FGD #21: Home Ice Advantage – The Flames Face Chicago

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(Sergei Belski – USA Today Sports)

After getting back into the win column on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils, the Calgary Flames are back in action against a familiar foe: the Chicago Blackhawks, who they faced (and lost to) on Sunday.

But the Flames have home ice tonight, and given that they control match-ups and have last change they should have a decent chance to eke out a win should they play a solid 60 minutes of hockey. Granted, that’s been a challenge for the Flames this season – off the top of my head, their game against Detroit and Tuesday’s game with New Jersey were the closest things to solid full games that I can recall. Someway, somehow, the Flames have won three in a row at home. They’re going to need to be sharp tonight to run that “streak” to four.

The game gets going at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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Karri Ramo starts for the 10th straight game and for the 13th time this season. He’s 5-7-0 with a 3.22 goals against average and a .898 save percentage. (Since coming back from the AHL, he’s 5-4-0 with a 2.90 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.)

Special teams continue to be a concern for the Flames, as they boast the NHL’s fourth-worst penalty kill and the NHL’s sixth-worst power play. And the Flames are the only team in the league that are represented in the bottom barrel of both of those rankings: the other really bad PK teams have much stronger power-plays (and visa versa). Now that their goaltending seems to be relatively stable, the Flames need to salvage their special teams.

THE BLACKHAWKS

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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Scott Darling starts. He’s 2-3-0 with a 2.64 goals against average and a .902 save percentage. He’s definitely a downgrade from Corey Crawford, but he was good enough to get two points on Sunday. The Hawks are likely without Teuvo Teravainen tonight due to injury, so expect Andrew Desjardins to slot in. Even without him, that top nine is terrifying.

The Blackhawks have won four of their last five games, including their last three – most recently on Wednesday in a shootout against Edmonton. The common thread in each of Chicago’s wins has been scoring four goals. When they get to four, they’re hard to beat because they’re fairly strong defensively. Their power-play has also been hot, scoring a goal in four of the last five games.

THE NUMBERS

CALGARY CHICAGO
Wins 7 11
Power Play 14.8% 19.7%
Penalty Kill 75.0% 82.3%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 46.5% 52.2%
Faceoffs 48.3% 51.1%

WHEN LAST WE MET

On Sunday, the Flames lost to Chicago 4-1.

All-time, Calgary has a 64-67-26-5 record against Chicago.

HOME ICE HERO

Celebrate the referee, volunteer, time-keeper, organizer or other great person who keeps the
game going and asks for nothing in return. Nominate your Home Ice Hero
and they could win a prize worth $5,000. Nominate your hero by clicking this link!

SUM IT UP

The Flames feel like they did a lot of good things in Chicago on Sunday, but two minutes of sloppiest drastically caught them. They have a second chance tonight, and really need a win to climb closer to the post-season pack.