Two weeks ago, the Calgary Flames were nestled (tenuously) in a playoff spot. They hosted the Anaheim Ducks, the division’s best team. They played okay. They got absolutely rolled in the third period and lost 6-3.
Two weeks later, the Calgary Flames are still nestled (tenuously) in a playoff spot. They host the Anaheim Ducks, the division’s best team. They hope to play better, particularly since they need a few wins here and there to cement their first post-season appearance since 2009. They’re coming off a successful seven-game road trip, and ideally would like to avoid the traditional first-game-back let-down game.
The puck drops at 7:30 pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Your extras tonight are Drew Shore, Emile Poirier and Corey Potter. Karri Ramo makes the start in goal for the home side. He’s coming off an iffy outing in Ottawa, albeit one where he didn’t get much defensive support for his tenure. He’s 12-7-1, with a 2.56 goals against average and .914 save percentage. It’s his 25th start of the season.
The key for the Flames tonight? Consistency. They utterly collapsed against the Ducks last time out, giving up five goals in the third period, and their road efforts were largely reliant on heroic goaltending and comebacks – and you can’t count on those things always happening like that. The upside is they’ll have the ability to control match-ups a lot more in the ‘Dome, which can make a lot of difference against tough teams.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
John Gibson gets the start for the visitors tonight. He’s 9-5-0 with a 2.41 goals against average and .924 save percentage, but he’s also only started 14 games. So, sample sizes and whatnot.
Anaheim’s lost two straight, but prior to that won seven of their previous eight games. They’re a good team who are hoping to round into form as the playoffs approach. They added five bodies as they approached the trade deadline, so perhaps some of these recent rough spots were because of the process of building chemistry.
|Power Play||18.4% (13th)||16.8% (22nd)|
|Penalty Kill||80.9% (20th)||82.0% (11th)|
|Corsi||44.3% (28th)||50.9% (15th)|
|Corsi Close||44.8% (28th)||50.3% (17th)|
|Faceoffs||47.8% (25th)||51.5% (10th)|
|PDO||101.0 (7th)||100.4 (13th)|
THE DRIVE TO 95
No other Western Conference teams play tonight. A win gets Calgary to 79 points, which gives them a cushion on the Kings (who’ll have a game-in-hand to make it up) and a point on the Jets for a wild-card spot.
Long story short: a win would really help Calgary out tonight.
SUM IT UP
There are 15 games remaining after tonight. The Flames need roughly 9 wins (or 18 points) to cement a playoff berth. So they need to win. And if they lose, they better do it in overtime.
This is big kid hockey right now.