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LGD: More Like The Lames

I mean, it’s the Flames after all. The Leafs still have John Tavares shooting on Mike Smith. Yes, Mike Smith of letting in 6 goals on 21 shots last week fame.

No Matthews sucks the big one, but it also means exciting new line combos, so let’s take a looksie….

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Morgan Rielly
MORGAN RIELLY
Ron Hainsey
RON HAINSEY
Jake Gardiner
JAKE GARDINER
Nikita Zaitsev
NIKITA ZAITSEV
Martin Marincin
MARTIN MARINCIN
Igor Ozhiganov
IGOR OZHIGANOV

I’ve expressed some concern over breaking up Marner and Tavares, since they’ve definitely worked well together. I get the spread it around philosophy you will try to argue, but I disagree with it. Luckily the first two lines still look pretty good, the third line looks like an interesting experiment, and we hopefully won’t see a lot of the fourth line. In an ideal world we’d see Leivo swapped for Brown in this situation, but nothing about an injured Matthews and unsigned Nylander is ideal.

Finally, we don’t see Dermott back in the lineup yet either. That kid must be hella sick. We also don’t see Holl, which is just sad because Hainsey and Zaitsev are begging to be taken out of the lineup.

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Mark Giordano
MARK GIORDANO
T.J. Brodie
T.J. BRODIE
Noah Hanifin
NOAH HANIFIN
Travis Hamonic
TRAVIS HAMONIC
Rasmus Andersson
RASMUS ANDERSSON
Juuso Valimaki
JUUSO VALIMAKI

Sweet Jesus, that’s how you build a blueline (of course this ignores that Giordano has been banged up, Brodie has been a steep decline, Travis Hamonic hasn’t been as advertised, and they’ll find a way to sneak Mike Stone in here at some point before game time.)

As good as the Flames defense is, their offense is, well, it looks okay on paper. Gaudreau and Monahan are a legit pair, and Sam Bennett is never going to get a chance like this again. Backlund and Tkachuk is another solid pair, and having Lindholm and Neal on the third line is a sign they really want to make a balanced attack work.

It should be noted that nothing has worked for the Flames and it would be a shame if that started tonight.

Goalers and Final Thoughts

It looks like it will be Andersen vs. Smith tonight, which is a positive for the Leafs. The fact that the Flames have lost their last three is also something we can look to as a source of optimism. The game starts at 7pm ET, and can be found on Sportsnet.

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