The Calgary Flames have played five preseason contests thus far and have amassed a 2-3-0 record in the exhibition calendar. They finish off the home side of their friendlies tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome when they host the Arizona Coyotes. The prime attraction of tonight’s contest? A potential on-ice battle between 2016 first round pick Matthew Tkachuk (of the Flames) and 2016 first round pick Jacob Chychrun (of the Coyotes).
The puck drops at 7pm MT and you can catch all of the action on Sportsnet 960 The Fan! There is no television option, sadly.
Projected lines from our pal Pat Steinberg:
Tkachuk – Bennett – Brouwer
Higgins – Backlund – Frolik
Shinkaruk – Vey – Ferland
Bouma – Stajan – Chiasson
Giordano – D.Hamilton
Jokipakka – Brodie
Grossmann – Engelland
Brian Elliott and his sweet, sweet pads start tonight, and are expected to go the full 60 minutes barring war or insurrection.
Not playing tonight: Gaudreau (contract), Monahan (back), Pribyl (knee), Smid (neck), Korpikoski, F. Hamilton, Hathaway, Bollig, Kulak, Wotherspoon and Wideman (all healthy)
The big questions tonight: Does Higgins have the speed to keep up with Calgary’s best two-way players? (If so, that COULD be a fun trio.) Who among the bottom two lines will stand out, if anybody? Can Jokipakka find chemistry with Brodie? Will the Grossmann/Engelland pairing be as rough in their own end as they can be? Given Calgary’s system of challenging zone entries at the blueline, the emphasis will be put on foot-speed: do Grossmann & Engelland have enough of it?
Tobias Reider just re-signed with Arizona and will join team in Calgary, but he likely won’t play.
Per the club, the players playing tonight:
- G: Peters & Smith
- D: Chychrun, Dahlbeck, DeAngelo, McBain, Mermis and Schenn
- F: Crouse, Dauphin, Domi, Dvorak, Duclair, Fischer, Fournier, Martinook, McGinn, Richardson, Strome and Vrbata
This is a pretty young, fast group. They’re raw, but they have some NHL-level talent and should be a nice test for the Flames along the same lines of that fast, talented Jets team that beat them 4-0 on the weekend.
WHEN LAST WE MET
This is the first meeting between these two clubs during this preseason. Historically the Flames have played quite well against the desert dogs, and their trip to the 2015 post-season was largely based on trouncing the Pacific Division’s lesser lights (Arizona and Edmonton).
SUM IT UP
We’re onto the final audition phase of the 2016-17 exhibition calendar. Can any of the guys in the bottom-six muck find a way to make themselves stand out as Real NHLers? Can we get some clarity on the blueline? And can Matthew Tkachuk keep on playing well against almost-NHL players?
Find out tonight!