The Flames close out the pre-season at home tonight against the Oilers (6PM MT. Sportsnet Flames and The Fan 960) with what will likely be the lineup that hits the ice Thursday give or take a few players. With Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque back in the lineup tonight, the absence of Jon Rheault, Cam Cunning, Matt Pelech, and John Armstrong could be an indication of impending roster cuts, although T.J. Brodie is one of seven defencemen on the roster this evening. One notable absence from tonight's game is one Steve Staios; while it's likely not the case that Steady Steve has had his roster spot usurped by the aforementioned Brodie, it's an interesting omission taken in conjunction with the fact that the remainder of the roster appears intact, injuries notwithstanding.
The opposition has chosen to ice a slightly less star-studded lineup tonight, by which I mean neither Taylor Hall nor Magnus Paajarvi will play, Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers will split the duties in net, and Jason Strudwick will be patrolling the blueline, so the Flames won't exactly be facing Edmonton's A-Team--a prime opportunity for a final tune-up before these two teams face each other again on opening night. Here are the expected lines and pairings for both teams, as per FlamesNation:
Dustin Penner-Andrew Cogliano-Jordan Eberle
Alexandre Giroux-Sam Gagner-Gilbert Brule
Linus Omark-Colin Fraser-Ryan Jones
Steve MacIntyre-Ryan O'Marra-Ben Ondrus
Ladislav Smid-Theo Peckham
Jason Strudwick-Tom Gilbert
Richard Petiot-Shawn Belle
Enjoy the game and take full advantage of the fact that this will be the last consequence-free contest between now and April--and hopefully beyond.