Well last night's game was a complete and utter disaster. The Flames were out-chanced 10-5 at even strength in a game where they somehow managed to score three goals, including two shorthanded markers, but needless to say it wasn't enough. Two second period goals by Nick Spaling and Mike Fisher put the Nashville Predators up 4-2 over the visiting Flames, and they would add to their advantage and Calgary's road woes in the third period. Brandon Yip made it 5-2 for the Preds with his third of the season and Jarome Iginla scored a powerplay goal to narrow the gap for his team with just a minute remaining in the contest, but despite the captain's efforts, the Flames would lose their eighth consecutive road game, which is just slightly ridiculous when you think about it.
But there's no time for the Flames to lick their wounds as they're right back at it tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that is just two points out of the Western conference playoff picture despite having a -11 goal differential. The Jackets are 3-0-2 in their past five games, partly thanks to some totally sustainable goaltending by Sergei Bobrovsky. The Russian netminder has made 35+ saves in two of Columbus' recent wins and two of their shootout losses, and by all accounts he'll be starting again tonight, so we'll see how that goes. The Flames very well could be lethargic enough in a back-to-back game that he may not even have to stand on his head, as they didn't test Rinne very often last night in a game where they'd had three day's rest.
Mikael Backlund is scratched tonight as he recovers from that cracked bone in his foot, which means we will probably see Roman Cervenka back in the lineup. By the way, has anyone started #FreeRoman yet? If not, I will volunteer to be the first to do so. Even if his conditioning is not up to par, scratching him every game in favour of Brian McGrattan is just stupid. Chris Butler will be a healthy scratch tonight and Derek Smith will draw back into the lineup as the rotation on the bottom-pairing continues.
Expected lines and pairings:
CBJ (via The Cannon):
Gillies-MacKenzie-Boll (I think this is the BJ's equivalent of the McGrattan line, so this should be a fun game)
Erixon-Aucoin (Yes, that is two former Flames on the Jacket's bottom pairing)
Go Flames Go.