FGD #77: Going Down To Texas (6:30pm MT, SN West)

Just over 24 hours after a triumph in Tennessee, the Calgary Flames travel to the great state of Texas for another in-conference collision with two much-needed points on the line!

The Flames inched themselves closer to a post-season appearance with a strong 5-2 performance in Nashville yesterday. Now they have a rematch against a pretty resilient Dallas Stars club which beat them (in a shootout) last week. Calgary needs points like a dog needs a bone right now, and with just six games remaining on the regular season schedule, they need them now.

All-told, they need another strong 60 minute effort like they had in Nashville.

The puck drops at 6:30pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Yesterday’s lines:

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

Russell – Wideman
Brodie – Engelland
Schlemko – Diaz

Jonas Hiller is expected to start once again after his strong play yesterday in Nashville. He’s 22-18-4, with a 2.43 goals against average and .914 save percentage. It’ll be his 41st start of the season.

Per the Flames site, Hartley indicated there may be one change to the line-up – based on a player that’s borderline in terms of their condition – so that probably means one of Paul Byron or Markus Granlund slots back in. Maybe. Because of how well the team played yesterday, I’d be hesitant to do much tinkering. Mason Raymond, who I’ve criticized of late, was good against Nashville. Long story short: Calgary has three lines playing quite well right now, so I can’t see Hartley doing much mucking around with anything except that third line.

THE STARS

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Kari Lehtonen is expected to start. He’s 34-15-10 with a 2.84 goals against average and .907 save percentage. It’ll be his 64th start of the season.

The Stars are one of the hottest outfits in the league right now, having drug themselves kicking and screaming from obscurity to the edge of playoff relevance. I’d give them more credence if there was more time left in the season, but I’m of the mindset that it’s too little, too late for the Stars. Damn shame, too, because they’re a pretty strong club when they’re healthy.

But they did lose to the Oilers 4-0 a few days ago, so they are beatable.

THE NUMBERS

Calgary Dallas
Wins 41 37
Last Ten 5-3-2 8-2-0
Power Play 18.7% (14th) 18.2% (17th)
Penalty Kill 80.6% (21st) 80.2% (22nd)
Corsi 44.8% (28th) 51.9% (10th)
Corsi Close 45.6% (27th) 52.5% (6th)
Faceoffs 47.8% (25th) 51.6% (10th)
PDO 101.2 (6th) 99.5 (21st)

THE DRIVE TO 95*

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Big games tonight elsewhere in the NHL:

  • Vancouver visits St. Louis!
  • Los Angeles visits Chicago!
  • Colorado hosts Edmonton!

SUM IT UP

The Flames need wins to stick with the pack. They’re basically in a situation where they need one (or two) more points than the Jets, Canucks or Kings in one fewer (or about as many) games. The best way to do that?

Win as many games as they can from here on out.