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Ruzicka in the Doghouse? Huberdeau’s Confidence Building — Flames-Penguins

November 23, 2022, 9:02 PM ET [27 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins enter today in oddly similar situations.

The Flames 9-7-2. The Penguins 9-7-3.

Both have won three of their last four.

They’ve both had seven game losing streaks. Strangely enough, both losing streaks started with a loss to the Oilers.

One last one.

Both teams are coming off wins that were a bit too close for comfort given the opposition they were playing. The Flames allowing the Flyers to sneak within a goal after a giveaway by Andrew Mangiapane. The Penguins stepped off the gas and allowed Chicago to erase a 3-0 lead before Sidney Crosby decided to take the game on his back with three minutes left in the third.

That brings us to an important note prior to today’s game.


Sidney is Rolling
Eleven points in his last five, including four in his most recent game. Four goals in that same time frame. Chances are we see a much different performance than what we saw out of the future Hall of Fame inductee when the Penguins were in town on October 24.

A 4-1 Flames win. A game that saw Nazem Kadri score two first period goals against a Penguins team that had finished playing in Edmonton only 21-some hours prior. The Penguins have had two full days between today’s game and their win over Chicago. Fatigue shouldn’t be a factor.


Flames Projected Lineup

Ruzicka-Lindholm-Toffoli
Dube-Kadri-Mangiapane
Huberdeau-Backlund-Coleman
Lucic-Rooney-Lewis

Hanifin-Andersson
Zadorov-Weegar
Tanev-Gilbert

Vladar
Markstrom

Dennis the Menace
Gilbert practiced with Tanev today. It’s looking like he’ll stay in over Micheal Stone returning. Great news for the 26 year old. He’s quietly done well in terms of shot metrics while on the ice.

Dennis Gilbert
GP: 5
5v5 TOI: 54:43
5v5 CF%: 60.74 (5th on the Flames)

Sutter has to be a fan of his extracurriculars.

Fights: 3
Minor Penalties Taken: 0

Despite things looking great, he’s still been on the ice for two goals against and zero for at even strength. It will come with more ice time, but Gilbert still looks a bit awkward on the offensive blue line.

In fact, the native of Buffalo, New York has zero points in 13 games this season across the AHL and NHL. Last season he had 23 points in 52 games with the Colorado Eagles of the AHL. He’ll get on the board sooner or later.

The Hot Hand
Adam Ruzicka has been making the most of his time on the first line.

Since November 12 — Adam Ruzicka
GP: 5
TOI/GP: 13:34
Shots: 7
Goals: 4
Sh%: 57.1%

Scoring two goals on two shots against the Panthers certainly helps this column. It would be nice to see Ruzicka increase his shot volume per game.

The 6’4” Slovak may be in Darryl’s dog house. While Andrew Mangiapane coughed the puck up to Joel Farabee leading to the Flames lead being cut in half, Ruzicka neglected to forecheck the puck carrier at the beginning of the play at the other end of the ice. Instead, he loftily coasted to the bench.

That was Ruzicka’s last shift in the game. He sat for the final ten and a half minutes.


Huberdeau
It’s been fun to watch a bit of confidence return in Jonathan Huberdeau’s game. One could theorize that it all began when he scored in round two of the shootout against his former team, the Florida Panthers. The 29 year old from St. Jerome potted a goal against the Flyers that was very similar to his shootout marker.


Game time is 5:00pm mst. Catch the game on Sportsnet One in Canada or TVA Sports in the States.


Trevor Neufeld


@Trevor_Neufeld


Stats via naturalstattrick.com and nhl.com.
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