After a loss against a team that was struggling on Thursday evening, the Calgary Flames face a tough test at the Scotiabank Saddledome this evening. Tonight’s opponent is the powerhouse New York Rangers, who have rolled along quite nicely thus far in the season. Coming off a loss at home earlier this week and kicking off a big road trip, the Rangers are trying to rein in some bad habits – that renewed focus could mean bad news for the Flames.
The action kicks off at 8 p.m. MT on CBC (with Rick Ball & Louie Debrusk), Punjabi Hockey Night in Canada on Omni (with Harnarayan Singh & company) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills & Peter Loubardias).
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
Brian Elliott makes his 11th start of the season. He was solid but not spectacular against Dallas on Thursday, and he’s likely hoping for a better showing tonight.
The Flames are without Matthew Tkachuk, Ladislav Smid, Lance Bouma & Kris Versteeg for tonight’s context, though Tkachuk is skating and is day to day with a cut on his wrist. Garnet Hathaway won’t play tonight after being recalled, and Dennis Wideman will slot back in for Jyrki Jokipakka and likely find a spot on the Flames struggling power play.
What can we say about tonight’s game? The Flames are trying to avoid their 10th regulation loss of the season but will be in tough against a deep, talented, well-coached Rangers club. The struggle for the Flames will be in dealing with the Rangers’ depth: they can roll four good lines and take advantage of match-ups. Expect Mikael Backlund’s line to see a lot of the Stepan trio this evening.
Lines via Daily Faceoff:
It’s sounding like Henrik Lundqvist will suit up for the Rangers tonight. He’s been good this year, but Antti Raanta actually has slightly better numbers (in limited duty). Lundqvist struggled a bit last season and is likely hoping to re-establish himself as one of the league’s elite netminders.
Josh Jooris is on the mend right now with an injury and likely won’t play, but the Rangers have shuffled their lines and defensive combos quite a bit after losing to Vancouver earlier this week. It might take a little bit of time tonight for the combinations to gel, which might give the Flames a bit of a chance to get some run support early on. That said, these guys are young, fast and talented, and should be a handful for the locals this evening.
This is the 114th game between the Flames and Rangers in the regular season. The Flames hold a 55-38-20 record in the all-time series. They split their two meetings last year, with the home team winning each game. They’ll play twice this season. After tonight, they’ll meet again in Manhattan in early February.
KNOW THY ENEMY
Here are some Rangers follows for tonight:
SUM IT UP
The Flames are hoping to get back into the win column tonight, and they’ll need a big game from their big guns to make that happen. If nothing else, everyone is hoping to see them have some special teams success so that they have something to build off of regardless of the outcome tonight.