FGD #71: Frying the Flyers (7pm MT, SN West)

Just 48 hours after their second straight loss and a fairly decent effort against the powerhouse St. Louis Blues, the Calgary Flames are back at it this evening as they face the Philadelphia Flyers.

And better yet – it’s retro night, so expect old-school tunes and old-school uniforms at the ‘Dome tonight! And the Flames get an old-school opponent in the form of the Broad Street Bullies, who the Flames faced in the playoffs in their first season in Calgary (1981).

The Flyers are out of the playoff hunt and are poised to play spoiler, while the Flames are hopeful to end their small losing stretch at two games and get some points under the belts. Based on their last meeting in Philly, it should be a spirited 60 minutes of ice hockey.

The puck drops at 7pm MT and you can catch all the action on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Despite his net-minding colleague Jonas Hiller having sweet new retro pads, Karri Ramo gets the start this evening. Ramo’s making his 27th start of the year. He’s 13-8-1, with a 2.60 goals against average and .912 save percentage. His numbers are eerily similar to Hiller’s, so it’s basically a goalie coin toss from here on out.

On the skater front, Josh Jooris and Drew Shore are banged up and didn’t skate this morning. So with their absence, Markus Granlund slots in. So the Flames are without Jooris, Shore, Paul Byron, Mark Giordano and Ladislav Smid. Markus Granlund will skate on the third line. Hopefully his face-off totals are better than they were during his last recall (we’re talking south of 40% here).

The Flames need wins. They need to create traffic and odd-man rushes. And to score goals.

THE FLYERS

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Sounds like Steve Mason is starting. He’s 14-16-10 with a 2.27 goals against average and .925 save percentage. He’s not a bad goaltender, he’s merely playing on a bad team. Ray Emery is his understudy. The Flyers are likely going with seven defenders, as Vincent Lecavalier slots out for a now-healthy Michael del Zotto.

The Flyers have lost six of their last seven. They’re firmly in “playing out the string” mode. Their big trouble is that they’re porous defensively and give up too many high-percentage chances. Calgary was able to beat them last time out by weathering the storm and embracing their counter-punch style.

However, the Flyers were also able to claw back from a 2-0 deficit, so perhaps the Flames should be wary of another potential comeback.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Philadelphia
Wins 38 29
Power Play 18.8% (11th) 22.5% (3rd)
Penalty Kill 80.1% (23rd) 77.0% (29th)
Corsi 44.4% (28th) 49.7% (20th)
Corsi Close 45.2% (27th) 49.1% (21st)
Faceoffs 47.9% (25th) 51.5% (10th)
PDO 101.0 (8th) 99.8 (20th)

THE DRIVE TO 95

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A win moves the Flames into third the Pacific (and ahead of both Los Angeles and Winnipeg).

Elsewhere tonight:

  • San Jose faces Toronto!
  • Winnipeg faces St. Louis!
  • Dallas faces Pittsburgh!
  • Vancouver faces Columbus!
  • Colorado faces Arizona!

An idea evening for Calgary is a Flames win and a Winnipeg loss. (I mean, Columbus could win, too, but let’s not get greedy here…)

SUM IT UP

There are 12 games remaining. The Flames’ magic number is 13. They simply need to accumulate wins and points and they’re in.

The Flyers are a team playing out the string. If the Flames play a full 60 minutes, they should be able to pick up two points. And after two losses in a row, I’m not saying this is a must-win, but it’s getting close to that.