FGD 27: The Flyers come to town (7pm MT, SN West)

Man, the Calgary Flames (14-11-1) were not particularly good on Saturday night. With a national audience watching, they were thumped for two periods by the Edmonton Oilers and then clawed back to a semi-respectable score by virtue of Edmonton having shaky goaltending. Tonight they get a chance to create some momentum for themselves when they host the Philadelphia Flyers (8-11-7), who have lost 10 games in a row and are beginning a three-game Western Canadian swing. It’s a shot for the Flames to get back to basics, focus on playing their game and avoiding the glare of the spotlight… at least, for now.

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

For a view from the other side, head on over to FlyersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines for tonight, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Hathaway – Lazar – Brouwer (A)

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

Mike Smith is back in the saddle after getting the mercy pull after 40 minutes against Edmonton. He gave up five goals on 27 shots but didn’t get very much help from the guys in front of him. He’s 12-8-1 with a 2.69 goals against average and a .920 save percentage, making his 24th start of the season. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The healthy scratches look to be Matt Bartkowski, Matt Stajan and Freddie Hamilton.

Since the Flames didn’t practice yesterday, it’s unclear if the team will make any lineup or system changes after the Edmonton debacle. The challenges the Flames face aren’t solely from deployments or line combinations, but seemingly more psychological.

Some positives? Johnny Gaudreau continues to score many points, and it seems like perhaps Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett are turning a corner. Some negatives? My goodness, that power play looks utterly lost without Kris Versteeg.

The Flyers

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Giroux (C) – Couturier – Voracek
Weal – Patrick – Simmonds (A)
Raffl – Filppula (A) – Konecny
Lehtera – Laughton – Weise

Provorov – MacDonald
Gostisbehere – Hagg
Sanheim – Manning

Brian Elliott starts for the Flyers. He’s 6-6-6 with a 2.98 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. He’s backed up by Michal Neuvirth. Radko Gudas is serving the 8th game of his suspension, while Mark Alt and Taylor Leier are the healthy scratches.

The Flyers have lost 10 games in a row, with their last win coming Nov. 9 against Chicago. (Granted, they’ve gotten five overtime losses since then.) What can you say? They’re a group that’s desperate for points. If this streak drags on much longer, head coach Dave Haskol may be looking for a new gig.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (hip) are on the injured reserve.

Philadelphia: The Flyers have no injuries.

When Last We Met

Way way back on Nov. 18 in Philadelphia, the Flyers lost to Calgary in overtime. Sean Monahan had a hat trick (with all three goals coming in the second period on the power play) and Michael Frolik scored in overtime.

The Numbers

Wins 14 8
Points 29 23
Adjusted Corsi 51.4% 49.4%
Power Play 20.9% 17.4%
Penalty Kill 75.6% 75.8%

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some Flyers folks who’ll tweet about the game tonight (probably):

Sum It Up

The Flames are looking for confidence and momentum. The Flyers would settle for a win. Expect two tight groups and a potentially clunky game tonight.


Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.

Enter the Vegas Breakaway for a chance to win a trip for two to Las Vegas and tickets to a Golden Knights game. Enter to win at atb.com/vegas

  • Justthateasy

    Ya Lazar is in for Stajan in at center.
    Because all teams are for checking like crazy the defense has little time to make a decision. Enough with the giveaways. Have a look before you make that pass. Enough with the weak backhand clearing attempts. Most of these sticks are curved the wrong way for a backhand so get on the forehand and do it right. Backhand is for emergencies. Focus on what you’re doing. Focus focus focus.!!! Dammit!

  • Dougiefred

    Something that has driven me crazy about the Flames over the last 20 years.
    Desperate for a win?
    Goalie desperate for a win?
    Need to prove you belong? Come play a hockey game in Calgary.
    Oilers, Brossoit, Puljujarvi
    Desperate for a win?
    Goalie needs a win?
    Need to prove you belong?
    Nolan Patrick
    Is this all my imagination?

  • Lucky 13

    Take a look at the Jets. They have the talent and are now in first place in the Western Conference. + 23 goal differential. I’m envious.

    We have the talent, yet we sit 2 spots out of the Wildcard race.
    -5 goal differential. With Smith carrying this team.

    One thing is for sure, the Jets have sustainable numbers, we are in trouble. Big trouble!

    If we can’t right this ship soon, we’ll be out of playoff contention before we can say, “what happened”

    Chicago won’t be below us for long, Minnesota is starting to get traction and once Anaheim is healthy, we’re going to be f’d.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic, however we are treading in deep water, without a life jacket.

    It’s time we get serious about be a contender, Treliving needs to address this!

    • Raffydog

      You have to believe BT is on the phone looking for some help. Considering he gave away all our draft picks for the next two years, if this team misses the playoffs, he’s looking for a new job.

    • BendingCorners

      Jets had a bad year last year and some injuries but stayed the course. Picked up a goalie in the summer and now they are doing well. Flames don’t need a goalie, they have one, and are mostly healthy. They just need to figure out how to play in their own zone. I don’t care if the coach comes up with a solution or if the players do it themselves, I just hope it happens soon. GFG

      • The Doctor

        Flames need to take out their garbage: Brouwer and Stajan need to go and make room for one or more of Mangiapane, Klimchuk and/or Hrivik. Bartkowski also needs to go. We didn’t do this meticulous rebuild just to have deadwood like that hold us back.

          • Broken

            Some of the Jets injected youth was because of injuries. That’s what needs to happen to . . . I’m not going to mention any names. Anyway, the kids took over. That needs to happen here.

        • Sobueno

          100% agree the above need to go, but I don’t think the guys with the least amount of ice time on the team are the only issue or having the biggest impact. Seems like an under performing D corps that on paper should be phenomenal is more the problem to me. Is that a systems issue? Not enough forward support?

          Good thing our goalie has been playing out of his mind most games and we kick @ss in overtime, otherwise we’d be a heck of a lot lower in the standings.

  • JusAFlamer

    “Since the Flames didn’t practice yesterday, it’s unclear if the team will make any lineup or system changes after the Edmonton debacle.”

    Let me guess, they sat down and fed them hours and hours of video

    Video review is a great “tool” but is only an addition/tool and practice (especially after dropping a turd) is needed.
    I remember pre-season, comments such as “we did not practice it but we did video on it” were reasons for looking out of sync. now is both PP and making “fast” d-zone clear decisions needing work.

    I can see rest and skip practice if coming up on b2b or if just played a good game; but seems odd after showing up for 15 out of 60 min in the last game

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I missed the battle of Alberta…which in this case wasn’t a bad thing. I was fortunate enough to see the hated Ducks play in Nashville. It is good to know that the Ducks aren’t just hated in Alberta. Since the Preds knocked The Ducks out of the playoffs it was billed to be a great match….and it did not disappoint.

    In fact the only disappointing part of the trip was the notice I got from my Flames App that the Flames trailed the Oilers at home 6-1. It was at this point that any latitude I had given GG as a coach was gone. You see any die hard Flames fan would take a 10 game losing streak before losing in this manner to the Oilers.

    Questionable player usage aside, not being able to prepare his team to play its long time heated rivals in the biggest game of the year is beyond acceptance and explanation. People have commented on the job that Travis Green has done with a average Vancouver Canucks team showing what good, smart coaching can do. We have also seen how Claude Julien has gone from a coach on the bubble to an astute coach again with the play of Price.

    GG has been able to keep a talented team afloat with exceptional goaltending. They say Good goaltending makes great coaches…except when they don’t. I think it is time to blow up the lines and D pairings to find some chemistry. I would like to see this experiment, trade Brodie for a Top RW, and GG replaced.

    Right now my only hope of a turnaround lies in the fact that Paul Maurice, the coach of the Jets had a highly under performing team and looked like the players did not buy into his system until one day it just clicked. We could be so lucky.

    • L.Kolkind

      Brodie was never this bad until Hamonic. Hamonic is the problem and Brodie’s play of late is simply a symptom of playing with the worst corsi for rel% player in the entire league last year. This is the stat Giordano was among the leaders of when he was being considered for Norris.

      There have been warnings of Hamonic not being as great as advertised and Calgary made the exact same mistake as Edmonton by trading for an overrated Islanders defencemen that shouldn’t be in the NHL.

        • L.Kolkind

          Other than making a joke on my take, what is wrong with it? Brodie was a top pairing defenseman with Gio and still a more than capable 2nd pairing with even Wideman. Now that he is with Hamonic his numbers have never been worse. GG was here last year the only difference with Brodie’s game is Hamonic, I made a logical conclusion that the difference is what caused Brodie’s poor play. Unless something is going on off the ice, defencemen of his quality don’t turn Bartkowski bad for no reason.

    • Lucky 13

      Jumping Jack, you did something that fathers never regret. Spending time with your children. In Nashville to boot! Pretty cool dad I’d say.

      We’ll forget the loss to the Oilers until our next meeting, but your daughter will never forget the time you spend with her.

      Keep up the good work!

    • Chucky

      It would be great to trade the left defense Brodie for the right defense Brodie. I think we can get him for about $465,400 annual average through 2019-20. If only we could find a strong defensive stay at home to play left defense beside him for maybe $650,000 a second round pick with good AHL experience but still young. Sorry Flames don’t have a Brodie that can play on the right side or a strong defensive left defenseman so there has to be a trade.

  • Joeyhere

    Flames win tonight- all season long they have responded to poor games by beating lesser teams( Lose to Toronto so beat up on Arizona ) but we can’t be fooled. We have underlying problems (bottom sixth depth, 2nd d pairing) but so much of this season is still about a coach with questionable utilization, lack of flexibility or creativity outside his system, and lacking personal accountability (he blamed he players for the oilers loss (he never suggested he should own some of it). I don’t want this team to be an also ran- gg needs to go if we are going to come together and be a real threat

  • Alberta Ice

    Going to the game tonight to root for the guys in red. (My wife is from Winnipeg and she is very happy that today the Jets are now at the head of the pack in the NHL. Who would have thunk it? Canada’s surprise team indeed!)

    • The Doctor

      I do remember that the Jets were absolutely loaded with tantalizing prospects a couple of years ago. I remember one WJHC where they clearly had the most and best prospects in the tournament. So in that sense, where they are now is not a huge surprise. That’s one reason we have to get rid of our old deadwood now — because we have prospects, we have one of the top teams in the AHL. What’s the use of having assets if you don’t use them?

  • KKisTHEproblem

    Need way more from 3M as well as the 2nd D pairing: Last 5 games: Backlund 4pts, -4; Frolic 2 pts, -4, Byng 2 pts, -3. I haven’t seen all 5 games, but it matches the eye test of what I have seen. Minus numbers heavily influenced by Dallas game (all 3 got killed) but just not good enough lately

  • FlamesFan27

    Technically, this isn’t a “must win”. But, it’s pretty damn close if the Flames want to stay in playoff contention. The window is closing with a lot of teams on the rise.

  • Stajanforadirtyboot

    So Sears mannequin man Gulutzan still has a job. If BT will not pull the trigger then perhaps it’s time for BB to pull the trigger….twice. I am sure Pappy Treliving has a Boston pizza for Brad to manage and Glen would be a pretty dam good hostess.

  • buts

    0-6 career against the oilers….Saturday was a totally brutal game to stomach while watching HNIC….tonight we have a team that is super struggling…on one hand I want the flames to win….on the other I want this coach who drives me nuts fired. Maybe the players will seal GG’s fate, BT will do what he has too and give us fans some hope that this ship will get turned around

  • Rockmorton65

    All this talk of firing GG (which I support). Who’s available to replace him? Serious question. It’s gotta be someone with experience and a definite system ready to go. Not sure who’s available that fits the bill.

    • Oil consuming Flames

      My 13 year old Niece is available to replace GG. She’s never played hockey, but she sure makes good observations, like:
      “Why would you try and pass to a guy who’s covered when your right in the slot,… SHOOT!”

      “Do you even look before you pass?”

      “Are you even trying to get the puck on net, or are you all just aiming at the other guy’s stick?”

      “Maybe this guy needs to watch the game from the press box like when Johnny did, that seemed to work, why won’t they sit him, … don’t want to make him cry,… Isn’t this a man’s game, jeeez!”

      I love that kid. 4′ 9″ and about 90lbs but barks it out like a drill Sargeant. She may be regurgitating things I’ve said, but she recognizes it when it happens and addresses each scenario appropriately. If a 13 year old can see it,….?

      Just remembered another beauty that came out of her mouth,
      “Why does every other team have the best active sticks, and the best backup goalies?”

      • The Doctor

        Even Giordano, who I really like, did some boneheaded stuff like that on Saturday. Twice he took point shots that were squarely aimed right at Oiler defenders, resulting in the inevitable: a shot block that you could seem coming from a mile away, an unnecessary turnover and loss of possession.

  • WillyWonka

    Brian Elliott starts for the Flyers. He’s 6-6-6
    We need Jobu to counter act this 6-6-6 stuff… or holy water, or something. I’m not superstitious

    • Lucky 13

      Lol, I actually snorted when I read this.

      My wife asked me, “what’s so funny “

      I didn’t want to give a encyclopedic dissertation that would explain it to her, so I said, “ Nothing Hun”

      She’s now scowling at me. Can’t win.

      Word of advice: don’t laugh in front of your wife, they are more curious than cats and if you don’t give them a satisfying answer, the claws will come out.

      Now I will be making dinner for the family. Thanks Willy!

  • McRib

    If the line of Hathaway-Lazar-Brouwer scores a goal I’ll eat crow, but I honestly don’t think we could form a line with less likelihood of scoring if we tried. Before you go say “Hathway is producing in the AHL” remember he is doing so because he is being carried by more skilled offensive players like Mangiapane and Hrivik.

    All you Curtis Lazar lovers, GO LOOK AT HIS STATS THE LAST TWO YEARS!! The guy can’t hit the broadside of a barn, the point of Hockey is putting the puck in the net, he can’t do it, period. I’d honestly have Emile Poirier over him becuse at least he can skate and keeps up to the play. I’d certainly have Mangiapane, Hrivik, Klimchuk, etc. Over Lazar as well.

  • Murman

    I think the Flames organization interviewed with Green before GG? Green…. the coach in Vancouver, you know that guy that seems to have a plan, holds players accountable for there actions or lack of. I just think that the press box can do a whole lot of good for players not only to watch and learn but be a little humiliated being a healthy scratch while bringing up some hungry young players wanting to prove! Cmon Glen!!

  • deantheraven

    It’s one thing to be playing poorly like Brodie has been of late. It’s a whole other thing to keep putting him on the ice, especially in critical situations. Brodie’s tip in didn’t have to happen on Rittich didn’t need to happen. and it could only happen to Brodie. Sit Brodie, send down Bartkowski and call up Andersson. Or Wotherspoon. Brodie can come back when he gets his head right and be Awesome Brodie again.If not popcorn, how about less than half of the 3rd period for a while?