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Preview: Slumping And Lackluster Flames Look To Snap Their 3 Game Skid

Whatever is happening isn’t working and the Flames need to correct it.



Calgary Flames vs New Jersey Devils, 8 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

Calgary Flames 5-4-0 (10 pts) – New Jersey Devils 8-3-0 (16 pts)

TV: SN1, CITY – Radio: Sportsnet 960

Odds: Calgary (+104) New Jersey (-127) O/U: 6.5

As weird as it sounds: mercifully the Flames eight game homestand is coming to a close as the first place NJ Devils come to the Saddledome tonight. Home cooking has not done the Flames well at all lately as the club has dropped three straight and looked uninspired, bored, terrible, listless, sloppy, undisciplined, you get the idea.

Calgary’s third loss came at the hands of the Nashville Predators Thursday night as the Flames looked like a team that was just tired of playing hockey in front of their home fans that looked like they were tired of seeing their team on home ice. What a fantastic combination a mere nine games into the season. Joy. Luckily for the Flames they will hit the road (three games) after tonight and try and fix what’s wrong with the squad.

What’s wrong? Well the big thing seems to be coaching right now. Darryl Sutter has mixed the lines up in what can only be described as frustrating fashion. Elias Lindholm is skating with the second line and he’s been saddled with Milan Lucic. We all love Looch, but he’s not a top six forward anymore. Hasn’t been for a while. Sutter is still tossing out players like Brett Ritchie and Trevor Lewis who are getting mixed results at best and there’s apparently no chance that any of Calgary’s young prospects are going to see the ice anytime soon or while Sutter is behind the bench. Darryl Sutter has coached 1405 more NHL games than this writer, but at some point you have look at what you are doing, realize it isn’t working, adjust or keep being a dinosaur awaiting that is waiting for inevitable space rock to make you extinct.

As for the Devils, life is good. They too missed out on the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes (so these two teams have that in common), but they don’t seem to shaken up about it. The Devils are in first place in the Metropolitan Division and are streaking as of late. After starting off 0-2, New Jersey has won eight of their last nine, including five in a row. Their last victory came in Edmonton on Thursday night. The Oilers held a 3-1 lead going into the third period, but NJ turned on the jets and scored three unanswered goals in the final frame to stun Edmonton 4-3. With a win Saturday night, New Jersey could sweep their Western Canadian road trip with wins over Vancouver, Edmonton and potentially the Flames.

For the Flames to snap this three game slide they’re going to need to be much more disciplined in all areas of their game, especially in the penalty area. Calgary is taking a lot of dumb penalties that are putting them in the position to defend man down more than they would like to. A few less passes and a few more shots might help too and not leaving your goaltender hanging after sloppy turnovers would be a pretty, pretty, pretty good idea as well. The do have a little going for them as NJ has dropped eight of the last ten games they played against the Flames in Calgary.

Puck drop is at 8 PM MT from the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Head To Head
Calgary Flames New Jersey Devils
5-4-0  Record  8-3-0 
10  Points  16 
5th Pacific  Division  1st Metropolitan 
29  GF  40 
29  GA  28 
21.2 (15th)  PP  20.2 (22nd) 
81.6 (11th)  PK  86.1 (4th) 
Kadri (5)  Goals Leader  Bratt (5) 
Kadri (10)  Points Leader  Bratt (17) 
Zadorov (17)  PIM  Wood (25) 
Markstrom (.903)  Save%  Vanecek (.911) 
2-3-0  Last 5  5-0-0 
71-26-11  Overall VS  26-71-11 

Starting Goalies

Calgary: Markstrom (E)- 4-2-0, 2.68 GAA, .903 Sv%

New Jersey: Vanecek (E)- 4-1-0, 2.06 GAA, .911 Sv%

Injury Report

Calgary: Oliver Kylington (IR/Personal), Tanev (Day to Day/UBI)

New Jersey: Bernier (IR-LT/Hip), Palat (IR/Groin), Blackwood (Day to Day/Undisclosed)

Game Social

@NHLFlames, @NJDevils, @matchsticksCGY, @AATJerseyBlog, #NJDevils, #Flames, #CGYvsNJD

View From The Other Bench

SBN New Jersey Devils Coverage: All About The Jersey

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 1 – Nashville Predators 4

New Jersey Devils 4 – Edmonton Oilers 3

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Brett Ritchie (F): 4 points in last 5 games

New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes (C): 7 points in last 5 games

by Mark Parkinson