Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Predators
Notes from the Flames pre-game skate at the Scotiabank Saddledome
Ladislav Smid is still ailing from what Bob Hartley is describing as a "nagging injury".
It's not known at this time what Smid's injury is, but the bluliner didn't skate yesterday or this morning and will not play tonight against the Nashville Predators.
"It was a nagging injury," said Bob Hartley after the Flames morning skate. "We thought that he could play tonight but there was a doubt [that he could play tonight] so the medical staff gave us the decision that he can’t play so we’re going to keep treating him and I don’t expect him to be long but I can’t give you an exact time frame."
Shane O'Brien will slot in for Smid and participate in his 45th contest of the season. The veteran rearguard will be paired up with Dennis Wideman.
Paul Byron will return to the lineup after missing the match against Phoenix with a lower body injury. Byron will skate on the 4th unit with Kevin Westgarth and Blair Jones as Brian McGrattan will also take the night off with an undisclosed injured suffered on Wednesday.
Michael Cammalleri skated with the team this morning for the first time since he suffered a concussion in the January 12th game versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Hartley indicated that Cammalleri is very close to a return.
“He’s not cleared for contact but he skated the last two days and felt great," said Hartley. "He felt great and worked in the gym and the medical staff allowed him to skate with the team so it’s a step closer.”
The 31-year-old forward has suited up in 37 games this season accumulating 21 points.
He also missed the first seven games to start the 2-13-14 campaign with an upper body injury.
SHUTTING DOWN THE PREDS BLUELINE
The Nashville Predators boast one of the strongest bluelines in the Western Conference.
Their top two units, featuring Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Seth Jones and Ryan Ellis have combined for 26 markers this season. Flames head coach Bob Hartley knows they need to focus on the Preds defenceman to have success tonight.
“We’re going to try to play those guys, like Weber and Jones and Ellis, they’re pretty gifted and they are all known to have big shots," Hartley said. "They use their shots very effectively and accurate at the same time so we saw their winning goal last night and it’s not different.
It’s going to be a game that we’re going to have to grind and we know that they are going to be in our face. They’re a hard working team, a good forechecking team. They try to squeeze you at their blueline so we know exactly what we’re in for."
Flames rookie forward Sean Monahn echoed Hartley's comments.
“We played them about a week ago and we know what to expect, said the 19-year-old. "They’re a hard-working team and they have a lot of skilled defenceman back there so we have to play smart and be hard and we have to be hard on the back check.”
VERSUS THE PREDATORS
All-time vs. the Predators: 25-26-4-2-0
All-time vs. the Predators in Calgary: 14-8-3-2-0
Last 10 games vs. the Predators: 4-6-0-0
Last 10 games vs. the Predators in Calgary: 6-3-1-0
Calgary has won the last two consecutive games and four of the last five games over Nashville. Three of the last six games in Calgary have had the winning team earn a shutout.
“I feel pretty good about it right now. I feel a lot more confident with the puck. I’m making better plays out there and making plays when I’ve got more time. It’s been going pretty good so far.” - Lance Bouma on his play of late.
BRICKWALL SHOT BLOCKERS
The Flames have three players amoungst the NHL's top 10 shotblockers: Chris Butler - 134 (2nd), Ladislav Smid - 123 (5th) and Kris Russell - 111 (8th).
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
TJ Galiardi needs 4 points for 100.
Matt Stajan needs 5 games for 700.
Shane O'Brien needs 9 points for 100.
Lance Bouma needs 10 games for 100.
Tonight's tilt will be aired on Sportsnet Flames (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio) at 7:00 PM MST.