FGD #65: A Trip to Motown (5:30pm MT, SN West)

After a tough game last night in Boston, the Calgary Flames hope to build on their solid road trip record thus far (3-2-0 in five games) when they trek into Detroit to face the Red Wings.

The Red Wings are over 20 games above .500 – Calgary’s “just” 10 games over – and are one of the league’s more complete teams. It’ll be a tough test for the visitors.

The puck drops at 5:30pm MT and the game can be caught on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

THE FLAMES

No practice this morning due to the back-to-back, but here’s projected lines via Roger Millions of Sportsnet:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Hudler
Bouma – Backlund – Colborne
Raymond – Shore – Jooris
Bollig – Stajan – Ferland

Russell – Wideman
Brodie – Engelland
Schlemko – Diaz

Jonas Hiller gets his first start on this road trip, by virtue of Karri Ramo facing a zillion shots last night in Boston. He also gave up three even-strength goals, perhaps a sign he’s fatiguing a bit from playing (and traveling) a ton.

David Jones is injured, so we get some forward line shuffling. And I’d expect lines to get juggled through the game. Ferland and Matt Stajan cycle back into the line-up, as Jones and Emile Poirier cycle out. Stajan’s return bolsters a Flames PK that’ll need the help against the NHL’s best power-play tonight.

THE RED WINGS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Jurco – Datsyuk – Tatar
Abdelkader – Zetterberg – Cole
Weiss – Sheahan – Nyquist
Miller – Andersson – Glendening

Ericsson – Kronwall
DeKeyser – Quincey
Smith – Zidlicky

Jimmy Howard is starting tonight.

The Wings are in a solid playoff spot. They aren’t desperate, like the Bruins were last night, but they are definitely trying to round themselves into playoff form. They should be a strong test for the Flames tonight, particularly with their ability to roll four forward lines.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Detroit
Wins 35 36
Power Play 17.9% (18th) 25.2% (1st)
Penalty Kill 81.1% (18th) 82.6% (10th)
Corsi 44.4% (28th) 53.6% (4th)
Corsi Close 45.4% (27th) 56.9% (1st)
Faceoffs 47.8% (26th) 52.6% (4th)
PDO 100.8 (10th) 1001.1 (14th)

THE DRIVE TO 95

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The Flames need 21 points (or 10 more wins) to hit 95 points.

Elsewhere tonight, the red-hot Minnesota Wild face the Carolina Hurricanes.

SUM IT UP

After a hard-fought win last night that relied on some luck and shootout heroics, the Flames hope their path to victory will be a bit easier tonight. But the Red Wings are a tough out on any night, even moreso on the back half of a back-to-back on the road.

The Flames will need to be very good to get two points tonight.