After a day off on Sunday, your Calgary Flames (29-35-7, 65 points, 26th overall) are back in action tonight (7pm MT; Sportsnet) as they host the San Jose Sharks (46-18-8, 100 points, 3rd overall).
The Flames are a confident bunch after a Jekyll and Hyde weekend – with a somewhat sloppy 6-5 loss to Nashville followed by a 8-1 whuppin’ of the Edmonton Oilers. Despite the lop-sided score, the Flames corrected a lot of the little things they did wrong against Nashville, and they’ll need to be sharp against a Sharks club that’s hoping to smooth out its game as it heads towards the post-season.
The Sharks can clinch a playoff berth with a victory tonight.
THE HOME SIDE
No changes in the line-up from Saturday night (via Daily Faceoff):
Cammalleri – Backlund – Byron
Glencross – Stajan – Hudler
Agostino – Monahan – Colborne
Westgarth – Bouma – McGrattan
Brodie – Giordano
Butler – Russell
Smid – Wotherspoon
Calgary’s scored more goals than any other team since the trade deadline.
I know. I’m scared, too. And it’s been the team’s best players chipping in, including Paul Byron. This means that they’re able to give their bottom-six players more time as the game progresses. Edmonton’s collapse allowed Bob Hartley to roll four lines, and then focus on the bottom-six for the late stages of the game.
The big question is: can the Flames do the same thing against a GOOD team? They came out of the gate well against the Anaheim Ducks awhile ago, so that may be the template.
But lordy, please don’t hope for them to score seven goals again.
Keep an eye on Calgary’s special teams. They’ve allowed just 3 power-play goals against since the trade deadline and have scored 8 themselves.
San Jose’s lines, via Daily Faceoff!
Pavelski – Thornton – Burns
Marleau – Couture – Nieto
Wingels – Sheppard – Havlat
Brown – Desjardins – Burish
Vlasic – Demers
Hannan – Boyle
Irwin – Braun
Not a lot new can be said about the Sharks. They’re pretty good and they should be close to fully healthy by the playoffs, so pity the poor suckers that get to face them. They’re also on a roll lately, having lost once in regulation (to Florida) and once in extra time (to Washington) in their last nine games.
Deep team. Scoring depth. Good mix of old players and young players.
The Sharks have scored 3 power-play goals and allowed 3 power-play goals in their last nine games. Special teams may play a factor tonight.
SUM IT UP
Calgary has been pretty good of late. They’ve gotten healthier. Their recalls have contributed well. They’ve beaten some good teams and haven’t been embarrassed. In a season where the club has been trying to lay a foundation for the future, tonight’s another chance for them to prove that their rebuild may be able to progress faster than anybody anticipated.
Or at the very least, they can make the Sharks wait for another day to clinch a playoff spot.