The 11-7 Formula
After finding success using 11 forwards, the Flames coaching staff may opt to utilize the strategy in the future
Instead of the usual 12, only 11 forwards suited up for the Northwest Division clash against the Colorado Avalanche. Matt Stajan and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond sat as healthy scratches while Curtis Glencross was sidelined with what head coach Brent Sutter diagnosed as lower body soreness.
On the blueline, seven defenders suited up meaning Anton Babchuk played his first game since Oct. 15 in Toronto.
The newly-fashioned lineup proved successful. The Flames toppled the Avs by a score of 4-2 and had what may have been their most complete effort of the 2011-12 season. Every player was involved, putting their all into every single shift.
Now, after seeing such performance turned in by his troops, does Sutter opt utilize the 11-7 formula once again?
"There's a chance, yep," he said on Thursday. "I think sometimes it keeps your team mentally sharp throughout the night too. Their awareness is really good on the bench."
Sutter was particularly pleased with Babchuk's performance, saying the team missed his howitzer from the point.
"You look at our third goal - Babs shot is what created that," he stated, referring to Rene Bourque's power play marker.
Glencross took part in Thursday's practice at Westside Recreation Centre and, according to Sutter, is feeling much better than he did on Wednesday morning after the pre-game skate. He was placed alongside Olli Jokinen and David Moss, which means the trio dubbed the OMG line could potentially be reunited against the Blues if the winger is able to play.
Niklas Hagman, who played on the third line with Roman Horak and Lee Stempniak on Wednesday, looked to be the odd man out as he and Letourneau-Leblond skated without a centerman - typically an indication they will sit as healthy scratches.
Stajan was placed on the fourth line with wingers Tom Kostpoulos and Tim Jackman but given he did participate in Wednesday's optional pre-game skate and was centering the third line in days prior, it is not a given he won't once again find himself relegated to the press box.
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