Game Day Report: Flames at Flyers
News and notes prior to the Flames and Flyers meeting in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon
The Calgary Flames will close out their three-game road swing this afternoon in Philadelphia and won’t return to game action near the end of February with a home date against the Los Angeles Kings on the 27th of the month.
The club will resume skating on Feb. 18 but will take a full nine days off before returning to the ice.
Only netminder Reto Berra and blueliner Ladislav Smid will travel to Sochi to suit up for their respective countries.
The Flames have earned 51 points in the 57 contests this season and currently sit 13th in the Western conference, 13 points shy of a Wild Card playoff position.
OLYMPIC MENTION FOR BACKS
Mikael Backlund’s performance of late has turned a lot of heads and also created quite a stir on Social Media in the past few days.
The Flames forward was rumored to have been chosen to replace the injured Henrik Sedin on Team Sweden for the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Backlund admits it was nice to get some recognition but said he primary focus us with the Flames.
”The media has considered me, I don’t know if the coach has [considered me], I have no clue,” Backlund said after the Flames practice in Philadelphia on Friday. “It’s nice to get some credit in the Swedish media and here [Calgary] too, but you guys usually give me some love. It was nice to get mentioned in the best newspapers in Sweden, it was a good buzz about me and some positive things going around but I still don’t know if the coach was even considering me.
“But I feel good about myself. All I can do is just focus on myself and my game in Calgary, that’s my number one concern and my number one focus is to win games here.”
The 24-year-old decided to put an end to all the speculations circulating through Social Media, so he sent out a Tweet on Friday morning.
“Thank you all for the kind words. Going to the #Olympics would've been a dream come true. I wish team Sweden all the best and good luck!!”
Backlund wanted to stop any more rumors from floating and around and thought it would be best to move on.
“I didn’t want to take credit for something that may not happen,” Backlund said. “My phone was blowing up so I just wanted to calm everything down and I didn’t want to cause any confusion for anybody so I just thought it would be good to send out a Tweet,”
Flames head coach Bob Hartley indicated that the Olympic recognition from the media is a testament to how the forward has progressed this season.
“I think that his progression is phenomenal and we notice it the most because obviously we watch it every day,” said Hartley. “It’s unfortunate [that he didn’t get picked by the Swedish Olympic team] but people are paid to make decisions and I’m sure that they made the best decision that they thought could help Team Sweden.”
Bob Hartley has decided to insert rued forward Kevin Westgarth back into the lineup for Saturday’s matinée affair against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Philadelphia leads the NHL in penalty minutes with an average of over 15 minutes per game. The Flyers also lead the league in majors, with 38.
“Westgarth will be in,” Hartley said from Philadelphia on Friday. “We [haven’t] decided yet who’s coming out so probably tonight we’ll sit [down] with the coaches and tomorrow morning we’ll look at it for a final time and decide who’s going to come out [of the lineup].”
Westgarth skated on a unit with TJ Galiardi and Brian McGrattan. The 6’4”, 234lb forward was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for prospect Greg Nemisz back on Dec. 30. The 30-year-old has one goal and two points along with 36 penalty minutes in 29 games this season.
Netminder Ret Berra will get the start today in Philadelphia.
Bob Hartley has elected to go with the hot hand. Berra turned in a sold performance on Thursday against the Islanders and said it wouldn’t make much sense to take him out at this point.
“I don’t think it would be very honest to not put Reto [Berra] back [in] and after the game he gave us [in Long Island],” Hartley said. “I think it’s normal that he goes back in net tomorrow.”
Berra turned aside 28 shots in the Flames 3-2 win over the Islanders on Thursday.
All time vs. Philadelphia: 27-30-4-0-2
At Philadelphia: 12-19-4-1-0
Season Series: 0-1
Last game at PHI: Nov 26, 2010 – CGY 3 at PHI 2 (SO)
Last game at PHI: Nov 26, 2010 – CGY 3 at PHI 2 (SO)
Last win at CGY: Mar 22, 2001 - CGY 2 vs. PHI 1
LAST TEN PHI VS. CGY: 4-4-0-0-2
Four of the last ten matches between the two clubs have gone to extra time.
LAST TEN GAMES IN PHILADELPHIA: 5-3-1-0-1
Calgary was won five of their last six games against the Flyers in Philadelphia
"I’m coaching a proud bunch of guys. They want to do good. You look at Booms [Lance Bouma] and I believe he had four hits and four blocked shots on Thursday. Not too many fans can notice [that] from watching the game on TV but from the bench, starting with him, our defenceman and many other forwards, that is the commitment that we wanted to cultivate from day one at [training] camp."
- Bob Hartley
Tonight's battle with the Flyers will be broadcast on Sportsnet West (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio) starting at 11:00 AM MST.