FGD #49: Home Ice Advantage – Calgary Hosts The Hurricanes

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(James Gullory – USA Today Sports)

They’re ba-ack!

After a week off to lick their wounds, the Calgary Flames’ march to the post-season OR a draft lottery pick begins tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames have 34 games remaining on the docket to claw their way back to the playoffs or to slide their way to Auston Matthews.

Their quest (in one direction or the other) begins with a mission of revenge tonight at home against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Flames visited Carolina in mid-January as part of their five-game road trip, and came away with a 5-2 loss.

The puck drops at 7:30pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan! (It’s a late game on the national feed, so make sure you brew some coffee and pray for those on print deadlines.)

THE FLAMES

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.10.32 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.12.20 PM

(Deryk Engelland is the other third-pairing defender.)

Karri Ramo starts for the Flames, making his 35th start of the season. He’s 16-17-1 with a 2.62 goals against average and a .917 even-strength save percentage. He’s played a ton this season and been consistently good (and occasionally very good). Dennis Wideman sits tonight as part of his indefinite suspension, while Josh Jooris and Brandon Bollig are your extra healthy forwards this evening. Jakub Nakaldal returns to a familiar spot: the press box, where he’ll sit tonight as the extra defender. As of this writing, Micheal Ferland had not been activated off the injured reserve and I suspect if he’s not activated we’ll see Bollig tonight instead.

The Flames have been much better at home than on the road, and they’ll be motivated following a week off to stew after a pretty disappointing stretch to finish their pre-All-Star schedule – they went 1-5-1 in their last seven games to polish off January. The big challenge has been first periods; they’ve gotten scored on early quite frequently and had to rely on that “Find a Way Flames” magic to get back into things.

Unfortunately, they seemed to use up all that magic last season, and all they’ve been doing this season is finding ways to lose. They need to be better early in games, and they need to translate what special teams time they do generate into goals. If they can’t do those things, they’ll lose out on two much-needed points.

THE HURRICANES

Via Daily Faceoff, here are Carolina’s projected lines for tonight:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.16.05 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.17.14 PM

Cam Ward is off the injured reserve now and fully recovered from his concussion. But the Flames will see Eddie Lack again, as he’s been playing well (and beat Calgary last month). He’s 9-9-3 with a 2.68 goals against average and .909 even-strength save percentage. The Hurricanes have summoned Phil di Giuseppe and Ryan Murphy up from the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL and both are expected to play tonight.

The Hurricanes are an interesting bunch. They really shouldn’t be as good as they are given their injuries and the performances of some of their better-known players, but they’ve stuck around the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They’re a nice mix of older and younger players, including such youthful names as Noah Hanifin, Victor Rask and Elias Lindholm. And most of all, they seem to be a team that has a bit of confidence and believe that they can get that importance “next bounce” needed to win a game.

THE NUMBERS

CALGARY CAROLINA
Wins 21 23
Power Play 13.5% 16.7%
Penalty Kill 75.7% 82.5%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 46.8% 53.2%
Faceoffs 48.2% 53.9%

WHEN LAST WE MET

Back on January 24, Carolina beat the Flames 5-2 back in Raleigh. It was not a good game. The Hurricanes got up 3-0 and chased Karri Ramo from the net. Jiri Hudler and Joe Colborne, who don’t score very often this season, were the team’s goal-scorers.

The Flames have a 41-19-8 record against the Hurricanes/Whalers all-time.

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!

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

How close are the Calgary Flames to the NHL’s basement (and Auston Matthews)? Well, adjusting for the differences in games-played, they’re not too far off.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 11.18.05 PM

Both Toronto and Edmonton won yesterday, while Columbus lost (to Edmonton).

SUM IT UP

If the Flames are gonna go for a playoff spot or a lottery pick, they have to pick a direction and stick to it starting tonight. Paddling around in the NHL’s mushy middle does nothing to further their rebuild.

  • RKD

    Me thinks the all-star break has worked wonders for Monahan. Maybe he had time to rest a nagging injury or just clear his mind and reset. In any event the talk of trading Monahan is just foolhardy. We need to retain and sustain young talent, we need this guy he is a big part of the Flames core and will be for years to come.

  • RKD

    Me thinks the all-star break has worked wonders for Monahan. Maybe he had time to rest a nagging injury or just clear his mind and reset. In any event the talk of trading Monahan is just foolhardy. We need to retain and sustain young talent, we need this guy he is part of core and will be for years to come.

  • cgyokgn

    Good game: excellent special teams, the big boys came to play, good goaltending… the fly in the ointment is of course the status of Brodie. If he’s out for any period of time we’ll for sure see Nakladal and maybe they’ll call up another defenseman.

    • cgyokgn

      ..and it almost looked like he had tears in his eyes during his interview…his psyche that be that good especially with no contract fo next season and a young family.

  • cgyokgn

    -The Trade Monohan movement was served a helping of crow tonight. He was exceptional. Watch him go PPG for his next 15.

    -I thought Smid and England really stood out as a surprisingly mobile pairing.

    -I had to double check Granlund was playing. I say send him down and bring Grant up.

    -Hopefully Brodie is OK

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