Okay, so in keeping with my promise of more frequent contributions to this here blog, I will compose a brief pre-game post for you, but mostly I just want to show you the Blingees I made last night. If you don't know what Blingees are, visit Kim and Zoe at Puck Huffers, because only they can do them justice. Anywho, inspired by their ability to summon the Penguins out of a slump by creating gaudy, over-the-top, bedazzled images featuring the likeness of a hockey player of choice and some well-placed stamps, I made it my mission to do the same. The Flames are not in a slump per-say, but I figured Blingees can serve multiple purposes, thus I present you with these creations of mine:
Blingees are officially the new Paint.
Ok, back to business. The Flames are back at the 'Dome after an outwardly successful three-game road trip where they earned five out of six points. Despite climbing to within one point of the Avalanche, who coincidentally, are their opponents tonight, the Flames were outworked, outshot, and generally outplayed in all but one of those games, and Brent Sutter made his displeasure with his club perfectly clear, as he always does. This is where shit starts to get serious. Yes, it's only November, but the Flames have a chance to grab the division lead with a win tonight over the Avs, who are 0-2-1 in their last three. Points at any time in the season are invaluable, as is a division lead; we all know how quickly those can disappear.
Curtis Glencross returns to the lineup tonight after serving his three-game suspension for his hit to the head of New York's Chris Drury, and was welcomed back with the assignment of first-line duty, as he will suit up alongside Iginla and Jokinen. I have expressed my displeasure with the rotating nature of the left-wing position on the Flames first line before, and believe it is something that has to be earned through hard work and consistency.
Before Glencross was suspended, he had been demoted to a third-line role as the coaching staff had been unsatisfied with his play. In his absence, Moss and Boyd really stepped up, and were some of the team's best forwards in Buffalo and Toronto; the line of Nystrom-Boyd-Moss was effective at five-on-five and on special teams, and will start the game together again tonight. Maybe Glencross will be motivated by the injustice of his three-game exile and pull one of his game-changing stunts that have endeared him to Flames fans.
McGrattan is presumably a healthy scratch.
This game will be a tough test for a Flames squad that seemed intimidated by the opposition's speed and aggressive forecheck in their last two outings. The key to success for them will be to limit turnovers and scoring chances off turnovers, which seems to be Colorado's go-to offensive strategy. Cleaner, quicker exits from the defensive zone are also crucial against a team like the Avs, and as always, the outshooting the opposition usually helps.
If Jokinen could get a goal or two that would be nice as well. Perhaps the Blingee I made for him will help.
Game time is 7:30 (Sportsnet West)