Flames Game Day: Batteries Recharged?

 


Pengrowth Saddledome

7:30 PM MT

Opposition: St. Louis Game Time

TV: TSN

After a brief respite from the bustle, the Flames return to hostilities this evening against the Blues. The last couple of days have allegedly been spent brushing up on "details" that, in the eyes of the coaches, have escaped the team's attention as of late. They looked like they needed a mental break, if not physical rest per se, and tonight's match with a team that has played well the last couple of games should give all of us a clue as to whether the Flames' poor results as of late are simply fatigue related.

 

St. Louis, like Nashville, doesn't always play things straight P v P, so one might think that Jarome Iginla could find himself with a chance to continue scoring. He'll go with Boyd and Jokinen from all reports, and the one thing that stands out is that Boyd might be given the actual center role. Anyone playing with Jokinen usually ends up covering for him down low under normal circumstances, so this may simply be a de facto recognition of how matters will unfold. If the Flames aren't going to split the big two, I suppose that Boyd deserves a chance to have a go on a regular basis. They've run nearly everyone but Noodles McLennan out there with them, so why not? I don't see Boyd being ready or able to carry those two, but I'm having a hard time imagining anyone on the current roster that can do so. Actually, there are nights where I wonder if there's anyone on any roster that would be up to that task, but that's another matter altogether.

 

The Langkow line had a stinker against the Preds, and with the unpredictable nature of the production coming from Iggy and co., the Flames are about at the point where Dawes-Langkow-Bourque have to score for the team to be decent or better. That shouldn't really be so, but that's the situation that Calgary finds itself in. The lines in the Herald piece suggest that Eric Nystrom will center Glencross and Moss, which is, uh, interesting. That move would push Craig Conroy to the fourth line with Sjostrom and someone, depending on how the spirit moves Brent Sutter.

 

The D appears to be intact, with Adam Pardy healthy enough to continue working on the third pair. No matter who plays with whom, I think the days off will have been of benefit to Bouwmeester in particular. The Flames need more out of him on the rush, and he looks a bit off to me as of late. I don't know if Sutter has any specific instruction for him to hang back, or if he's just in conservation mode to handle his workload, but he's just doesn't seem to be part of the attack, particularly at EV.

 

Miikka Kiprusoff will go. His game against Nashville wasn't openly terrible, but he was a beat behind, like a few other people in red on Saturday afternoon. The Flames likely need him to be a-one almost every night, since goals have been hard to come by since late October, and that doesn't appear to be changing in the immediate future.

 

St. Louis laid a whipping on the Oilers Monday, unloading 4 PP goals on the way to a 7-2 drubbing of the last place Oil. Alex Steen, nearly given up for dead when these teams met a week ago, scored a goal and added two helpers, and Patrik Berglund put up a goal and an assist in the rout. David Backes scored a couple of goals on Sunday in Vancouver as well, so a few of the guys that provide secondary scoring for the Blues might be waking up. Chris Mason gets the start in net for St. Louis.

 

The Flames were even with St. Louis last Tuesday through two, then proceeded to get outshot 10-4 in the third on the way to a 4-3 loss. The Blues are still pretty meh in terms of out-shooting at EV, and Monday night aside, their PP has been poor this season. They do kill penalties at a high rate, so hopefully the signs of life in recent games from the Calgary PP aren't false. The hope has to be that the days off will give the Flames a bit of bite, especially in the later stages of the game.

 

Game time is 7:30 MT on TSN, as the back-end of a double header, with the juniors leading off in their last pre-tournament outing against the Czechs.

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