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Jones in for Raymond to face East-leading Habs

- October 28th, 2014

RANDY SPORTAK
Calgary Sun
Flames vs. Canadiens
TIME: 7 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet Flames
RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN
THE MAIN STORYLINE:
The Saddledome will be rocking more than usual on a Tuesday night with the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Canadiens in town. The Habs always have a big following in these parts, but seeing as they’re off to a hot start, watch for a huge amount of bleu, blance, rouge sweaters in the crowd when they are hosted by a Flames squad with just one win in four home dates.
LINEUP NOTES:
Flames RW David Jones will return to the lineup after missing the last eight games due to a lower-body injury.
LW/RW Mason Raymond, who is tied for the team lead with five goals, is out on a week-to-week basis due to a shoulder injury after a hit by Brooks Orpik late in the Washington game. Raymond was placed on the injured reserved list to make a spot on the 23-man roster for Jones.
Jonas Hiller is tabbed to start in goal as the Flames continue their rotation between the pipes.
For the Habs, expect Carey Price in goal for the team which lost 3-0 in Edmonton Monday night.
BURNING QUESTION:
Will losing his temper in reaction to a player jamming at his goalie last game be what LW Curtis Glencross needs to get his mojo? The pending unrestricted free-agent winger has just one goal and three points in the first 10 games of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Flames: D Dennis Wideman will look to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games, which would tie a franchise record for a defenceman, set by Gary Suter in 1988.
Canadiens: RW Rene Bourque has no goals, one assist and a team-worst minus-6 rating in nine games this season. Let’s see if facing his former team can light a fire.
FAST FACT:
Canadiens goalie Carey Price has a career record of 2-4-0, with one shutout, and a 3.04 goals-against average in his career when going against Calgary. The Flames have won their last seven home games against the Habs.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“It’s all about their speed. Turnovers for us, we have to keep them to a very, very low minimum. They’re a great skating hockey club, not only their forwards but their d-men. It’s a young team that’s really exciting to watch because they have lots of speed and are pretty gifted around the net, so we can’t give them too many chances.” – Flames head coach Bob Hartley.

Flames Lines
FORWARDS
Jiri Hudler-Sean Monahan-Joe Colborne
Johnny Gaudreau-Mikael Backlund-Paul Byron
Curtis Glencross-Matt Stajan-David Jones
Brandon Bollig-Lance Bouma-Josh Jooris
DEFENCE
Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid-Deryk Engelland
GOAL
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

SCRATCHES: RW Devin Setoguchi, RW Brian McGrattan, D Raphael Diaz
INJURED: C Sam Bennett (shoulder), LW Mason Raymond (upper body) are out.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Big chance for Flames’ first home-ice win

- October 23rd, 2014

RANDY SPORTAK
Calgary Sun
Flames vs. Hurricanes
TIME: 7 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet Flames
RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN
THE MAIN STORYLINE:
The Flames will look to claim their first home-ice victory of the season, having dropped their opener 4-2 to the Vancouver Canucks and then falling 2-1 in overtime to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes give them a good chance, being the only team in the NHL without a victory yet this season.
LINEUP NOTES:
Other than turning to goalie Jonas Hiller as their rotation continues, the Flames will go with the same lineup that surrendered the late lead to the Tampa Bay Lightning to kick off this five-game homestand.
The Hurricanes have opted to turn to Alberta boy Cam Ward in net.
Ryan Murphy is to go into the lineup on the second defence pairing.
BURNING QUESTION:
When will Sean Monahan break out from his early season slump? No goals in the first eight games for last season’s 22-goal scorer and no points in the last six outings.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Flames: D Dennis Wideman. The oft-criticized blueliner who was scratched in the second game of the season, has scored three goals in the last four games. He scored four goals all of last season.
Hurricanes: C Victor Rask. While the Staal brothers are out of action due to injury, the former Calgary Hitmen is in a big role, skating on the second line. This is his first game back to the Saddledome, so you know he wants to impress all the friends on hand.
FAST FACT:
Considering how awful the Flames have been on faceoffs the past many years, it’s a big step forward that Sean Monahan (52.7%) and Mikael Backlund (51.4%) are on the plus side of the break-even mark, especially since they take the bulk of the draws. On the other side of the spectrum, Matt Stajan is at 39.2%.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“We’re trying to create a bit more offence. We’re playing well, we’re doing lots of good things, but I’d like us to score three, four, five goals a game. I know it’s tough, scoring goals in the NHL is the toughest thing that you can ask a player, but I think we’re growing well as a team.” Coach Bob Hartley on moving Joe Colborne on the wing with Sean Monahan.

Flames Lines
FORWARDS
Joe Colborne-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler
Curtis Glencross-Matt Stajan-Paul Byron
Mason Raymond-Mikael Backlund-Johnny Gaudreau
Brandon Bollig-Lance Bouma-Josh Jooris
DEFENCE
Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid-Deryk Engelland
GOAL
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo
SCRATCHES: RW Devin Setoguchi, RW Brian McGrattan, D Raphael Diaz
INJURED: RW David Jones (lower body)

Hurricanes Lines
FORWARDS
Jiri Tlusty-Riley Nash-Alexander Semin
Jeff Skinner-Victor Rask-Elias Lindholm
Chris Terry-Jay McClement-Zach Boychuck
Brad Malone-Patrick Brown-Brody Sutter
DEFENCE
Andrew Sekera-Justin Faulk
Ryan Murphy -Tim Gleason
Ron Hainsey-Brett Belmore
GOAL
Cam Ward
Anton Khubodin

SCRATCHES: D Jay Harrison.
INJURED: C Erik Staal (upper body), LW Nathan Gerbe (lower body), D John-Michael Liles (lower body. RW Patrick Dwyer (lower body) and C Jordan Staal (broken leg).

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Gaudreau and Setoguchi tapped to face Jets

- October 19th, 2014

RANDY SPORTAK
Calgary Sun
Flames vs. Jets
TIME: 5 p.m.
TV: City TV
RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN
THE MAIN STORYLINE:
The Flames are ending their six-game road trip with a chance to make it a four-win journey with a rare visit to Winnipeg – rare since the Jets relocated to Winnipeg from Atlanta. It’s only the second Flames visit.
LINEUP NOTES:
After being a healthy scratch last game, Friday in Columbus, LW Johnny Gaudreau is slated to return to the lineup. As well, RW Devin Setoguchi is pegged to be in action against his former team.
RW Josh Jooris is out due to an upper-body injury suffered in his NHL debut, and RW Brian McGrattan is to sit.
On top of that, the Flames are mixing up their lines, moving Joe Colborne to the wing on a line with Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler, Matt Stajan up from the fourth line to play with Curtis Glencross and Setoguchi and Gaudreau would skate with Mason Raymond and Mikael Backlund.
At least, that’s the plan to start.
Jonas Hiller is to play in goal, continuing the rotation.
The Jets have switched up their lines, too, having scored just one goal in the last three games. Ondrej Pavelec is tagged to start in goal.
BURNING QUESTION:
Will the Flames be on their way home before puck drop or after? It’s not uncommon for a team on a long road trip to have a dud of a finale with the excitement of going home.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Flames: LW Johnny Gaudreau. The rookie with no points and just one shot on goal in his first five games to start the season, is to return after being a scratch in Columbus.
Jets: C Bryan Little. Too little attention is paid to the Jets centre, who has three goals this season.
FAST FACT:
Winnipeg’s penalty killer have been perfect this season, snuffing all 18 shorthanded situations.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“Before we ask him anything, we have to know who is Johnny at the NHL level. That’s the biggest question. We’re still learning to know Johnny. … Before I go to him and say, ‘OK, you need to do this, this, this and this,’ I need what Johnny can do for our hockey club. Brad (Treliving) in training camp had the best line, ‘With the puck, he’s an NHL player, without the puck we don’t know yet.’ This guy has played with the puck on his stick his entire career. That’s a huge adjustment. We’re showing him video of positional play, not puck watching, not getting beat, not beating yourself by bad positioning, stuff like this, how to compete and find a way to use his size to his advantage. Those are all things we’re trying to work with, but we need to see more (time) from Johnny to have a better picture.” – Flames coach Bob Hartley on the next steps for Johnny Gaudreau.

Projected Flames lines
FORWARDS
Joe Colborne-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler
Curtis Glencross-Matt Stajan-Devin Setoguchi
Johnny Gaudreau-Mikael Backlund-Mason Raymond
Brandon Bollig-Paul Byron-Lance Bouma
DEFENCE
Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid-Raphael Diaz
GOAL
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

SCRATCHES: RW Brian McGrattan
INJURED: RW Josh Jooris (upper body), RW David Jones (lower body) and D Deryk Engelland (lower body).

Projected Jets lines
FORWARDS
Mathieu Perreault-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler
Andrew Ladd-Bryan Little-Dustin Byfuglien
TJ Galiardi-Adam Lowry-Michael Frolik
Chris Thorburn-Jim Slater-Anthony Peluso

DEFENCE
Tobias Enstrom-Zach Bogosian
Mark Stuart-Jacob Trouba
Paul Postma-Adam Pardy
GOALIES
Ondrej Pavelec
Michael Hutchinson

SCRATCHES: RW Matt Halischuk, Grant Clitsome
INJURED: LW Evander Kane (knee).
randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Gaudreau likely a scratch with Jorris’ debut

- October 17th, 2014

RANDY SPORTAK
Calgary Sun
Flames vs. Blue Jackets
TIME: 5 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet West
RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN
THE MAIN STORYLINE:
The Flames will look to win a third straight game on this trip. With luck, it won’t go to extra time, as was the case in their victories over the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks. Then again, with the history between these clubs, you can almost bank on overtime.
LINEUP NOTES:
Josh Jooris, the right winger who had a strong training camp but was sent to the minors, was summoned from the AHL Adirondack Flames and will make his NHL debut. It appears he’ll skate with Jiri Hudler and Sean Monhan.
With LW Lance Bouma likely returning after missing last game due to a facial injury – during the Nashville game he went face-first into the boards after a check and was wearing a cage – it means LW Johnny Gaudreau and Devin Setoguchi are the likely scratches at forward.
Head coach Bob Hartley wouldn’t confirm those were the moves, saying “game-time decision” about it all.
Karri Ramo is to play in goal, continuing the rotation we’ve seen to start the season.
The Blue Jackets will have RW Corey Tropp make his season debut, in for now injured C Marko Dano, which gives the team five key players on the shelf.
G Sergei Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner, is to start in net.
BURNING QUESTION:
Can the Flames keep winning with so much reliance on their goaltending? Sure, they have three victories on this trip, but it’s taken outstanding efforts between the pipes for them.
PLAYER TO WATCH:
Flames: RW Josh Jooris. Always, always, always watch a player skating in his first NHL encounter. It’s uncanny how many score in their debut.
Blue Jackets: C Ryan Johansen. A prime example of the big, skilled first-line winger the Flames have spent a generation trying to find. Johansen missed training camp but goes into the game with five points in three games.
QUOTES TO NOTE:
“We will make our decisions after the warmup. It’s rare we go that way, but we have two players that are iffy. We just want to make sure,” head coach Bob Hartley said when asked about Gaudeau’s status for the game.
Hartley added: “When we’re dealing about young players, it’s always about doing what’s best for them, because in the long run what’s best for them is best for the organization. We have quite a few, and the beauty or the problem is that we’re starting to have depth. Last year, we were starting to have depth but our decisions were way easier than we have right now.”

Gaudreau, who wouldn’t say what he’s been told regarding tonight’s game, said of his situation. “It’s been a slow start throughout the beginning of the season, but it’s my first real season. Whether I play tonight or not, I’m excited for the guys and hope they get the win. I’m excited for Josh Jooris to get his first game.
“The guys here are bigger, smarter, faster (than in the NCAA ranks). This game’s just a whole level up. It’s a little time to get used to an adjust to, I’m playing with a lot of talented players in the locker room that are going to help me get there throughout the season. I’m excited to see where I end up in a few more weeks.”

Projected Flames lines
FORWARDS
Jiri Hudler-Sean Monahan-Josh Jooris
Curtis Glencross-Mikael Backlund-Paul Byron
Lance Bouma-Joe Colborne-Mason Raymond
Brandon Bollig-Matt Stajan-Brian McGrattan
DEFENCE
Mark Giordano-TJ Brodie
Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid-Raphael Diaz
GOAL
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

SCRATCHES: LW Johnny Gaudreau, RW Devin Setoguchi
INJURED: RW David Jones (lower body), LW Lance Bouma (face) and D Deryk Engelland (lower body).

Projected Blue Jackets lines
FORWARDS
Nick Foligno-Ryan Johansen-Cam Atkinson
Scott Hartnell-Artem Anisimov-Alexander Wennberg
Matt Calvert-Mark Letestu-Jack Skille
Corey Tropp-Michael Chaput-Jared Boll
DEFENCE
Jack Johnson-David Savard
Tim Erixon-James Wisniewski
Fedor Tyutin-Dalton Prout
GOALIES
Sergei Bobrovsky
Curtis McElhinney

SCRATCHES: D Cody Goloubef, RW Adam Cracknell
INJURED: D Ryan Murray (knee) and RW Marko Dano (undisclosed), RW Nathan Horton (back), C/LW Boone Jenner (hand) and C Brandon Dubinsky (abdomen) are all out.
randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca
On Twitter: @SunRandySportak

Bouma OK to play ‘Hawks, but Engelland out

- October 15th, 2014

RANDY SPORTAK

Calgary Sun

Flames at Blackhawks

TIME: 6 p.m.

TV: Sportsnet

RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

THE MAIN STORYLINE:

The Flames have managed to win two of three games to start their six-game road swing. They have a golden chance to make it a really good trip when they face the very strong Chicago Blackhawks at the Madhouse on Madison. Then again, the Hawks have started strong, with a pair of wins to kick off the campaign.

LINEUP NOTES:

Despite missing most of the third period Tuesday night in Nashville, Flames LW Lance Bouma is expected to be OK to play. However, not as good of news for D Deryk Engelland, who suffered a lower-body injury, believed to be a pulled groin, so Raphael Diaz is to draw back in.

The Hawks are planning to use the same lineup that has them 2-0.

BURNING QUESTION:

Can Jonas Hiller get his first win? Karri Ramo has looked very strong winning both of his starts, but Hiller has lost his two games and not been able to come up with that one spectacular save needed to put a team like this over the top on a nightly basis.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Calgary: Captain Mark Giordano has simply been outstanding to start the season, having netted five points in the first four games.

Chicago: If it’s possible, Marian Hossa remains one of the league’s under-rated players, and a fantastic defensive player who should receive more consideration for the Selke Trophy.

FAST FACT:

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford has a 3-2-2 record against the Flames, which sounds good, but then you realize the Flames actually have collected more wins against the Hawks with Crawford in net (4) than losses (3).

QUOTE TO NOTE:

“It’ll be mixed emotions. I’m excited. It’s always fun to play in this building, regardless of what team you play for.” – Flames LW Brandon Bollig, acquired from Chicago in the off-season, on facing his former team for the first time.

Flames lines

FORWARDS

Jiri Hudler-Sean Monahan-Devin Setoguchi

Curtis Glencross-Mikael Backlund-Paul Byron

Mason Raymond-Joe Colborne-Johnny Gaudreau

Brandon Bollig-Matt Stajan-Lance Bouma

DEFENCE

TJ Brodie-Mark Giordano

Kris Russell-Dennis Wideman

Ladislav Smid-Raphael Diaz

GOAL

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

SCRATCHES: RW Brian McGrattan

INJURED: D Deryk Engelland (lower body), RW David Jones (lower body), C Sam Bennett (shoulder).

Blackhawks Lines

FORWARDS

Patrick Sharp-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa

Brandon Saad-Andrew Shaw-Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell-Brad Richards-Ben Smith

Daniel Carcillo-Marcus Kruger-Jeremy Morin

DEFENCE

Duncan Keith-Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya-David Rundblad

Niklas Hjalmarsson-Trevor van Riemsdyk

GOAL

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

SCRATCHES: D Kyle Cumiskey

INJURED: LW Kris Versteeg (lower body), D Michal Rozsival (upper body)

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SunRandySportak