After a loss last night in the Big Apple, the Calgary Flames have trekked across the Hudson River into Newark, New Jersey, as they’ll face the New Jersey Devils tonight.
The Flames? They’re hoping to get back into a playoff spot with a win. The Devils? With some shoddy play by the Bruins of late – including blowing a 3-0 lead on the road to some Canadian team a few games back – the Devils have clawed back into a stone’s throw of the playoffs. It’s a battle of two teams desperate for playoff contention tonight at the Prudential Center!
The puck drops at 5:30pm MT and you can catch all the action on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Last night’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Given that Karri Ramo started and lost last night, despite playing really well, you might expect we get Jonas Hiller in net tonight. But Ramo’s strong play is being rewarded – particularly that save on J.T. Miller, wowzers – and he gets another start tonight in Jersey.
Beyond that, the rosters aren’t changing. Both Matt Stajan and Mason Raymond are back in Calgary for the impending births of their respective children with their respective wives, so the only extra bodies Calgary is carrying are Corey Potter and Brandon Bollig. Bollig could slot in, but I think both Michael Ferland and Emile Poirier did enough to warrant another game. Apparently the coaching staff did, too.
The Flames really need to do more to generate chances and hopefully they can get a penalty call or two going their way, too. They played a dump and chase game for two periods last night, then got down a goal, and then didn’t make any adjustments. On the back end of a back-to-back against an underrated Devils team, they’ll need to be more responsive. Going into Long Island on Friday with zero points for the trip would be pretty close to a disaster.
Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
I would suspect that Corey Schneider starts this evening. The Devils are basically the little engine that could of the NHL this season. They got off to a rough start and toiled in the bottom of the standings for awhile, but they’ve kept with it, didn’t make any panic moves, and now they’re creeping closer and closer to a playoff spot. Granted, i doubt they make it, but they’ve managed to claw their way back to respectability.
The Devils are a team with a strange construction, though. Everyone is either on the wrong side of 30, or pretty damn young. They don’t have a lot of bodies in that 25-30 age group, nor does it seem to be a big issue for their success. Plus, they have Jaromir Jagr, who is ageless and fantastic.
They’re a tough test for the Flames, and a completely different kind of challenge.
|Power Play||17.5% (20th)||19.5% (9th)|
|Penalty Kill||80.3% (21st)||79.8% (22nd)|
|Corsi||44.6% (28th)||47.2% (25th)|
|Corsi Close||45.8% (28th)||47.8% (23rd)|
|Faceoffs||47.9% (26th)||47.7% (27th)|
|PDO||101.4 (4th)||100.5 (12th)|
THE DRIVE TO 95
This is the only game this evening that impacts the playoff race. The Flames need 27 points in the remaining 22 games to hit 95 points. A win tonight vaults Calgary into the second wild-card spot, temporarily displacing the Wild (who would gain a game in hand).
SUM IT UP
Let’s not dress it up: The Flames have lost three in a row. They need a win to stay in the playoff race.