After all the trade deadline excitement, there’s still a game to play tonight between the Calgary Flames and the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Flames are 12 points out of a playoff spot and are firmly in “playing for next year” mode. We’re expecting some call-ups today and at least one trade. The Flyers are just three points out of a wild-card spot in the East and can claw closer with a good effort tonight. But the Flames are now playing for jobs, so perhaps they could play spoiler, particularly now that the emotions and stress of waiting for the deadline will have come and gone.
The puck drops at 6pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
After Joni Ortio got lit up for five goals – amidst some awful defensive play – against Ottawa, Jonas Hiller is back in the net tonight. He’s making his 20th start of the season and is 9-8-1 with a 3.29 goals against average and .908 even-strength save percentage. Other than that, it doesn’t appear like the team will be any different than against Ottawa. Dennis Wideman serves game 14 of his suspension, while Karri Ramo and Ladislav Smid are done for the season most likely (neither has a locker stall in the Flames room).
What can we say? The Flames have 21 games to go and really need to get back to the basics. They were horrendous in their own end against Ottawa, and utterly failed to manage the puck well in two of the three zones. They need to focus on clean exits, clean entries, and just holding onto the puck like a responsible hockey team.
Johnny Gaudreau and T.J. Brodie continue to be the engines that drive this hockey club. Gaudreau is sixth in league scoring with 62 points in 60 games – he’s gonna get PAID this summer, folks – and Brodie quietly 12th in the NHL in scoring among defenders. And he’s played fewer games than everyone ahead of him other than Kris Letang.
Forecasted line-ups via the fine folks at Daily Faceoff:
Michal Neuvirth starts for the Flyers tonight. He’s 15-7-4 with a 2.19 goals against average and .934 even-strength save percentage. He’s been quietly very effective for Philadelphia this season.
The Flyers have a decent mix of youth and veterans on their club – including some exciting players like Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere – but they haven’t really “clicked” fully this season. The team definitely has enough talent to be in the playoff mix, but they’ll really need to go on a run of consistent play to grab hold of a playoff spot.
WHEN LAST WE MET
These two teams met in Calgary in early November, with the Flames grinding out a close 2-1 overtime victory.
The Flames are 45-55-14 all-time against Philadelphia.
THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM
SUM IT UP
The Flyers are clawing their way towards the playoffs, while the Flames are now firmly in “playing out the string” mode, with dreams of Auston Matthews floating around in their heads. This game could be one-sided for the Flyers, or the Flames could pose a very frustrating trip-up game for the team from the City of Brotherly Love