Flames vs Kings
8:30pm SNET-W & FAN 960
Sutter vs Sutter Round 2
Another crucial game for the Flames, but don’t you worry; Matt Stajan is back!
Flames go into LA after an exciting shootout loss to the Sharks where they played a decent game and had opportunities to win the game. Tonight’s game I expect to be a similar affair; both teams have great goaltending and I am sure it will be on the display again. The challenge for the Flames is getting that offence going. Players like Backlund, Stempniak and Comeau have to get back to creating offence and putting that puck in the net.
When you break down the stats between these two teams it is clear that the Kings are the better defensive team including on the penalty kill. Also LA can win face offs which for another season is an embarrassing stat for the Flames. This was not addressed in the off-season and so far into the season we still don’t have any capable centers who can win a draw consistently.
I expect a high intense style game as these two teams met last week and both clubs know how bad they need the points. With that being said I am nervous for the Flames, who in my opinion lack the skill to go along with the grinding effort.
This and That:It’s been out there that Feaster has contacted teams about certain centers (Gaustad & Vermette) really this should be no surprise to anyone. The Flames are terrible at face offs and our current group of centers in my opinion are not what we need moving forward. Backlund has been disappointing this year; if a broken pinky in camp affects a player this much and for this long than the doctor that helped him should lose his license. Horak/Byron, have shown exciting moments at times but are not ready for a full year in the NHL at center. Also neither guy will be more than a third line center; also keeping in mind Byron mostly plays on the wing now. Jokinen has been good not great but good, depending on his price tag we might be forced to re-sign him in the off season. Then there is Jones who has been great since he has been here and should solidify a spot on the bottom two lines as a center for years to come.
Feaster has to focus on the center position. Come July 1 there will not be much out there for good center- men, so the trade route might be his only way to improve that position. Gaustad would provide a big presence who can win face offs and hold down the third line. Vermette is a second line center and really we have a lot of those in the mix. But he brings speed and in a new environment can score 20-25 goals.
If next season our centers look like this: Vermette-Backlund-Gaustad-Jones/Horak, I would not be upset. With the UFA class we are not going to get a legitimate #1 center and we do not have the assets to acquire one in a trade. As of right now our centers next year would look like this: Backlund-Stajan-Horak-Jones, good luck in the West with that group.
GO FLAMES GO