Zadorov Requests Trade —Wolf Starts — TO Tops Calgary — Game Day vs. Ottawa
Happy Remembrance Day.
The Calgary Flames rallied from a 3-1 deficit last night before losing in the shootout to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Leafs-Flames games have been exciting affairs in the past three seasons and this one was no exception. Let’s take a look at some storylines before we move on to game day in Ottawa.
Big Z Leaving 403?
Per Kevin Weekes and confirmed by Pierre LeBrun, Nikita Zadorov’s representation, Dan Milstein has requested a trade on behalf of the player.
It makes sense. The 6’6” defenceman ranks fifth on the Flames blue line in ice time per game at 18:16. His stock is falling. 14 goals at even strength or 6v5 last season. 7 assists to go with that. This year he’s on pace for around seven goals and 28 assists.
There are teams that have the need for a defenceman like Zadorov. The winner for most hits in 2017-18 could earn himself a much more impressive contract by going to a team willing to roll him out on the first pairing and first power play.
The most likely situation is that this is simply a power play by Milstein. The organization put extension talks on hold last week and Zadorov distances himself from a career season with each passing day. Pierre LeBrun confirms that Milstein wants a quick resolution to the trade demand.
Milstein has been working hard at it. He’s informed beat reporters from Vancouver, Toronto and New Jersey that he would welcome a trade to their city. He also tweeted this.
Huska shortened the bench at 16:10 of the third. It’s likely that he didn’t want DeSimone losing the team a chance at overtime and his defence partner, Nikita found himself an unfortunate casualty.
We All Make Mistakes
What a gaffe by the refs on Kadri’s goal. The refs blow the play down while the puck is loose, Kadri knocks the loose puck into the net, Nazem gets two for Slashing.
The refs gave a make-up call on Toronto’s Jake McCabe minutes later. It’s a tough job, but what a game-changing blunder.
Trust in Youth
Seven minutes into the first period saw Connor Zary tying the game 1-1 by picking up his own rebound and putting a snap shot away. The 22 year old has a point in every game he’s played this season. That includes ten points in six games in the AHL. The Saskatoon Sniper is on pace for 37 goals and 37 assists in 73 games. Yowza.
Martin Pospisil is no slouch either. Including last night’s game-tying goal, he has two markers in three career games. That puts the 23 year old on pace for 48 goals and zero assists over 72 games. Both are laughably unsustainable, but the projections underline their strong short-term play.
On the note of young players, Daniel Vladar had two tough shots that got past him and two that he would likely want back. Not enough to warrant starting both games in a back-to-back. Expect Dustin Wolf to get the tap.
One more note on Zary. How nice was it to see the young man getting shifts in overtime? We’re a long way from the Sutter Era. At one point last season, Matt Tkachuk went on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast and lamented about Darryl’s lack of trust in him in the three-on-three format.
Mark Giordano will never buy a beer again in Calgary. The Toronto native did so much for the community as well as the organization — he deserves a discussion regarding retiring his jersey when he decides to hang them up.
With that said, there were some old memories coming back seeing Gio in the latter half of last night’s affair. First, he tries to stir it up with Mikael Backlund at the end of the second period. He follows that up at the start of period three by bouncing off Dillon Dube into his own goaltender Justin Woll. Gio caps it with a foot-pass setup to Martin Pospisil for the game-tying goal.
Now 40, Mark was on the ice for the last two Calgary goals.
You had to laugh at that commentary. The puck bounces over Andrew Mangiapane’s stick when his backhand forehand breakaway deke gave him a look at the open net?
“What a play by Woll!”
Never change, Toronto.
Calgary had three great chances to finish the game in overtime and just couldn’t get the puck to calm down.
Game number two of Calgary’s back-to-back is the 5-7-0 Ottawa Senators. Following a hot 3-1-0 start, the Sens have only two wins in their last eight games. Oddly enough, both teams share that statistic.
Both groups also happen to be coming off of a losing performance. Calgary dropped last night in the shootout and Ottawa found themselves victim to the early-season juggernaut that is Rick Tochett’s Canucks.
A few notes and observations.
We’re not getting much news on Ryan Huska’s lineup decisions given that the team played last night. Could this be 22 year old Dustin Wolf’s first start of the season? Most signs point to “Yes”. Backup Daniel Vladar looked solid if unspectacular last night and Jacob Markstrom has been nursing something since at least Wednesday.
Update: Dustin Wolf will get the start.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Based on last night’s lines.
Through the Static
On top of a bit of D-man drama with Zadorov, Calgary will have their hands full tonight in terms of defending. Ottawa’s offence ranks third-best in the National Hockey League at 3.83 goals per game.
There are a lot of weapons on that team. Tim Stutzle creates a ton of space with his high-end skating and elite passing game. Brady Tkachuk has been pushing around defences and has finished eight scoring plays in 12 games. Claude Giroux is having a renaissance season with 14 points in 12 outings. The same can be said for Vladimir Tarasenko, who is on pace for the mid-70s in points.
On defence, Jakob Chychrun (11) and Jake Sanderson (9) are flirting with a point-per-game production.
Just a ton of firepower for a team that played three periods and an overtime. If this was one of Ottawa’s trademark matinee games you could write it off as a schedule loss.
Ottawa Senators Lineup
Courtesy of TSN1200. @TSN1200 No word on who is starting. Update at warmups.
What’s the Catch?
Are there any weaknesses to the Senators? How is this team 5-7-0?
Their penalty kill is one issue. 73.2 puts them 24th. As a side fact, the Flames are 4th in that category at 87.8%. Brady Tkachuk leads the way (34) for a team struggling with discipline. They place 10th in penalty minutes received.
This recent skid has also featured the opposition building a bit of a nest egg lead before Ottawa starts making a push in the late game to tie it up. A strong start will be essential to leaving Canadian Tire Centre with a point or two.
Game time is 5:00 pm MST. Catch the broadcast on Sportsnet.
Stats via espn.com and naturalstattrick.com.