Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Flames shake up lines at Tuesday’s practice

The Calgary Flames saw their hot streak screech to a halt on Monday night. They put 42 pucks on Jack Campbell, but lost 2-0 to the Los Angeles Kings. Following the loss, they’ve dramatically shaken up their forward lines at Tuesday’s practice.

Via our pal Pat Steinberg:

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Let’s break this down:

  • Line 1 features the team’s most potent offensive weapon (Gaudreau), a speedy two-way center (Ryan), and the team’s shutdown right wing (Frolik).
  • Line 2 features two-thirds of one of the league’s better shutdown lines (Tkachuk and Backlund), plus a two-way forward with some offensive skill (Lindholm).
  • Line 4 is a line assistant coach Ryan Huska used two seasons ago in Stockton: a fast guy (Mangiapane), a tall guy (Jankowski) and a crash-and-bang guy (Hathaway).
  • Line 3 is essentially the leftovers: two wingers coming off injuries (Neal and Bennett) and a center who hasn’t been amazing lately (Monahan), plus a guy that can be swapped out if needed (Czarnik)

(It sounds like Czarnik will be on the right side of that line at least for another game or two.)

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The approach with the new lines seems to be trying to put together some balanced groups. If I were a betting man, I’d presume that the Monahan line will get a hefty amount of offensive zone high ground but the other three can probably just be cycled through depending on game situation.

It seems significant that they’ve broken up Gaudreau and Monahan, and particularly that the top line has been spread out among three different lines.

The defensive pairings are unchanged.

The Flames are back in action on Wednesday night when they host the Dallas Stars.

  • MDG1600

    Does anyone know why Bennett has been out? Is it the mystical “upper body” aka concussion? He had his bell rung hugely 2 weeks ago and I was shocked he was back in the line up the next game. Kinda wondering if he BS’ed his way through the concussion protocol then only to get shut down now.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    I’ve been wanting to see Neal and Mony together for a while, and with Czar it adds some much needed speed. If he goes with these lines, it will be interesting. The only line I don’t like is the first line, but hey, the other three are interesting!

  • C-of-Dread

    We’ve seen Lindholm with Tkachuk and Backlund before, and it 28 in for 67 doesn’t hurt the line defensively and probably gives it a small offensive bump.

    The “Heat” line (88/77/21) should probably pick up where they left off, and it challenges Jankowski keep that line rolling like it was with Ryan.

    Ryan playing with Gaudreau is a reward for him basically being the best player on the team for the last couple weeks. His faceoff prowess should help them start with the puck more often than not and Frolik’s defensive abilities should help insulate the line from Johnny’s propensity to fly the d-zone and also his recent turn-over follies.

    Don’t know what to say about the third line other than Monahan has played like a 3rd line center, so there he is. Hopefully, he accepts this challenge and turns his season back around to finish strong in this career year for him. (A career year that could have been so much more without a month-long slump)

  • flames2015

    Good for Peters. Couple of us suggested that Monahan should move down to the third line, and got down voted for it. He’s been invisible for weeks now, and could be nursing an injury. 1st line has been stale for awhile, having another puck carrier in Ryan could take some heat of Gaudreau. Plays have been dying hard on the stick of Monahan.

    • C-of-Dread

      If Monahan was injured, he would be resting. Cantering the third pairing tells us that he’s just struggling and needs to work through it. Maybe playing lesser competition will help his faceoffs and production

  • Jason Brown

    Championship teams normally have two unique formations for their lines that can both work when needed. Those teams are a matchup nightmare.

    For some, it’s putting Crosby and Malkin together when they need a goal, and for others it’s an overhaul like the one we saw today with the Flames. We know that the way the lines have been for the majority of the year works (it led them to first place), and will pick up where they left off when he reunites them. Now is a great opportunity while games still matter to try and find another combination that the coach can go to if they run in to matchup problems in the later rounds of the playoffs. (Like they did last night with L.A.).

    There is an obvious blueprint for how to beat the Flames; allow 40 shots against and keep them all from the outside, get 15-20 of our own and make them count, defend the net like hell, and score one more than they can muster.

    If teams in the playoffs have the ability to shut it down like the Kings did last night (say Minnesota for example) then Coach Peters needs to have another line configuration that he can go to with confidence.

    And also, this gives the boys and chance (23 in particular) to forget about things and let their instincts kick back in. Working with new linemates is never easy, but it is the time when players are more likely to use more of their “hockey IQ” than their actual IQ. Monahan is likely banged up, but worse yet he is in his own head right now. Just thinking the game too much trying to break out. He’s a great player and a hard worker and I think that some new faces should help him get out of the funk he’s been in.

    • Spider you muda&@#ker

      This blueprint you talk about effectively beats alot of NHL teams especially when said team isn’t emotionally and physically invested in the game. When you are second in the NHL with 6 games left its pretty hard to get up for a bottom feeder team like LA. The team just needs the playoffs to start just like us fans do. If they have a game like that in the playoffs then we have something to worry about.

  • Skylardog

    Stunned … and hopeful. Not exactly how I would have thought it would happen but lets roll with it.

    The only thing I see is that JG needs a guy that can score with him. Maybe they just want the other 2 to get him the puck and Johnny can score.

  • Toma41

    About time they moved Monahan. I’ve been saying it for months. Hes trash. He admitted playing like trash in his interview. Too bad Lazarus and dude guy dont see it when everyone else does. Lazarus is going to be mad.

    • His Dudeness

      Eh I’m completely fine with moving him off the 1st line, I’ve suggested it before a long time ago. I wanted to see what Lindholm could do at 1C, monahan 2C and Backlund 3C. I just think you and others who call a 76 point player trash are donkeys. Especially with the contract he is on. Oh yeah and he’s scored 7 playoff goals in 15 games.

      • canadian1967

        Monahan isn’t Trash, and none of us think that he IS… but he has certainly been playing like garbage for a couple of Months now.
        He was on pace at one time to get close to 50 Goals and now won’t even get 35.

  • Beer League Coach

    Off season trade suggestion. Monahan to Ottawa, where he was a hero in juniors, for Brady Tkachuk. Then Flames can double team Doughty when they play the Kings and really send him around the bend. Brady could even be a slight upgrade at the C position. He has the potential while Monny has shown what he is capable of doing.

    • CalgaryBornandRaised

      Doubtful, Ottawa needs all the help they can get, and considering they kept the pick instead of forking it over to Colorado last year and most likely losing the Number 1 this year, they will most likely keep Brady at all costs. Also, considering they wanted one of our defensive prospects (Valamaki or Andersson) for a Stone deal, they would no doubt ask for that as well in a trade

      Monahan is what he is, he’ll get out of it eventually