FGD 5: Brotherly love (7pm MT, SN Flames)

After a successful trip to California that saw them capture every possible point, the Calgary Flames (3-1-0) are back home for the first game of a back-to-back pair against Canadian teams. Tonight is the first of that series, featuring the one trip to Alberta this year from the Ottawa Senators (1-0-2). It’s both a chance for the Flames to extend their winning streak and bank some points against an Eastern Conference opponent and a game where Michael Stone plays against his little brother Mark while Curtis Lazar plays against the team that drafted him (and traded him) for the first time. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: “I want you to fight, fight for your parents’ love!”

It’s a 7 p.m. MT start at the Saddledome! Catch the game live, or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan, or on Sportsnet Flames.

The Flames

Here are projected lines for the Flames, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Lazar
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Bennett – Jagr
Ferland – Stajan – Brouwer (A)

Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone

No lineup changes are expected. Mike Smith starts for the fifth time this season – he’s 3-1-0, has started every game and has been Calgary’s best player (or close to it) in every game. He’s backed up by Eddie Lack. Brett Kulak, Tanner Glass and Freddie Hamilton are the extra bodies. Curtis Lazar gets a promotion to the top line after being a healthy scratch against Los Angeles, just in time to play his old team.

There’s been good and bad for the Flames over their first four games. They’ve given up a lot of chances. They’re among the worst teams in the NHL right now in terms of both shot suppression and creating scoring chances off the rush. But they’ve won despite all that, and boast four players (Gaudreau, Brodie, Monahan and Tkachuk) who are scoring at a point-per-game pace or better. Just imagine what they could do (a) when they learn to play decent D or (b) when Jaromir Jagr finds his legs.

The Senators

Here are Ottawa’s projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Smith – Turris (A) – Dzingel
Ryan – Brassard – Stone (A)
Pyatt – Pageau – Hoffman
Thompson – rotating – Burrows

Phaneuf (A) – Wideman
Borowiecki – Chabot
Claesson – Ceci

Craig Anderson starts once again for Ottawa. He’s faced roughly 30 shots per game with eerie consistency. He’s backed up by Mike Condon. Alex Formenton, Johnny Oduya and Logan Brown look to be the extra bodies, though things have been all over the place with Ottawa lately line-up wise. They rolled with seven defenders against Vancouver and per Bruce Garrioch is sounds like they’ll be doing so again.

Every single Ottawa game has gone to a shootout. Despite a glut of injuries, they continue to scrap and claw (and take advantage of some strong goaltending) to get points in tight games. They’re not going to be an easy out for the Flames.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.

Senators: Clarke McArthur (concussion), Colin White (wrist), Erik Karlsson (foot), Johnny Oduya (lower-body) and Ben Harpur (upper-body) are out.

When Last We Met

The Flames beat Ottawa twice last season; a 5-2 win in Calgary in October and a 3-2 overtime victory in Ottawa in January.

The Numbers

Wins 3 1
Points 6 4
Adj. Corsi 49.3% 47.9%
Power Play 23.5% 0.0%
Penalty KIll 93.3% 100%

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some Senators Twitter accounts for added fun this evening!

Sum It Up

It’s an All-Canadian match-up! And the Stone brothers collide, as the Flames try to figure out part of their game and grab some points in any way they can.

  • Newbietwo

    Stone has been horrendous thus far and Hammy certainly hasn’t been very good either and Dougie has been terrible himself.

    As for our forwards no one is showing offensive flair and we are in our own zone way too much.

  • Newbietwo

    Hey Gulu

    A word of advise.. stick with specific lines so that you can better hold the players accountable. Having a guy play on a different line every shift ain’t gonna give you that option becaus eof the yes but

  • dontcryWOLF

    Ahhhh yeah. Sometimes it just all goes off the rails. That’s the way she goes.

    Sens played a great team game and a master trap.

    If the flames could stay out of the box that’s a different game. They were controlling the game until the penalties started racking up.

    • Newbietwo

      First period yes however this is a two headed monster to tackle for Gulu

      1. Forwards really have not been very good thus far and they aren’t generating enough high danger chances. This is now three years in a row where Johnny and Mony forget how to play consistent hockey in the first ten games of a season and that is unnaceptable. They must show leadership and accountability and they are getting paid to be difference makers.

      That aside I would immediately put Bennet on first power play unit and have Mony slot in front of goalie. Frankly it’s imperative

      I would also switch Versteeg with Dougie.. why? Because we are losing the zone too much right now and His point shot will help.

      I would then put Steeg besides Giordano on second unit as a play maker.

      On D there’s way too much gap when opposing team enters our zone. Hammy and Stone specificallly need to get the stick in there at the very least. In addition all three of our right shot D guys aren’t moving their feet nearly enough.

      • dontcryWOLF

        Gaudreau and Monahan sucked tonight…but definitely been doing their part this year early on. My eyes are more on Bennetts line and Stajans.

        Defense really disappointed tonight, as well.

  • aye

    Did think they deserved to be 3-1 after the first 4 games, and was actually expecting a loss tonight, but was expecting a 2-1 or 3-2 score. That was ugly! Yes, 4 consecutive penalties grounded them, but all the grade A chances given up is the real concern. They were badly outworked again. Hope they finally wake up and give a real effort tomorrow night.

  • MisterArab

    I watched the whole game and I have to say….The flames had an amazing first period even though it was 1-0 for Ottawa…..the issue this game was that their ‘system’ fell apart in the 2nd and 3rd. My 10 quick tidbits from the game:
    1. Smith did all he could with very little support. He actually played well but was hung out to dry on several occasions. Michael Stone apologized to smith 5 times for a missed assignment and subsequent bailout.
    2. Lazar on the 1st line experiment doesnt appear like it will work. His speed was noticeable all night but he cant hold on to the puck…..if we could just give him Jagrs ability to do that.
    3. The reffing was strange and a little ticky tacky but I suppose it went both ways.
    4. Ferland looked good …..deserves better than to be on the 4th line (he had a +/- of 0 with ~10min TOI
    5. Jagr looked decent in the cycle….really strong on the puck but man he is slow and tires easily (that is expected)
    6. Stajan (I have come to like him in recent years) and Brouwer should be replaced on the 4th line with Janko and F.Hamilton, Hathaway…and yes….. even …….Glass (consider salaries too ;p )
    7. Bartkowski actually is very skilled but seems to mess that up with mental hiccups.
    8. Hamilton played awful. Maybe time to reunite GIO and BRODIE and have Hamilton and Hamonic (HH line) out there?
    9. I feel like we need a Real Deal RW on our team…the irony……I am wondering if we could bail Detroit out of their Anthanasiou problem? He would look great on our 1st line.
    10. Why is Brouwer out on the PP and PK still? Although he did have a few nice defensive plays…..he lost his NHL level hands

    Bonus: Gio is underrated….he does almost everything well.