FGD #24: The Shark Tank

The Calgary Flames played the second of their three games on their road trip last night. The bad news is that for the second time in as many games, they lost. The good news is they took awhile to do so, so they lost 2-1 in overtime to the Artists Formerly Known As The Phoenix Coyotes. Tonight, they seek redemption – and a sorely needed two points – in Silicon Valley as they face the San Jose Sharks.

The Flames hit San Jose with a 8-13-2 record and 18 points, putting them 7 points back of the Coyotes for the last Pacific playoff spot and 8 points back of the 13-9-0 Sharks. They flat-out need to figure out ways to win games or to at least lose more often in overtime, like Vancouver (9-8-7) has been. Otherwise we might as well all start booking tee times.

The puck drops just after 8pm MT on CBC (with Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey, since there’s a million national games tonight) and on Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Last night’s lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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Jonas Hiller probably starts tonight, making his first start of November in the Flames last game of this month. He’s 2-3-0 with a 3.67 goals against average and a .861 save percentage. He’s been on the shelf since Calgary’s shootout loss against Ottawa on October 28. Because he’s a Calgary goalie, Hiller has been uneven, as Calgary goalies have been. The extra bodies yesterday were Ladislav Smid, Mason Raymond and Brandon Bollig. Most likely somebody gets rotated into the line-up tonight.

The good news: the Flames scored one power-play goal last night! The bad news: THEY HAD SIX POWER-PLAYS AND ONLY GOT SEVEN SHOTS ON NET IN 11 MINUTES. The special teams must be better for this team to survive.

THE SHARKS

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

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Former Calgary Hitmen netminder Martin Jones gets the start tonight. He’s been really good so far in his first season as an NHL starter, going 11-6-0 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .925 save percentage.

After getting out of the gate at a .500 clip, things have really clicked for the Sharks over the past ten games, with the boys in teal and black going 7-3-0. As in previous years, they remain a pretty solid mixture of grizzled veterans and emerging young players, and they’re in many ways a model of internal development: basically everyone they have is either homegrown or someone they traded for a homegrown player with just a handful of exceptions.

With their mix of size, speed and talent they’ll be a big challenge for the Flames tonight. The good news? The Sharks have struggled at home for some reason this year, going 3-6-0, so perhaps the Flames can take advantage of that.

THE NUMBERS

CALGARY SAN JOSE
Wins 8 13
Power Play 13.8% 14.1%
Penalty Kill 72.1% 80.0%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 46.7% 48.8%
Faceoffs 48.0% 52.7%

WHEN LAST WE MET

Calgary won four of five against San Jose last season, winning three games at HP Pavilion (2-0, 4-3 in OT and 4-1) and splitting a pair of games in Calgary (a 3-2 loss and a 3-1 win).

All-time, Calgary is 56-39-8-4 against San Jose.

ELSEWHERE

The Stockton Heat look to regain their winning ways in a rematch against the Bakersfield Condors tonight. Providence College (Jankowski & Gilmour) takes on Yale! Boston University (Hickey) takes on Cornell! The Barrie Colts (Mangiapane & Andersson) take on the Niagara Ice Dogs, though Mangiapane missed last night’s game due to injury.

SUM IT UP

The Flames need to accumulate points any which way they can, because coming home from a Pacific Division road trip with zero wins would basically be disastrous.