Photo Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 11: A visit from the Stars (7pm MT, SN360)

The Calgary Flames (5-5-0) are back from their modest two-game road trip that took them to Nashville and St. Louis. They managed a split, which is about right given how they played – well at even strength and a bit more poorly on special teams. They’re back at home hosting the Dallas Stars (5-5-0), a pretty good team that – fortunately for the Flames – played and lost in Edmonton last night. As far as chances to tidy things up go, playing a good, tired team may be the best case scenario as the Flames kick off their longest homestand of the season.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet 360.

The Flames

Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Versteeg
Glass – Stajan – Brouwer (A)

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

Mike Smith is back in the net for his 10th start of the year after working the gate as Eddie Lack’s backup on Wednesday night. The healthy scratches are Brett Kulak, Freddie Hamilton and Curtis Lazar.

It’s the first regular season game in Calgary for 2012 first round selection Mark Jankowski, who may have become a fully-fledged NHLer on the road trip. Granted, Glen Gulutzan was smart enough to shelter Jankowski and set him up for success, but Jankowski was the best possession player on the team over the last week. Aside from getting on the scoresheet, it’s hard to imagine how he could’ve done better over the last two games.

The key to victory tonight? Stay outta the box. Failing that, defending intelligently and pressuring the opposition power play as they enter the zone would be something the Flames haven’t done in awhile.

The Stars

Lines from Dallas’ game last night via Daily Faceoff:

Benn (C) – Seguin – Ritchie
Roussel – Hanzal – Spezza (A)
Shore – Janmark – Radulov (A)
Elie – Faksa – Pitlick

Methot – Klingberg
Hamhuis – Pateryn
Oleksiak – Lindell

After Ben Bishop started last night, sounds like Kari Lehtonen goes for Dallas tonight. The extras last night were Gemel Smith and Julius Honka. Dallas isn’t skating, so we’ll update if there are any changes reported.

The Stars are a possession monster so far this season, but just haven’t been able to string together enough consistent play to win more often. That said, Ken Hitchcock has them all moving in the right direction, so an offensive barrage may be just around the corner. I mean, they scored three power play goals last night; they’re worth taking seriously for the gents in red tonight.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Jaromir Jagr (lower-body) are on the injured reserve.

Dallas: Stephen Johns (concussion symptoms) is on the active roster but out.

When Last We Met

Calgary and Dallas met three times last season. The Flames won two outta three, including their last meeting on St. Patrick’s Day in Calgary – which they won 3-1.

The Numbers

Wins 5
Points 10
Adjusted Corsi 49.9%
Power Play 15.8%
Penalty KIll 79.5%

Know Thy Enemy

Check out these Stars-centric accounts:

Sum It Up

It’s the first game of a season-high seven game homestand! And following that, because the NHL’s scheduling robot was programmed for humour, is a six game road trip.

    • Skylardog

      Here’s hoping that Roger Million’s hint in the 1st intermission, that big things are coming if they don’t get things going soon, is a coaching change coming in the next few days.

      • McRib

        The fact that GG has yelled at the players following two of the last three games makes me think the writing is on the wall and even he knows it.

        Our team has completely tuned out GG.

        • Skylardog

          Yup – He is showing a level of desperation and frustration that says his rope is getting very short. Got Washington and then 3 days off before Pitt. Gotta think he has to have a win or at least a solid effort on Sunday or he may be out the door. Its that bad.

        • everton fc

          People, not just players, tune out yelling, after a while. It’s starts w/the leader. The coach. And the leaders on the ice. Always. We have no injury issues. Imagine if Smith goes down?

  • Day1-Cfan

    What is Treliving watching from upstairs to be happy with this kind of coaching and playing? He has been pretty quiet lately, hope he is getting as sick of this like I am.

    • Rockmorton65

      Tre’s M.O. is to play things very tight to the vest. In public, anyway. Just like some of the trades he’s pulled off, I don’t expect to hear any rumblings until something is imminent (ie that day).

  • Alberta Ice

    Hey, Cheeky. Sadly, we were right. You called it. I agreed but hoped against hope that we were wrong. Backup goalie looking like the second coming of Patrick Roy and the team that played the night before highly motivated to win. We just missed on the final predictable dagger- the winning goal on a power play by the Stars late in the 3rd.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Who is Surprised the Flames Lost with this current Line Up & Player usage/TOI…? NO One, But GG will sail off on the podium as Captain Obvious in General terms, but Never Admit the Problem is on His Head for Crap Hockey Decisions During the Game! This team is not worth watching right now… Call me when there is a New Coach + Asst Coach & an Actual NHL Caliber System in place! BT Has to be re-thinking his coaching choice by now! Just Brutal Hockey to witness! Rant Over… Still Don’t Feel Better! @#$%~!

  • Alberta Ice

    Am I imagining things or are the Flames always tentative to skate the puck out of their own zone? Some of those passes meant to get out of the defensive zone were pathetic, especially when there was time to skate the puck out.

  • Cheeky

    I love this team, always will regardless. Sad part is I’m not disappointed anymore in losses as it may get us closer to a new coaching staff. Anyone who honestly thinks that GG is the right guy is out to lunch. If you can’t stop their PP, then you better be good at it yourself. Their is no confidence or fun in these players anymore. They play confused and hesitant, even when they squeek out a win. The player decisions is lunacy – Bart is not an NHLer nor is Stajan…we have better players that can’t get in the line up for who knows why (well we do know why). This team has far too much talent to have it wasted by GG. BT the time is now, not in 10 games or 20, save face and get someone who can lead this team to glory…

  • dontcryWOLF

    Man…these guys are making it hard to be a fan this year. I have no clue if it’s the players or the coach, or both, but damn that’s some boring, sloppy hockey.

    • Skylardog

      No one good – Have to go to Gelinas in the interim.

      And to think that a bunch of us here were pushing for GG (Gerard Gallant) when he got fired in Florida. Nothing but trashes. His Golden Knights won 7-0 tonight and are 8-1.

    • everton fc

      Vegas 7, Colorado 0.

      Please don’t respond that these guys are playing on fumes, getting second chances… Sure, they’ve been at home… Their streak is at home… But they are winning, at home. We don’t.

      Gallant is a big part of the reason. Hynes in NJ and Cooper in TB were two guy I called out as potential winners, when they were available. Cooper, in particular. And somehere (WW?!) called for Gallant. Perhaps our GM made the wrong call?

      Then again… Look at our record after January last season. So this team is capable. Currently, we have no scoring, and particular no secondary scoring. Until we get some goals spread around here, we are doomed to mediocrity. Signing Brouwer to that 4.5mill millstone for the next few years… Is really starting to hurt us. Mangiapane/Jankowski/Hathaway would probably produce more up here than our 3rd and 4th lines do now.

      So who do you bring in here? Very good question. They won’t fire Gulutzan. Not yet. We are simply not as good as we all thought we were. “On paper”.

      Can you imagine where we’d be w/o Smith?! And our backup may be basically AHL calibre. I’ll say this about Hartley’s teams… They seemed to have more heart. What happened?? Basically the same crew.

    • Cheeky

      Not many available now. A few assistants that are interesting but can’t see a team allowing them to go during the season. Even interim who? Huska – not a chance, Cameron – he’s a main player with our crappiness, Gelinas – not enough experience. Then try adding assistants, etc….might have to look overseas.

  • Skylardog

    Time to clean house on the bench. All coaches gone, except for Gelinas who takes the reigns as the interim. Guess we can keep the video coach and given how Smith is playing, we can’t really let Sigalet go either. But the rest have got to go.

  • Cheeky

    Just heard GG say they don’t practise the PK, they watch video on it. Now it all makes sense. Remember when Keenan never practised the PP and it showed…seems like GG has same mentality…