Calgary Flames roll out three different defensive pairs in Friday’s practice

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames were not at their best on Thursday evening against the Detroit Red Wings. The team lacked energy and, according to head coach Darryl Sutter, emotion. On Friday morning, the Flames hit the practice ice to try to get their mojo back.
And per our pal Pat Steinberg, they did so with three defensive pairings that were different than what we usually see.
Typically, the Flames have rolled with three distinct pairings with everybody healthy: Noah Hanifin & Rasmus Andersson, MacKenzie Weegar & Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov & Michael Stone.
On Friday, the Flames had Hanifin with Tanev, Weegar with Andersson (in a rightie-rightie pair), and Zadorov with Dennis Gilbert (in a leftie-leftie pair). Stone skated with Connor Mackey, perhaps a sign that he’ll be a spectator on Saturday evening when the New York Rangers visit. (Mackey is the most frequent healthy scratch on the club, so being paired with him isn’t a great sign.)
Stone and Zadorov were on the ice for two Red Wings goals on Thursday, while Stone’s early second period penalty was also immediately followed by a Wings’ power play goal. As such, perhaps Stone is destined for a night off to re-calibrate, while Gilbert’s performed quite well in the 12 games he’s suited up for – if you believe in the validity of such things, in sheltered minutes his average game score (0.57) is double Stone’s (0.25). Given his strong play in limited usage, why not give him a bit more leash?
The Flames host the Rangers on Saturday night.

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