FGD #72: An Early Game Late In Season (2pm MT, SN West)

It’s Saturday!

And for some wacky reason, instead of the Calgary Flames playing a game at 8pm MT on Hockey Night in Canada, we get a 2pm MT game on Sportsnet West against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Whatever the reason, games are games and points are points, and the Flames have a scant 11 games remaining on their regular season schedule and an opportunity to move themselves closer to a playoff spot this afternoon against the Blue Jackets.

The Jackets are firmly in spoiler mode, having played a strong game on Thursday evening against the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames will need to play a strong 60 minutes to get two points and inch closer to the post-season.

The puck drops at 2pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Karri Ramo starts after picking up the win against the Flyers on Thursday. It’s start number 28 for Ramo. He’s 14-8-1 with a 2.54 goals against average and .914 save percentage. He’s been hot lately.

No changes are anticipated for the Flames’ line-up. With Emile Poirier going back to the AHL and Paul Byron getting healthier, the Flames are getting more options. Sounds like Byron, Drew Shore, Josh Jooris and Corey Potter are the extra bodies this afternoon.

For today, the challenge is to roll four lines and tire the Blue Jackets out. This is the end of a western trip for the Jackets, and they may be looking a bit ahead to going home, or even to the end of the season. To send them home with a loss, they have to do what they did against Philadelphia – create traffic, create penalties and really force the Jackets to try to win the hard way.

THE BLUE JACKETS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Presumably Sergei Bobrovsky starts again after his strong effort in Vancouver. He’ll be making his 40th start this season. He’s 21-17-2 with a 2.80 goals against average and .914 save percentage. He’s been trying to get back into form since returning from an early injury. Long story short, he’s probably really excited that this season is almost over.

Columbus looked like a strong team early-on, and they’ve won five of their last six. However, the wins are against Edmonton, Carolina, Detroit and Vancouver – a mix of the bottom of the barrel and teams with playoff hopes. The Jackets are successful when they’re allowed to use their speed and passing. If the Flames can disrupt them and force them to the outside, this could be a hard day for the visitors.

Watch out for the youngsters, though; Marko Dano and Alexander Wennberg are quite good.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Columbus
Wins 39 32
Power Play 19.3% (11th) 21.8% (5th)
Penalty Kill 80.4% (23rd) 79.0% (24th)
Corsi 44.4% (28th) 47.0% (25th)
Corsi Close 45.2% (27th) 44.9% (28th)
Faceoffs 47.9% (25th) 49.0% (19th)
PDO 101.0 (8th) 99.1 (27th)

THE DRIVE TO 95

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Busy day today!

  • Minnesota faces St. Louis!
  • Vancouver faces Los Angeles! (Two-point game, please!)
  • San Jose faces Montreal!
  • Winnipeg faces Washington!
  • Dallas faces Chicago!

Calgary’s magic number can drop to as low as 10 by the end of the day.

SUM IT UP

Calgary needs wins! Columbus is a team below them in the standings! Calgary needs to win today to better their playoff chances.

Does it get much simpler than that?