The Calgary Flames are playing their third game in three nights. Normally, this is not allowed. It's still preseason, though, so anything goes - especially because, you know, expanded rosters are present, and it isn't the same team taking the ice each night.
Last night, the Flames thoroughly beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 with a lineup that closely resembled their NHL one. Micheal Ferland continued his case to perhaps one day be a top six forward, and the Canucks... took a lot of penalties, mostly.
Expect a different tale tonight, because the rosters are markedly different. Only one player who played last night is in tonight, and that's Garnet Hathaway. (Blair Riley, too, for the record - although he wasn't supposed to play last night. He just had a fight and then left. It was weird.) And the Canucks, being the home team, probably want to put on a better show for their fans - so expect a roster resembling an NHL team.
With the next preseason game not until Tuesday, Sept. 29, and the Stockton Heat's camp starting the day before, a lot of cuts are expected tomorrow. For some, this will be their last chance to make an impression.
Here's tonight's projected Flames lineup:
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Mason Raymond||Joe Colborne||Emile Poirier|
|Josh Jooris||Markus Granlund||Garnet Hathaway|
|Brandon Bollig||Matt Stajan||David Jones|
|Morgan Klimchuk||Turner Elson||Blair Riley|
|Left Defence||Right Defence|
|Ryan Wilson||Rasmus Andersson|
|Brett Kulak||Oliver Kylington|
|Tyler Wotherspoon||Kenney Morrison|
Ortio played a full game, Hiller played a full game; expect Ramo to go the full 60 tonight. The goaltending battle at camp remains tight and desperate: one of these guys will not be a Flame for much longer.
Players of particular interest to watch tonight include Poirier, Granlund, Klimchuk, and the entire defence group. Due to the number of bodies present, Poirier and Granlund will likely be starting their seasons in the AHL, but they still need to put in a good performance; also, as Klimchuk is expected to turn pro this season, it'll be interesting to see how much longer he sticks around at camp.
As for the defence... Wilson is still battling for a contract. Andersson has defied the junior odds, and is still at camp; how much longer will he remain? Kulak has impressed. We still have no idea if Kylington will play in the AHL or WHL. Wotherspoon is in the final year of his entry level contract, so it's crunch time for him. And finally, this is Morrison's rookie pro year.
For a team that seems to have its top defence core set, there are a lot of questions for the bottom pairing and prospects. It's very exciting times to follow.
The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet. Puck drop is at 8 p.m. MT!