FGD 45: Running with the Devils (7pm MT, SN West)

Ryan Pike
January 13 2017 12:00PM

The Calgary Flames passed a big test on Wednesday, beating the San Jose Sharks in a tight divisional game. Now they face another interesting test in the form of a pair of games in a 28 hour span. The first game features the Flames in a familiar position: facing one of the National Hockey League's worst teams, the New Jersey Devils. Once that's over with, they have to regroup and head to Edmonton to face the Oilers. Can the Flames focus on what's in front of them long enough to get two points against the Devils while a tremendously important Battle of Alberta clash looms on the immediate horizon?

The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

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Matthew Tkachuk probably won't hit his bonuses and that's great

Ryan Pike
January 12 2017 02:00PM

Let's get a simple fact out of the way right out of the gates: Matthew Tkachuk is a really good hockey player. The 19-year-old was selected by the Calgary Flames in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft. He made the team out of camp and he's found a home on the left side of Calgary's top line with Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund.

As a rookie on his entry-level contract, Tkachuk's success could potentially cause some future salary cap headaches for the Flames. Entry-level players are eligible for performance bonuses (which are added at the end of the season if they're reached) and the Flames are actually running $630,000 short on this year's cap because of all the bonuses they paid out last season to guys like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

If you're beginning to feel a bit worried about the cap, please don't be. The particularities of this season's rookie class will probably prevent Tkachuk from hitting a lot of his bonuses.

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Who gets called up if Micheal Ferland misses some games?

Ryan Pike
January 12 2017 10:00AM

Calgary Flames left wing Micheal Ferland left Wednesday night's game against the San Jose Sharks with a lower body injury. In the immediate aftermath of the game, it was unclear what Ferland's status is going to be for the weekend back-to-back against New Jersey and Edmonton on Friday and Saturday nights.

Given that Troy Brouwer is roughly a week away from a return and that the Flames are carrying just one extra forward (Freddie Hamilton), any potential absence for Ferland over the weekend may lead the Flames to call up a forward from the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat.

If they call up somebody, who will it be?

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Post-Game: Flames pass big test in divisional battle

Ryan Pike
January 11 2017 11:16PM

After a stretch of games where the Calgary Flames were able to bank a lot of points against the lesser lights of the National Hockey League, they've had a tough stretch of games against Vancouver (twice), Winnipeg and tonight's game against the San Jose Sharks where they've been playing in tight-checking games where the margin of error is very thin.

After letting some points slip through their grasp against Vancouver and Winnipeg, the Flames overcame a slow start to capture a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Sharks at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Once again the game turned not on the play of the team's most expensive forwards, but on the efforts of the much-heralded 3M Line of Matthew Tkachuk, Michael Frolik and Mikael Backlund.

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FGD 44: Measuring sticks (7:30pm MT, SN1)

Ryan Pike
January 11 2017 12:00PM

On Monday, the Calgary Flames had a big game against a conference rival in the Winnipeg Jets. It didn't go well, with the Flames struggling against the size and structure of the Jets game...and seemingly forgetting how to connect on passes for roughly half the game. Well, things don't get much easier for them tonight as they host the Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks.

Playing their second game in as many nights after a fairly entertaining tilt against the Edmonton Oilers last night, the Sharks are likely going to be a bit fatigued. In other words? This is the type of game that teams that make the playoffs find a way to win. If the Flames plan on being a playoff team, they're going to have to figure out how to beat the Sharks (and the Ducks, Kings, Blackhawks and Predators) in these types of situations.

The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan! (The game is joined-in-progress on Sportsnet West.)

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