Game Preview: Flames vs Columbus Blue Jackets

CALGARY FLAMES (2-3-2 6 points) vs. COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (3-6-1 7 points) GAME 8

 

PREVIEW:

Life without Kiprusoff

That is the story of tonight’s game as the Flames head into Columbus to face the Blue Jackets for the first of three meetings this season. Both teams are looking up at everyone in the West as they sit in 14th (Columbus) and 15th (Calgary) in the conference.

The Flames, even though they sit in 15th, have games in hand on every team, having played a league low seven games thus far in this shortened season. Consistency has been the Flames biggest concern over the last couple of seasons and has been the main issue for having missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

The Flames last two games have been by far their best of the season as they continue to learn Bob Hartley’s new system and adjust to how he wants them to play.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, we have seen this team go through good patches in the past only to back to their old habits and it is not going to get easier this time around as Miikka Kiprusoff is out day-to-day with an expected knee injury. Kiprusoff has been the Flames MVP and staple since arriving in Calgary. Since the 2005-06 season, he has played a league high, 89% of the Flames games.

Leland Irving will get the start tonight and will get an opportunity, though probably only short term, to show that he is capable of being a full-time NHL goaltender.

If the Flames play the way they have the last two games against Chicago and Detroit, where they have collected 3 of a possible 4 points, there should be no concern of who is in between the pipes tonight or while Kiprusoff is out.

Things in Columbus have not gone how they had hoped to start the season. Currently sitting in 14th place in the West, only a point ahead of the Flames, the Blue Jackets have played three more games than Calgary. The Jackets are tied for the lowest goals-per-game with 1.90, and have only scored two or more goals in three of their ten games.

Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start for the Jackets, while a late report has Mike Cammalleri as a game time decision after not practicing on Wednesday.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

 

Flames:                                                                        Blue Jackets:

1- CAMMALLERI-TANGUAY-IGINLA                           1- BRASSARD-DUBINSKY-FOLIGNO

2- GLENCROSS-BACKLUND-STEMPNIAK                2- UMBERGER-ANISIMOV-DORSETT

3- CERVENKA-STAJAN-HUDLER                               3- PROSPAL-LETESTU-CALVERT

4- COMEAU-JONES-BEGIN                                        4- GILLIES-MacKENZIE-BOLL

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-GIORDANO                                1- JOHNSON-ERIXON

2- WIDEMAN-BRODIE                                                 2- TYUTIN-NIKITIN

3- SMITH-BUTLER                                                       3- HOLDEN, GOLOUBEF

 

1- IRVING                                                                    1- BOBROVSKY

2- TAYLOR                                                                  2- MASON

EXTRA- JACKMAN, SARICH                                      EXTRA- MOORE, SAVARD

 

INJURIES:

Flames: G- Miikka Kiprusoff (Lower Body- Day-to-Day), D- Anton Babchuk (Shoulder- IR), LW- Sven Baertschi (Hip Flexor- IR)

Blue Jackets: D- James Wisniewski (Concussion- Out Indefinitely), RW- Cam Atkinson (Lower Body- IR), D- Adrian Aucoin (Lower Body- IR), D- Ryan Murray (Shoulder- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

7

3

4

7

-2

C. Glencross

7

4

2

6

-3

D. Wideman

7

2

4

6

-1

L. Stempniak

7

3

2

5

3

J. Hudler

4

2

3

5

E

 

Blue Jackets

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

F. Tyutin

10

1

7

8

-4

A. Anisimov

10

4

1

5

-2

J. Wisniewski

9

2

3

5

-2

D. Brassard

10

2

3

5

-3

M. Letestu

8

3

1

4

E

 

PP-

Flames: 26.7% (6th)

Blue Jackets: 13.6% (24th)

PK-

Flames: 69.6% (29th)

Blue Jackets: 84.2% (10th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

10

8

0

2

18

2. ANAHEIM

9

7

1

1

15

3. VANCOUVER

9

5

2

2

12

4. SNA JOSE

10

7

2

1

15

5. ST. LOUIS

9

6

3

0

12

6. NASHVILLE`

9

4

2

3

11

7. EDMONTON

10

4

3

3

11

8. DALLAS

11

5

5

1

11

 

9. PHOENIX

10

4

4

2

10

10. MINNESOTA

9

4

4

1

9

11. DETROIT

9

4

4

1

9

12. LOS ANGELES

8

3

3

2

8

13. COLORADO

10

4

6

0

8

14. COLUMBUS

10

3

6

1

7

15. CALGARY

7

2

3

2

6

 

MY TAKE:

A Miikka Kiprusoff injury is a weird topic of discussion in this city when talking about the Flames. The franchise goalie has been nothing but a workhorse since coming to Calgary, having played at least 70 games in each of the last seven seasons.

If the injury does end up being a short term, day-to-day thing, then I think it is a blessing in disguise for the Flames and for Kiprusoff.

In a compact schedule where every win means so much more, I had worried about Kiprusoff tiring out even though he has been used to playing so many games in the past. With a healthy Kiprusoff, I had a tough time not seeing him play all 48 games.

I have faith in Irving for a short term and I feel if the team continues to play like they have in the last couple of games, Irving will show he is more than a capable back-up at the NHL level.

Am I also worried the Flames could be like the old Flames and lose to a team they should beat tonight?

Yes, but being a Flames fan, I have to hope things are going to change.

I have been impressed with the play of Dennis Wideman and I was happy to see Jarome Iginla get his first of the season on Tuesday night in Detroit.

The Jackets have got off to a slow start this season, as things seem very bleak in Columbus. I continue to wonder how General Manager Scott Howson still has a job, but if things do not turn around, you would have to think this could be his last season.

The Flames need to beat Columbus tonight, plain and simple. Last place in the West is not a fun place to be, even with games in hand.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NickSymon

2 Comments

Derrick Newman's picture

Irving was sub par. Both the first and third goals he should of had. Having said that, the Flames found a way to win which never used to happen. Thats a big win for the team and big win for Irvings confidence in general. He has to be better and he knows it, but for once the Flames can give goalies actual goal support and that changes everything

Wideman and Hudler continue to impress me. The PP is 6th best in the league and have scored in 7 pf 8 games this season. Unheard of in Calgary. All good signs. Hopefully Kipper is back soon and if not Irving better play better on Saturday otherwise Vancouver will eat him up.

Exciting hockey and thats all that really matters right now as we havent had that since the early 90's

NickSymon's picture

Yea I couldn't watch the game but from I saw from the highlights I agree about Irving. Yea huge win all around, they had me worried at certain points as i kept tabs on my phone but the 2 points is all that matters.

I have liked Hudler as well, lets just hope he and the team continue their strong play