FGD #52: Home Ice Advantage – The Flames Meet The Maple Leafs


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(Candice Ward / USA Today Sports)

After beating the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night, the Calgary Flames hope to keep their momentum going tonight in the confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome when they host Canada’s Team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s always a little special when the Maple Leafs come to town, if only for the loud, voracious boos towards Dion Phaneuf. (Until now…) Oh, and I guess a good ol’ fashioned Canadian team showdown. Neither team is amazing good this season; the Leafs are better fundamentally but the Flames have gotten slightly less bad goaltending and have the scoring machine known as Johnny Gaudreau to push them slightly over the top lately.

This is the last “easy” game for the Flames for awhile, as after this game they face San Jose, Arizona, Anaheim and Minnesota. (And then Vancouver again.) So if the Flames have any notions of making the playoffs, they need to grab these points and then go on a roll against some good teams.

The puck drops at 7pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

For a view from the other side, visit our pals at The Leafs Nation!

THE FLAMES

Projected lines from your friends at Daily Faceoff:

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After a pretty good performance in net against Vancouver, Jonas Hiller returns to the net for the Flames. He’s 6-5-1 with a 3.01 goals against average and .904 even-strength save percentage. He’s been pretty good as of late, and he’s deserved to get a few extra starts here and there. (Not to say Karri Ramo hasn’t been good, but neither guy has been October bad lately and with the hectic schedule this month, an actual goalie rotation makes sense.)

The Flames have alternated between strong efforts with good execution (Carolina, Vancouver) and games with iffy execution (Columbus), but they really need to keep focusing on puck retrieval and special teams. They still boast the NHL’s worst power-play and second-worst penalty kill, and executing better on the power play in particular would go a long way towards helping them eke out an extra win here and there.

And even if you’re on Team Tank, having good results to build off from this season (even if they’re just situational results and not scoreboard results) is going to really help the youngsters in the long run.

THE MAPLE LEAFS

Projected lines courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

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Note: These line projections were from before the Phaneuf trade. Presumably Jared Cowen won’t make it in time for the game, so presumably we get some shuffling and Martin Marincin in the line-up somewhere.

James Reimer starts for the Maple Leafs tonight. He’s 10-9-6 with a 2.23 goals against average and a .942 even-strength save percentage in 25 starts. He’s been quite good this season, even when the Maple Leafs haven’t been.

The Leafs got thumped by Ottawa on Saturday night, and have had a couple days off to stew about it. And to add insult to injury, the Leafs also lost Shawn Matthias, Tyler Bozak and Joffrey Lupul to injury, and had to recall Mark Arcobello, Rich Clune and Josh Leivo from the Marlies. When you look at their roster, suddenly their spot in the standings makes a lot of sense.

Keep an eye on “Uncle” Leo Komarov, Toronto’s leading scorer (and an All-Star).

THE NUMBERS

CALGARY TORONTO
Wins 23 19
Power Play 14.2% 15.1%
Penalty Kill 76.8% 81.2%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 47.2% 49.2%
Faceoffs 48.5% 51.3%

WHEN LAST WE MET

This is the first of two meetings between Toronto and Calgary this season. Last season, the teams split their two games with the home side winning each time. In December in Toronto, the Flames lost 4-1 despite out-shooting Toronto. In March back at home, the Flames rolled over Toronto 6-3.

The Flames are 60-55-13 against Toronto 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

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The Flames are 8 points back of the Anaheim Ducks for the final Pacific Division playoff spot, and are just 2 points up on the Blue Jackets, Oilers and Leafs in the NHL’s basement.

SUM IT UP

It’s not quite the battle between two bottom-dwelling teams that some may have anticipated, but tonight’s battle is still between two bottom-six teams. And if the Flames have any aspirations of escaping the draft lottery bunch, they need to keep stealing points and stringing wins together while there are still a bunch of games left on the schedule.

  • smith

    Too bring in some positivity, Giordano is playing like the player we all think he is. The dude is a beast and watching that soup can Kadri try to bother him is hilarious. Not to mention he has been an absolute beast lately.

  • Hubcap1

    Hartley must be some kind of wizard to be able to tell that Nakladal isn’t good enough after just two shifts.

    Oh and how’s that Englland Smid pair going tonight?

  • Burnward

    As I see the standings and see the Coilers again firmly burrowing their way into the mud of the league standings I am realizing that I am getting SICK AND TIRED of that shite team getting rewarded with these high end picks. Everyone else gets robbed of a chance at a great player. This should be the 5th year out of 7… unreal

    Oh so you guys screwed up and picked Yakupov when everyone knew you needed a defenseman? Here, try McDavid on for size see if that helps. Oh you should have picked Seguin instead of Hall, here try Auston Matthews see if that helps. Oh you should have taken Landeskog over Nuge? We’ll get you guys next year..

    And every summer we than get to hear the Coilers crowing how this time the kid will be the answer which he never is, this damn league

  • Hubcap1

    Is everybody ready to see Auston Matthews added to the Coilers stable of #1 picks? No wonder everyone hates that shite team. They accomplish absolutely nothing and for what will most likely be the 5th year in 7 they get the top draft eligible player in the World.

    What a bunch of crap. This stupid league. Every year they rob some team from getting a high impact player because they ruin the ones they do get.. Yeah, I am bitter. And if they don’t get Matthews you know they are getting at least one of the Finns.

    How incompetence can continually be rewarded..and than having to hear all summer the Deadmontonians crow how this kid will be the one to turn it all around, which he never is

        • MattyFranchise

          Oh I’m not disagreeing with you.
          To play Devils advocate for a second though, there HAS to be a reason he’s not playing him though, it isn’t just that he doesn’t like to cut of his jib… Or maybe it is, who knows, could be a coach vs GM thing too… It’s weird regardless.

          • MattyFranchise

            Thankfully it was only for 2 seasons and now they have no reason to keep him around since they got rid of the draft pick compensation for another team hiring a coach under contract after he’s been fired.

            I see no reason to keep him around for next season despite riding percentages to a Jack Adams award last season.

            As to who his replacement could be, your guess is as good as mine but that’s not really the main problem right now.

    • MattyFranchise

      Ridiculous.

      Smid and Engelland are having a pretty bad night tonight with 2 goals against. They’ve been good in their other 78 minutes together but you’d think that getting scored on twice would result in a drop in ice time when the game is on the line.

      Free agents that could end up being found money like Grant and Nakladal won’t sign here while Bob is still around, I’m almost sure of it.

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      I’ve tried to tolerate Bob, but I’m just done with him now. What a farce. It’s like the more he hears the fans or media push for something, the more he pushes back just to be a stubborn cuss. Excited to see Nakladal come up? Press box. Forced to dress Nakladal? Excited to finally see him play? Two shifts. It’s basically Bob holding up his middle finger to the entire fan base. F Nakladal, F the rebuild, F more youth, F you. The man has an ego bigger than any player in the league as far as I’m concerned. I really hope he’s gone this summer, I’ve had enough.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Flames scored more goals than the Leafs tonight, but I would say the Leafs won. Before the game they got $7.5M a year richer and after the game they got another step closer to getting the Big Yank in maple bud blue.

    Sure the Flames got 2 points, but now we have to face the possibility that Johnny Hockey is a lot more like Johnny Football than we cared to imagine. Toss in Monahan as Johnny’s equally evil twin.