(Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports)
The Calgary Flames have a night full of opportunities tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
First, they host the San Jose Sharks, with both a chance for sweet revenge for the loss they suffered in San Jose last month, as well as to reel in a Pacific Division foe as they try to get back into the playoff picture.
Second, the Flames have been on a tear at home since their October 30 humiliation, winning six in a row – including back-to-back-to-back overtime wins over Chicago, Dallas and Boston. In short: the Flames have figured out ways to win when, in weeks past, they figured out ways to lose. Can they stretch their string to seven in a row at home? And can the Flames win three in a row for the first time all season?
The puck drops just after 7pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Karri Ramo gets the start for the Flames for the 18th time this season. He’s 8-8-1 with a 3.06 goals against average and .898 save percentage. Ramo’s had strong flashes here and there, but he is what he is at this point. Kris Russell (hand) is questionable for tonight’s game, while Lance Bouma (leg) is about a week or two away from returning. UPDATE: Per Bob Hartley’s scrum, no Russell tonight.
Calgary’s winning a lot lately, but they’ve still been awful at special teams. Case in point: their loss against San Jose, where they gave up two power-play goals in less than a minute (one 5-on-3, one 5-on-4) and were playing from way behind the rest of the way. The Flames are a scrappy bunch and are playing with a lot of confidence at home, but they are still really shaky on the power-play and need to do what they can to limit San Jose’s power-play chances.
Keep an eye on the top line of Gaudreau, Monahan and Jones. They were really strong prior to Jones’ injury, and hopefully they can maintain that chemistry so Bob Hartley can spread around the offensive talent a bit and make match-ups tougher for the Sharks.
Projected lines for San Jose via Daily Faceoff:
Presumably former Hitmen netminder Martin Jones will start in the ‘Dome for the Sharks. He’s 12-8-0 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. Logan Couture might be back after missing 20+ games with a broken leg, as he’s been activated from the injured reserve and skated with Marleau and Ward yesterday in practice. I’d wager Brown or Zubrus rotates out if he’s good to go. Marc-Edouard Vlasic remains out. UPDATE: Brown looks to be out for Couture.
The Sharks have lost three in a row and four of their last five (their win against Calgary was their last one), but they have been good on the road this season and extremely dangerous on the power-play. In their last game against Tampa Bay they ended up losing 4-3, but all of their goals came with the man-advantage. The Sharks might not have a lot of confidence overall right now, but they have some swagger on the power-play.
WHEN LAST WE MET
The Sharks beat the Flames 5-2 in San Jose back on November 28.
All-time the Flames are 56-40-8-4 against San Jose.
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SUM IT UP
The Flames have a chance to (a) get revenge for a lopsided loss late last month and (b) claw their way closer to the .500 mark with a win tonight. But they’ll have to be sharp and disciplined in order to do so.