dallas 11/12 HC 14 49.86% 2.19 2.33
    Dallas 12/13 HC 20 48.83% 2.47 2.44
    Dallas 13/14 Post GG 14 50.49% 2.45 2.31

    Van 12/13 Pre GG 11 51.45% 2.18 2.13
    Van 13/14 AC 10 51.32% 2.15 2.19
    Van 14/15 AC 19 49.50% 2.28 2.4
    Van 15/16 AC 27 47.20% 1.87 2.31
    Van 16/17 Post GG 14 49.88% 1.69 2.66

    Corsi is not the end all in measuring anything, let alone puck possession. But it is the tool used by the NHL to measure possession, and is the stat that was used to fire BH and the stat that the Flames said they would use to hire a new coach.
    Based on the stats available, is GG a puck possession coach?
    Based on the resume, should GG be hired?

  • Tundradog

    Lets say that you are the Flames Senior Management. You just fired Hartley. You state that “Puck Possession” is the main criteria that led you to fire Bob, with a sprinkling of special teams disappointment thrown in for good measure. Puck possession will be the main criteria for hiring a new coach.
    You interview several candidates, all claim they will improve puck possession. What is your next move to narrow down your short list to the one candidate that can deliver?

    How about checking the stats, namely PUCK POSSESSION, to see if what the candidates claim they can deliver has actually been delivered in the past. This is the equivalent of checking references, is it not?
    Here are the possession and goals against stats for all of the 5 years GG has coached in the NHL, plus the stats for the year prior to his hiring and the year after his leaving.

    Team/Season Position CF% Rank CF% GF/60 GA/60

    Dallas 10/11 Pre GG 24 47.98% 2.25 2.23
    Dallas 11/12 HC 14 49.86% 2.19 2.33
    Dallas 12/13 HC 20 48.83% 2.47 2.44
    Dallas 13/14 Post GG 14 50.49% 2.45 2.31

    Van 12/13 Pre GG 11 51.45% 2.18 2.13
    Van 13/14 AC 10 51.32% 2.15 2.19
    Van 14/15 AC 19 49.50% 2.28 2.4
    Van 15/16 AC 27 47.20% 1.87 2.31
    Van 16/17 Post GG 14 49.88% 1.69 2.66

    Corsi is not the end all in measuring anything, let alone puck possession. But it is the tool used by the NHL to measure possession, and is the stat that was used to fire BH and the stat that the Flames said they would use to hire a new coach.
    Based on the stats available, is GG a puck possession coach?
    Based on the resume, should GG be hired?